Helping Those Dealing with Pregnancy Loss

One of the most significant seasons of my life was 1999 when we experienced three miscarriages. We already had one child and were desperate to have a second. That year was a roller coaster of emotions, to be sure. It wasn’t until the end of 2000 that we finally did bring a sweet baby to term.

Over those 23 months or so from our first miscarriage to our son being born, I was often confronted with some tough questions, one of them being:

So, when are you guys gonna have another baby?

Usually the speaker was a distant or casual acquaintance and had no idea that we were struggling in this area. And, quite honestly, I didn’t always answer the question in the nicest way. I can still remember the stunned look on a school secretary’s face when I very bluntly told her the truth.

One thing it taught me was that it is hard to know what to do or say when a friend experiences pregnancy loss. It’s humbling. It’s sad. It’s awkward.

Despite my history of repeated miscarriage, I still fumble over my words in my hope to “make things better.” Everybody deals with grief in a slightly different way. And I can be afraid to make a mistake.

That said, here are some things that I found helpful.

1. Realize you can’t make it better.

As much as we want to heal our friend, bring back the heartbeat, change the diagnosis, we can’t. Only God really knows the whys and wherefores. And nothing we can do or say will change the harsh reality that a baby has been lost.

2. Listen.

It really helped me to be able to tell my story. I’m thankful for the girlfriends who didn’t mind hearing the gory details. They listened as I processed. They asked questions. They tried to make sense along with me of this wild experience that women have walked through together for eons.

3. Provide practical help.

Whether it is physical incapacity or mental strain, it can be hard to focus on household chores and meals when one is mourning the loss of a baby. Offer to bring a meal, either homemade or a take-out pizza or their favorite Chinese. Something as simple as organizing the freezer so mom and the family knows what’s available can be a great help. Offer to do laundry, watch kids, just hang out.

No, these things aren’t going to make it better. But, they do help ease the journey.

4. Watch your words.

Ouch. That one stings, doesn’t it? I am probably not the one to give advice in this department because I am constantly putting my foot in my mouth. On the other hand, I did hear some of the wildest things during my miscarriages that the speakers probably never intended to hurt me.

  • There was probably something wrong with the baby.
  • Well, you can’t afford a baby right now, anyway.
  • It’s better this way.

These aren’t always the most helpful of words. I would have taken those babies in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer.

Less is more in many instances. And sometime a shoulder to cry on is more valuable than a well-meaning platitude. But don’t be afraid to reach out. Just do it wisely and slowly.

Try to communicate:

  • I love you.
  • I’m sad with you.
  • I want to walk through this with you.

I don’t think there is a “right way” to console a grieving friend.You know your friend better than I do. But, as I look over the years, I realize these are the things that helped ease the pain a little bit.

God has done the rest.

What has been your experience in pregnancy grief or in helping a friend?

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Comments

  1. Thank you for posting this. I lost my daughter at 26 weeks gestation 5 years ago and it still stings when I hear some comments from people who just don’t know any better. Today would’ve been her first day of kindergarten, so I’m really emotional today and have spent the day growling. I’m very sorry for your losses.

  2. One thing I have learned is that everyone deals with miscarriage differently. Personally, I don’t like to talk about it and would prefer that everyone act like nothing happened. But that’s just me. Talking about it makes me feel a thousand times worse. I guess my advice is to just follow the lead of the person who experienced the loss.

  3. My husband and I have suffered through two miscarriages and the kindest thing that anyone did for us was my mother-in-law brought over dinner one night. I was shocked by how simple and how deeply loving that act was, and I have made it my mission to love other families in this same way!

    I have also recently stumbled across a new website where parents can share their stories of grief and loss, and I have found comfort by not feeling so alone. facesofloss.com

    Thanks for writing this article, the more awareness that we can shed on the pain of miscarriage, the fewer stinging comments we may have to endure.

  4. I also experienced a miscarriage after our first son was born. It was rough, but we got through it. I internalized a lot of it and finally felt good about trying again. It actually turned out to be something I was okay with- my grandfather-in-law went through a lot the month right after I would have given birth- we all had to help in order for him to come home again.

