1."It's so common"
This one was the one I got the most often and the one that hurt the most. You know what is common? A cold. The flu. Shoot, even chlamydia. The fact that almost every other woman (or couple) will go through this, is way more painful then it is comforting. No woman should have to go through this and it isn’t comforting to know that other women have. One woman’s pain does not cancel out another’s. Women who have had miscarriages don’t get together like a book club and share stories. This is a painful time in their lives. Say you’re sorry, tell her you’re there for her. Don’t try to cancel her emotions out with science.
2. “You can try again”
Okay, she understands that. But she just tried and she just succeeded and she feels like her body just failed her. She’s not ready to just go at it and start trying again. She needs to process this loss that will always hurt. And yes, she can try again, but even if she were to get pregnant again it doesn’t mean she didn’t lose a baby. She will still think of the baby she lost even if she does get pregnant again.
3. “At least you weren’t *amounts of weeks* far along.
I was having trouble getting covered by my insurance so I didn’t go to the doctor until I was 13 weeks, 1 day (yes, I was taking prenatals). My first ultrasound appointment was the day I was having a miscarriage. I never saw the baby, but I knew I was pregnant and I had tried and planned for that baby. I was already buying stuff for the nursery and had names picked out. Sure, maybe it would have been more intimate if I knew the sex and saw the ultrasound, but that doesn’t mean it was any easier of a loss. I told my parents, I told my friends. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t know the sex or didn’t have cute ultrasound pics. It still hurt. I’ll never forget this and neither will your friend.
4. “You’re young, you’ll have another chance.”
It doesn’t matter if it’s baby number 1 or 5. It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 35. It hurts no matter what your age is. It hurts if it’s planned or if it was a surprise. Of course everyone handles these situations differently, but who are you to say that? I was 23 when I had mine and my pregnancy was a planned one, I hated that people who were older than me would say this. It made me feel belittled and like my pain was a phase or equivalent to not getting accepted into college.
5. “Well, at least you know you can get pregnant.”
Getting pregnant and having a baby are two different things. You can’t have one without the other. Women who have PCOS or infertility issues are able to get pregnant too. But just because they can get pregnant doesn’t mean they can easily carry out the pregnancy. By starting a phrase with, “at least..” you are being sympathetic. To be sympathetic is saying things like, “at least you have running water and power.” Being empathetic is saying, “I’m sorry that happened to you. I’m here if you need to talk.” To use, “at least,” is a comparison. Keep this in mind.
6. “They’re in a better place.”
They belong with their mother. They should’ve been with they’re mother. It’s not comforting knowing they’re in a, “better place,” when a better place is here with mom and dad. I understand the intention is to comfort, but it really is not a helpful statement by any means. Keep in mind too, that although you may find comfort in seeking God and leaning on him, your friend going through the miscarriage may not carry the same beliefs.
7. “Everything happens for a reason.”
Imagine your friends parent just died and your first response is, “everything happens for a reason.” Imagine how infuriated your friend would be! I know your baby didn’t get a chance on this earth, but having a miscarriage is still a loss. You go through the same exact grieving process. It’s something that affects you for a very long time afterwards. Using that phrase is a cop out. Whatever truths a person experiences after a miscarriage, let them talk to you about that. I found my silver lining in my miscarriage, but that was only because that was the most soothing and therapeutic thing to me. If I didn’t search for some kind of, “why did this really happen?” then I would have just hated my body and looked for an explanation that didn’t exist within myself.
Don’t forget about the husband/partner/boyfriend/lover.
The first thing people think is, “well, it’s obviously more painful for the woman because it was her body.” But it was his loss too. He was looking forward to the baby too. He was there for your 2 am cravings and holding your hair back when you were sick. He was there while you were miscarrying. Please don’t tell him he doesn’t get it or doesn’t understand. He shares your pain too. Let him cry too, hold him when he needs it.
If you take anything from this, I hope it is that you don’t even have to respond. You don’t have to know what to say or give your friend comforting words. Just listen. Just sit and be there. Don’t try to come up with an explanation. Don’t try to take the situation into your own hands. Don’t try and encourage her to be happy or positive.
Just. Be. There.