Updated: Mar 24, 2021
1. "Miscarriage Happens To A Lot of People, It's Not A Big Deal."
Miscarriage is said to happen in about 1 in 4 pregnancies, but while millions of people have experienced miscarriage, that doesn't make it any less traumatic no matter how far along. Think of it this way; death happens to 100% of people, yet we never respond to someone grieving that type of loss with "It happens a lot, it's not a big deal." Grief is the emotional response to a loss. Some of us grieve after losing a loved one, some after losing a job, and some after a breakup. Pregnancy loss is no different. A loss is a loss. It is never ok to invalidate someone's grief.
Instead of saying it's not a big deal and that it happens to a lot of people, say, "I'm so sorry you're going through this. This must be so difficult for you."
2. "You Should Be Over It By Now."
Grief has no timeline. We as human beings cannot control what emotions surface after traumatic events or during the grieving process. There is no right or wrong way to grieve and there is no right or wrong emotion to feel. Some women might take a few days to grieve, some weeks, some years, and that's ok. We all walk different paths and journeys to achieve pregnancy. Just because something was easy for one person to heal from, doesn't mean someone who took longer is too sensitive or emotional. They are simply grieving. You cannot determine the level of someone else's grief. You can only determine your own.
Instead of telling someone how they should feel, say, "Take all the time you need to grieve and be as kind to yourself as possible."
3. "You Can Always Try Again."
Never tell someone who lost a pregnancy that they can always try again. Not only does this completely invalidate someone's loss after miscarriage and minimize their grief, but it is not always as simple as "just trying again." As I stated above, we all walk different paths when it comes to getting pregnant. While some couples find it easy to become pregnant, 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility. That's millions of people per year. Telling a couple that it's easy to try again is extremely insensitive to their fertility journey. Many couples spend thousands of dollars and commit months or even years to fertility treatments that are emotionally and physically exhausting. You may not know what it took for that couple to become pregnant in the first place. They may never get the chance again.
The other reason you should never say this to someone is that the ultimate goal in getting pregnant is not just to get pregnant, but to stay pregnant. Just because it may be easy for a couple to become pregnant, doesn't mean that their next pregnancy will deliver a healthy baby. If someone struggles with recurrent miscarriages, you are just minimizing their pain for their loss each time they go through it.
Instead of saying someone can always try again, say, "I know I don't understand, but I am so sorry you're going through this."
4. "Everything Happens For A Reason."
Even if this is something you whole-heartedly believe, you should not say this statement to someone who is grieving. Would you say this to someone grieving the loss of a close fried or relative? I think not. Why is miscarriage any different? Not only does saying this statement minimize the intensity of their grief, but you're not acknowledging their loss and taking away from their very real pain.
Instead of saying everything happens for a reason, ask "Is there anything I can do to help you during this difficult time?"
5. "You Weren't That Far Along, That's Hardly A Loss."
Most people love their baby from the moment they learn they are pregnant, and some even during their IVF cycle the moment they see their embryos. It doesn't matter how far along someone was because the emotional side effects of losing a pregnancy are strong.
I lost my first pregnancy after almost 6 years of trying at 6 weeks and it took me almost a full year to grieve. I never got to see a heartbeat, and yet that loss rocked me to my core. Some days are still hard one year later, but that's grief and all I can do is try to continue to heal. It's not about how far along someone was, it's about the fact that they are grieving that they will never get to meet that baby. They are grieving the idea of what could have been. Never minimize the bond that someone has formed with their baby, because at the end of the day, they are simply grieving.
Instead of saying you weren't that far along, say "I'm sorry for your loss. Take as much time as you need to grieve."
6. "Maybe It's Something You Did."
It is never ok to blame someone for their miscarriage. Miscarriage happens for a variety of reasons, the biggest being a problem with the chromosomes within the embryo making it impossible for a fetus to develop normally. While it is possible for something to go wrong due to something wrong with the mother, you should never under any circumstance cast blame. Many women are already struggling with guilt and shame after miscarrying. They may go through a time where they disconnected from their bodies and feel disgusted and hatred towards themselves. It's important to uplift women during this very difficult time and only surround them with words of love and kindness.
Instead of casting blame, say "There is nothing you could have done to prevent this. Be gentle with yourself during this time, it's not your fault."