    A friend of mine called me soon after and told me she had a miscarriage of her first pregnancy- I was glad she felt good about coming to me and letting me help her. This happened for her two more times before she had a pregnancy stick- we were so happy for her and now she just had her 3rd this year!

  5. Thank you for voicing these things I’ve felt for so long. In 2004, at the same time as our sons autistic spectrum diagnosis, I lost our 3rd child at 18 weeks, then went through a d&c , then we lost out 4th baby, Samuel, at 20 weeks and had to be induced with that loss. After struggling for 2 years of infertility after that, we thought we were through, and that we would be the parents of 2 children on earth and 2 in heaven. So that’s when the good Lord blessed with the baby, she is 2 1/2 now, and we appreciate her all the more. Thank you for letting us give voice to those babies we have lost.

  6. I highly recommend the book Free to Grieve by Maureen Rank. It helped me tremendously, especially with the insensitive comments of others. We’ve been through this experience multiple times. I’m so thankful for the three healthy children the Lord has given us, and I’m convinced that He allowed me to suffer through those difficult times so I could minister to other hurting ladies…even though I never quite know what to say.

  7. I lost our 3rd baby back in December 09. Despite being 8 months pregnant with another sweet baby, I am still mourning the loss of that child.

    I have learned that for me, the only true comfort and peace that I have received has come from my relationship with God. Certainly my husband, friends and family have been wonderful too.

    I have also learned that everyone experience grief and loss in very different ways. I will NEVER tell someone again that “I know” how you feel, because I do not.

    The best thing for me has been to be able to talk about it when I need to, be allowed to show my emotions, and just know that my loved ones are there to support me and my husband. Dinner brought to us from a dear friend was also a very kind and loving gesture.

    Sometimes it is just best to ask, “What do you need” “How can I love and help you during this time? And let the person tell you what they need.

    Blessings

  8. My first pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage. It was our first attempt to get pregnant. Two days before the “heartbeat” ultrasound, I began to spot. By the weekend, my baby was gone. I don’t think it matters if you lose the baby at 9 weeks (like I did) or at 9 months….a loss is a loss. That child was a life created by God. He knit that child together and He knew all the days that were written. My child is being raised in Heaven, without the knowledge, pain, or suffering of this world. And one day, I will meet that child in Heaven, and he or she will know I was their Momma. I have a child here on Earth as well. He is 2 and a half, and is the joy of my heart.

    Going through my miscarriage was one of the darkest times of my life. It also opened my eyes to the things we say to women, some of them you mentioned. I no longer ask women about whether they will try to get pregnant, will have another, etc. You never know who is suffering through infertility, who had a miscarriage and isn’t talking about it, etc. Thank you for sharing this article.

    • Amen to that! People try to “make it better’ but often make you feel worse. I lost a baby- would have been my 2nd- on my sister’s birthday and days before her HS graduation. We had a second child about a year later- but I still mourn this loss. We had just announced that we were expecting- and then lost the baby. People said stuff like- it’s better it happened early, or you can always have another. That doesn’t bring back a child I will never know til i get to heaven.

  9. I just recently had a second ectopic pregnancy after waiting and praying for 18 months. What’s really helped for me is that three weeks later my friends and loved ones are still checking in on me and praying for me. Knowing that they are grieving with me means the most.

  10. We lost a baby during my second trimester and received a lot of criticism from family and friends for holding a funeral, despite the fact that our baby was born alive.

    I wrote about our experience here – http://busymommymedia.com/2010/04/why-is-infant-loss-taboo/

  11. In 1976 I delivered a 5 and a half month daughter who lived only 1 and a half hours. She weighed 1 and a half pounds. I heard her weak cry when she was born but they rushed her to the incubator and she laid there trying to breathe. Thankfully I never saw that. I did get to hold her when she died. Nowadays she would probably have survived. It was the worst time of my life. She was our first and I thought I’d never be able to have kids. Back then people didn’t talk as much about things like that so I was hurt when some people didn’t even recognize she had lived. Someone did say, “It’s for the best because something was probably wrong with her.” That is the worst thing to say. We did go on and have 2 children. A boy who is 32 now and a girl who is 30. I still remember my first on her birth and death day though and I know I will see her in heaven.
    God bless, Kathy in Illinois

  12. I’m a lot like Emily E. I did not want to talk about it. I personally think the best thing that you can say is simply “I’m sorry.” That’s it. You can’t make it better. The most hurtful thing that anyone ever said was when my own mother said that maybe I wasn’t really pregnant.

