One in three women in Australia will experience a loss during pregnancy. Often it can be incredibly personal, and devastating. But everyone’s experience is unique, as are their feelings about the loss and how they chose to grieve.
If someone you know has chosen to let you know they have had a recent miscarriage or suffered a loss during their pregnancy, it can be difficult to know what to say.
Avoid saying…”At least you know you can get pregnant.”
This may be the woman’s first or fifth pregnancy loss. Being able to ‘get pregnant’ may not be the concern and saying this minimises the loss.
Instead try… “I am so sorry for your loss.”
Avoid saying… “It just wasn’t meant to be.”
Often the reasons for miscarriage are unknown. Such statements do not make the loss easier, and the woman may not have the same beliefs as yourself.
Instead try… “How are you feeling? I am here if you need to talk or I can give you space.”
Avoid saying… “It isn’t like you lost a baby, it was just cells at this stage.”
A loss, no matter how small, can still feel monumental and can be grieved.
Instead try… “I am here if you need - whatever you need just let me know.”
Avoid saying… “Next time you should, “...”, it will help you stay pregnant.”
Chances are the person has already looked into every trick under the sun, medical or alternative, to help their pregnancy progress, and may be placing a lot of blame on themselves already.
Instead try… “It wasn’t your fault, you did nothing wrong.”
Avoid saying… “I knew someone who had 3 miscarriages and now they have 2 healthy children.”
This is their experience, not yours. Most people do not want to be reminded of the ‘successful; pregnancies as they are going through a loss.
Instead try… “My heart hurts for you right now. I love you and you are are allowed to be sad.”
Avoid saying… “Lots of women have miscarriages. You just have to pick yourself up and keep going like everyone else does.”
Everyone experiences grief differently. While normalisation can be a comfort, feelings should not be minimised.
Instead try… “Grief can be really hard. Take the time you need.”