Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What Not to Say About Miscarriage

Miscarriage is called the silent grief because it is just not talked about in the same way other losses to death are. It's sad because families who lose children to miscarriage are grieving the loss of their child the same way someone who loses a child that is older does. In many ways, the grief is hard to bear because often the parents never get to see their child and must wonder for the rest of their lives what that little one looked like and what kind of personality they had and even what gender they were in many cases. There is also so little to remember them by - there are usually no pictures, few memories, not much to hang onto for a lifetime.

Friends and family can be a huge blessing during this time or they can be a great challenge. I know before I had a miscarriage I didn't know what to say to people. Here are some bloopers that sweet, well-meaning people say that make things much harder for the family:

"Aren't you glad you aren't big and pregnant right now? - It's so hot!" Well, no, she's not glad. She'd cheerfully crawl across the Sahara to be carrying her baby again.

"It's for the best. There must have been something wrong with it." Really, she doesn't care. She'd much rather be holding her baby with some birth defect, than be left with empty arms.

"You have other children." Anyone who has other children knows that each child is incredibly special and unique and no one can take their place - and no one can take the place of the lost baby.

"You can always have another baby." She really doesn't know if she can. Only God can open and close the womb and she may not get pregnant again and she knows it.

"You couldn't afford a baby right now anyway." Maybe it doesn't seem so, but she'd sell everything she owned to be pregnant again.

"At least you have another baby! (to a mother expecting twins)" She is grieving not only a child (which is plenty!), but the loss of the relationship between the two and the whole special experience of twins.

"I'm so glad that's over!" You may be happy her physical miscarriage is over - you were probably worried about her, but realize it's not over for her and in many ways, it will never be over - she has lost a child.

"Maybe this is God's way of telling you to stop having children." This is a terrible thing to say. This is not the way the Lord deals with His people. He does not rebuke them for trusting Him. His Word says that children are a gift from Him, a reward - he's not going to punish someone for welcoming His gifts!

"It's the Lord's will." This is absolutely true, but if she's an unbeliever, this may feed her anger at God and make it harder for her to flee to Him when she really needs to. If she is a believer, she knows this already and it can feel like you are rebuking her for grieving, though I know you don't mean to.

"Don't worry, you'll forget all about it." Nope and she doesn't want to.

"You ought to be grateful for the children you have." She is! That's why she is grieving this one so much!

"I know just how you feel." This one doesn't bother me, but many women don't like it because they know everyone grieves differently.

"_______" Lots of folks don't say anything because they are afraid of saying the wrong thing. This makes a mother feel like no one recognizes her loss and she feels very alone.

Wondering if it's okay to say anything? It is so important to say something! Tomorrow we'll talk about what TO SAY :-)

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