  13. This is really great advice, Jessica. I also lost three babies, although mine were interspersed between my four girls, and I’ve been hit with stupid comments all along the way.

    After my first, a neighbor stopped me in the road and just said, “I’m sorry. That sucks.” I know there are lots of people who don’t approve of that word, but it was so befitting, and I appreciated it more than anything else anyone said or did because, truly, it DID suck.

  14. Jenn Dziejma says:

    We lost our 3rd daughter at 33 weeks gestation and it was heartbreaking and shattered my world as I knew it. I didn’t leave the house for nearly 6 weeks and my friends set up a system so that someone was always leaving a meal for my family and was able to sit and visit if I wanted company (which I did!). I also had help with coordinating rides/activities for my other children. I loved being able to talk about our daughter and my experience in my own time and I have friends who still remember her birth date. It means a lot that she has not been forgotten. About one year later I had another miscarriage and then when we had all but given up on adding to our family we were blessed with our son who is now 2 1/2 yrs old. I wish for peace for all of you who are missing your angels.

  15. What a beautiful post- from the comments, we can all see that miscarriage is very common- most women have stories- this should teach us to tread lightly and compassionately. Everyone’s journey is different. In my opinion- it WAS harder for my sister to lose her first daughter to SIDS at 5 months than for me to lose a son at 20 weeks gestation- just an opinion- with this subject matter, the best thing to do is to let the woman mourning to set the tone.

  16. I think the most horrible thing said to me was from the hospital minister… he had no idea what I was there for and had me explain what was going to be done (s/c). He then said “Oh… you mean like you are having an abortion?” I was so incredibly upset! Thankfully, he didn’t stay courtesy of my husband.

  17. I apprciate the feedback here; obviously, women process the grief of miscarriage and stillbirth differently. I have lost 4 to miscarriage. I heard a few of the painful comments, but I think the hardest thing for me was that I didn’t feel like I was permitted to grieve by some of my friends. “Just move on and get over it” was the message from some. I am sure partially we got that message because we had 5 children when we had our first miscarriage so already had a “full house.” I wanted to be permitted to grieve the death. I wanted to talk about it. But felt like I couldn’t with some. I know it is a tough topic, but still…
    I would also say, don’t forget the father! My husband’s grief was doubled, tripled, quadrupled with our first miscarriage because no one came alongside him. I got a little support, he got NONE. It was really painful, like just because he didn’t carry her, he didn’t grieve her death.
    But she was his daughter as well as mine. And by the way, all 4 mcs have been by 10 weeks so we’ve never known gender for sure, just had a sense from the Lord one way or the other. But it was still very painful. I would think, not as painful as a later loss but thankfully so far we’ve never lost one later in the pregnancy. I’m 28 weeks pregnant now with a baby we hope will be our 7th living child, after 3 mcs last year. I was terrified to get pregnant again and indeed it was a surprise from the Lord, and by His grace she has survived so far and all seems well. I still feel some concern after last year, but most of me is full of hope and a faith we’ll welcome another little girl in 3 months.

  18. I wrote a miscarriage series last year sharing our experiences in hopes of helping others.
    I’m amazed at how common it is; I had no idea!

    We lost our very first baby, Isaiah and I was unprepared, shocked and consumed with grief! But He is in control and there were many good things that He used our loss to accomplish.

