Monday, November 15, 2010

What to Say

       Ever wonder what to say to someone when they're experiencing something like a miscarriage? I've been overwhelmed by kind words and thoughts over the past through days, but I've also heard a few things that really don't help.

Here's my list of things "NOT to Say" to a friend or loved one that has just experienced a pregnancy loss:
At least it was early
It's better this way
You can have more children
There's a reason for everything
You were barely pregnant
This was nature's way of ending a doomed pregnancy
You're weren't trying yo get pregnant anyway
You can share my baby with me

While all of these things may be true and come from a place of well-meaning- there's a time and a place for everything and sometimes just a simple, "I'm sorry this happened to you," is the best thing you can say. 

The kind and compassionate responses that I have received have far out-weighed the negative and I can even begin to tell you how grateful I am for each kind word, thought, or prayer that has been sent my way. I wanted to share with you two messages that were very helpful and touching:

"oh Robin!
im so sorry that you lost a little one!
Of course there are lots of emotions. I can think that there would be betrayal (by your body), loss, grief, frustration, lack of understanding, anger, confusion, isolation, and much more i'm sure. It must have been so scary! I've never lost a baby so young, but i've known (sadly) many who have. So often their experience is discounted because "they weren't 'that far' along" or it was "just a miscarriage" or "it wasn't even a baby yet" and lots of other, terrible, thoughtless WRONG things. I am sorry that our culture does not give acknowledgment for such a huge loss. Especially with our knowledge of ovulation, early ultrasounds, and pregnancy tests we know we are pregnant SO much earlier and are able to bond so much earlier. I know some people, depending on their belief system, think that they have a baby right from the start and other people who don't. i know you so tenderly shared your devout Christianity with me and so i'm guessing, this tiny one, you will always know as your third child.
I am just so sorry. I am so sorry for you and your husband and his or her big brothers!. Did you have a feeling if your little love was a boy or a girl?Did you have any kind of ceremony for him or her, name, cuddles with your husband? i've heard lots of cool things being done...writing little notes of wishes you had/would have had for your child and burying them, creating a journal, naming butterflies after them (so beautiful and don't last very long).
If you wish not to talk or think about it, that is also really normal and then i'm sorry for blabbing on. i'm just so sorry you are having to deal with this heartache. you are obviously such a loving mother, i'm glad at least your little one could grow inside such a loving soul, his or her whole life.

so so sorry Robin. i hope though your tears you find some times of peace.

((((((((((((((((((LOVE))))))))))))))))))) "


"I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know that although I don't know exactly the feelings you have right now (because loss is such a personal experience); on some level I can empathize with you b/c I have felt the pain of losing a baby. I can think of no greater cruelty in this world than for a mother to anticipate the birth of another child (no matter how far along) only to have those hopes torn away. My heart breaks with you today. Of course I still hope that maybe they were wrong, but I totally understand the up down roller coaster that comes with those emotions so I'll let you lead on how to pray in that arena. :( I will be praying for you today regardless and for the days to come."

I think just acknowledging that there was a life and empathizing is extremely helpful. There are so many mixed emotions that come along with experiencing a miscarriage and, if nothing else, I am taking away a new-found compassion and empathy from this experience hoping that I can reach out to someone in the future that , God-forbid, has to go through a similar situation. 

What about you? If you've experienced a miscarriage or loss, what types of things/ words did you find helpful and vice versa? 


  1. Those are so hurtful, but you are right the good far out weigh the bad. Those two emails are so well written. Let me know if you need anything or want to talk.

  2. Hi, Robin. I remember hearing ALL of those comments, plus a couple more that were pretty painful. You know I am big into my coffee. So you could only imagine the rage and hurt that came from, "well, maybe if you back down on the coffee next time..." or "you are so busy with your work..."But some of the most comforting words came from the most unexpected places.

    I do have a memento box that I keep the ultrasound. We named him. I even tucked in an outfit we were given early in the pregnancy that I just couldn't imagine putting on another baby. And I bought a Christmas ornament with the year on it. Every time I put up the tree I take a few moments to wonder, to pray, to heal. The ache, from what I hear, never really goes away.

    Also, in the baby books for Izzie and Isaac, I list their brother as a sibling who is waiting for them in the kingdom of heaven.

    Yeah, I know some people would think this is wacky, but I don't answer to them. I answer to the Lord, and I want him to say, "Well done, mama. You loved all of the babies I gave you, and you loved them well, even if you couldn't hold all of them."

    My heart aches for you and Aaron.


  3. Thanks so much, Krista, for sharing your experience and thoughts -I truly appreciate it! This all has really made me think how I've respnded to others in the past and how I will respond in the future.

    I have a little pair of girly ballet socks that will forever be a reminder of my little one- Aaron and I both had a feeling she was a girl. I call her Lila.