  19. Jessica Cusano says:

    Thank you for this post… it is a GREAT thing to make others aware of how people who have been through this are feeling. It’s obvious that everyone handles it very differently. My husband and I suffered our second miscarriage this past June, (here is a link to my blog entry if anyone is interested in reading my story http://threesacharmingirlville.wordpress.com/2010/06/20/this-week-heaven-got-a-little-bit-sweeter ) With me, I wanted to talk… I wanted to share, I just really wanted to help someone else through my circumstances in some way. I had been through it twice and wanted good to come out of my child’s short, short life inside my womb. People weren’t as receptive as I thought they’d be, I think simply because of the lack of knowledge on how to handle something like this. For me, I had to suffer, I had to grieve, but I HAD to get my story OUT to heal! And I was eventually able to. I think people sometimes don’t realize how BIG of a deal this really is… it’s a life lost by two parents. Even though I was only pregnant for 12 weeks with this baby, it was MINE and I loved it! I had witnessed it’s heartbeat, I’d read every week about what was happening with it… it’s not something to be taken lightly and I really don’t think you can fully understand unless you’ve walked that path!

    Again, thank you for your post, I think it will be very helpful for others and most importantly, I think it was very necessary for people to read! :) God bless you and your sweet, sweet family!!!

  20. I have two children with me on earth and 6 children in heaven. Each miscarriage has been a different experience and each time I have wanted something different from the people around me. An earlier commenter said that we should follow the lead of the person experiencing the loss when it comes to our own responses and I totally agree with that.

    For me, one of the most painful aspects of repeated miscarriage is what it does to my feelings in subsequent pregnancies. The first time I found out I was pregnant I was thrilled. I danced around with the pregnancy test and made plans to tell my loved ones in exciting ways. Since that first pregnancy, which ended in loss, I have not been able to respond to a pregnancy test that way. I am not excited when I find out I am pregnant, I am terrified. I live in fear of the ticking time bomb that is my body for the whole first trimester.

    I recently found out that I am pregnant for the 9th time. I have told no one (except my husband, of course) and I don’t plan to tell anyone for weeks. I am sad that miscarriage has stolen my pregnancy joy and I pray every day that God would soothe my wounded spirit and help me to trust in His master plan.

    • @Kristin, I had 6 miscarriages before I finally had my son who is now 6 I felt the exact same way I wanted to feel joy but I was TERRIFIED that I would lose the baby. My son was born perfect in every way! 4 years later I found out I was pregnant and the fear was even worse this time, I knew this time around how much I LOVED the baby and I am happy to say I have a 2 and 1/2 yo little boy. I would love more children but the fear of losing another one is too strong.

  21. After reading the comments, it’s still amazing to me how many ladies do miscarry–not just once, but multiple times. My husband and I struggled through three miscarriages in 2006 and they were devastating. I wanted to hug on the two we already had and never let them go. I have been reminded over and over again how intricate our Creator has made us and how everything has to be so “perfect” for a baby to be born full term. The one thing that helped me work through all of them was just reading Psalm 93 over and over again–to know that our God is still reigning on His throne and will be forever. That brings more comfort to me during any trial (not just loss of babies, but anything) than anything else.

  22. Thanks so much for writing this post. I appreciate your perspective- even though I have not experienced miscarriage, it has happened to three women in my church group this summer. I try to watch my words very carefully when I speak to someone who I know is going through this. People think that they mean well but can say some pretty stupid and hurtful things. Really, who understands these things on this side of eternity? The last time a friend miscarried I took her and her husband some chocolate chip cookies. As you say, nothing can make the pain go away, but I can do a simple gesture to simply let her know that I care.

  23. My FORMER doctor said “it wasn’t really a baby” oh yeah, well, it sure felt like one and since I had to deliver my daughter, so yeah, it really was a baby!

    I will say, our local hospital had a loss group especially for miscarriage and stillbirths. That was helpful because I could just cry and the other moms knew… they just knew and I didn’t have to explain a thing. The facilitator was good, and she worked in L/D and that helped alot. Too bad more hospitals don’t offer this community outreach.

    Although the internet is great, this is one time, for me, that was better to have a place to drag myself out of the house and just deal with my grief.

    • @Judy,

      I’m gonna add, I was at one of the world’s “best” hospitals and a resident was attempting to deliver our 19 week gestation daughter because of an incompetent cervix and she was breech and lets just say, I delivered her in pieces and then had to have an abortion because they “didn’t get everything”.

      Yeah, I’m bitter, 5 years later. God had his reasons… a few months later, I had a abnormal pap and found precancerous cells, 1 LEEP later, and 1 round of IUI on the 1st try, cerclage, a worry riddled pg, and FF to a wonderful 3 yo DD.

      Just wished more women could talk about it.

  24. So many sad stories – sigh – won’t bother with my own – just wanted to add a couple of comments.

    1. I totally agree with taking the cues from the grieving parents – however be aware that they may not be talking about how they really feel – so find some way to ask something like, “do you want to talk about it? or would you rather not? and if so do let me know if you change your mind – I’ll listen anytime”
    2. Do share your story with a grieving parent if you can – just that you’ve experienced it unless they ask for details – especially for young women, the statistics are meaningless – it doesn’t end the grief to know so many have had such a loss but it does make you feel less alone.
    3. I have found, in my far to frequent experience with friends and my personal experience, that there is a significant difference between those miscarrying after they have a child or before they have had any successful pregnancies. Those with primary infertility issues may withdraw as much as possible from situations where children will be present – be understanding – but at the same time don’t let them isolate themselves completely either.

  25. Wow, God’s timing is amazing. I lost 2 babies last year and the healing has been a long process…one I thought I had completed until yesterday morning. It was our first day of school and as I began the day in prayer dedicating my plans to the Lord, memories of last year’s first day of school flooded back – that was the day I began to suspect I was loosing my baby. The only thing that got me through our school day was God speaking to me as I read our morning devotion aloud at breakfast. (Ps. 37 Trust in the Lord…rest in Him) Praise God for His grace! And then your blog post. Thank you for sharing…the more I get to know you, the more I like you! God has used you to bless me!

    I know what you mean about people saying things that hurt. The hardest things for me, however, was feeling like no one remembered. My babies were no less real than if they had died after birth, but with miscarriage it is too easily forgotten by others. I want my babies to be remembered! They have names & birthdays, they are a part of my life unlike any other.

  26. @cherie, Very good post and very good comments. There are so many of us out there who have lost babies and/or struggled with infertility. My husband and I have five living children now and four with the Lord (two single miscarriages, one loss of a twin, one premature baby who lived 10 days.) And believe it or not, we started out struggling with infertility for three years. Even with a house full, I still remember all of those emotions of infertility and the loss of children. It was so helpful for me to hear from other women who have gone through similar circumstances. Sometimes it’s easy for us to feel like we are the only one who has ever felt this way! Some books that have helped me tremendously over the years are “A Deeper Shade of Grace” by Bernadette Keaggy (very helpful in regards to infertility), “Roses in December” by Marilyn Heavilin, “I’ll Hold You in Heaven” by Jack Hayford, and “Treasures in Darkness” by Sharon Betters. I would recommend these books for any woman who has suffered in this way or who wants to be a good friend to another going through these issues.

  27. Thank you for posting this. When I went through my miscarriage last year, I don’t think anyone knew what to do with me. It was one of the worst times in my life and yet hardly anyone asked me about how I was doing for the longest time. If they said anything it was often “it was for the best”. Really?!? How was losing my baby for the best?? I lost the baby at 9 weeks but agree with a previous poster, I don’t think it matters WHEN you lost the baby. A baby lost is a baby lost.

    The miscarriage inspired me to try and help others in this situation. I created my website, angelbracelets.org, and our mission is to raise money for pregnancy and infant loss organizations through the sale of our special bracelets. We also have a Resources page which includes some helpful articles for friends and family (wish my friends and family had had it when I had my miscarriage).

  28. I have had 3 miscarriages in the course of my childbearing journey. I had my first miscarriage at 15 weeks, after 4 normal pregnancies. It was discovered during a routine ultrasound, and I experienced a sense of shock and disbelief. I never expected, somehow, that something so many women experience might happen to me!

    I dealt with it over time, and agree that it is so difficult to know how best to grieve with a friend. Everyone processes loss differently. I think that just being available, offering practical help, and allowing the mom to lead the way is very valuable.

    After not really thinking about this for awhile, reading through everyone’s posts brought tears to my eyes. I think we become more compassionate as we experience our own hardships.

  29. I’ve had 3 miscariages, 2 before the birth of my 1st child and 1 after the birth of my second. For me it was shockingly eye opening to find out after my 1st misariage, just how many women that I knew had also been through this experience. After my second, a woman from my church called me and shared that she had been through 7 miscariages (she also had 3 children). Her name was Jessica, and she shared some of the feelings that she had experienced through this trial. She helped create a safe place for me to share my fear (that I would never carry a child to term), my anger (at everyone and everything), my frustration, my grief and my desperation. She provided hope, an understanding ear and no judgement of the feelings that I was experiencing – even the very ugly ones. I can never repay her for that. I couldn’t share many of these emotions with my husband as he was so devestated by the loss at the time, that my reaction would have crushed him under the emotional weight of it all.

  30. momofmanyinca says:

    Well I had a mc way back in 97 my youngest at the time was less then 6 months.Being young I didn’t know what was happening at the time .My MIL and SIL both didn’t believe me. Who in the world would make up something like that? My hubby had just gone in to get fixed like the week before.I was already preg before he had gone in I told them. Far worst was when my son (Jason 19 yr) died in a car accident 8 yrs ago Aug 23,02 along with 4 other kids. I CAN”T even describe the pain we went through.It took me 3 yrs just to feel normal again. I was one of the lucky parents,one of the others lost their 2 only boys.The first 2 yrs the whole family and friends remembered him now only just a few . Like a handful .Even my own MIL hasn’t thought to call for like 6 yrs around the time.Never visits the cemetary.Shes only like 17 miles from me.It hurts very much still that out of sight out of mind.Because it hasn’t happen to any other family members they just don’t know.Yes I’ve said something ,it doesn’t work.As you can guess we aren’t close.I thought we were.My other SIL says I shouldn’t expect them to remember that I’m setting my self up for heart ache.How can I not he was my first born my only son at the time? We have gone on with life and adopted a sib set of 4. 2 girls(14 1/2 & 12) and 2 boys (7 and 5 1/2 ).when they came 5 yrs ago Steven was only 4 1/2 months he’s now just started kindergarten .I’m 48 and am enjoying being a second time around mom.My little kids have made life so much sweeter and I’m VERY blessed. My older(birth) girls 26,24 have given us 3 grandbabies also to love.

  31. I was amazed when we lost our first child (10 weeks) how many women came out of the woodwork to talk about their miscarriage experiences. Even my mother, who had only briefly talked about it before, gave me all the details of her one m/c.

    The worst comment I heard was “well, you can always have more”. Really? I’m 38 years old, we’ve been married 12 years, and this is my first pregnancy. Um, ok.

    Thankfully I had found a website early on in my pregnancy that listed some of the things not to say to a woman who has lost a child. For some reason it helped me when I actually heard them later – like I was already prepared and could brush it off easier.

    I can completely relate to those that have a tough time getting excited for subsequent pregnancies. I am currently 25 weeks (a complete surprise), but it’s only in the last month or so I’ve started to dream of the day when my baby is born.

  32. We lost our second child at about 16 weeks, our fourth at about 5 weeks, our 7th somewhere around 10 weeks, and then we quit trying to share our losses with anyone else because its just too hard to explain when everyone says “But, you can’t get pregnant.. you had your tubes tied.”

    After our first miscarriage a lady who didn’t even know us, but attended my in-laws church, mailed me a book called Empty Arms by Pam Vredevelt. That book was a god-send, and a comfort, maybe the only comfort at the time that I did have, as most folks avoided us like the plaque out of not knowing what to say, or how to act.

    Pregnancy loss has been probably the most painful experience in my life, to say the least. I chalk it up there with losing my mom. You have things you think you have time to say sometime in the future, and then that chance is gone.

    I have friends and family who have also suffered the same losses and feel the same rejection from folks who lack understanding… folks who can’t show compassion because they lack experience… folks who don’t know that the best and maybe only comfort is simply holding your hand and sitting quietly, or LISTENING while you grieve. We have a closer relationship because our shared grief brought us together. We have a kinship of loss that binds us.

    2 Corinthians 1: 3-5 says “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.” This scripture has been such a blessing to me! It’s one I share with others once healing has begun and words are welcome.

  33. Thank you for posting this. I lost my first in July this year and it was a very difficult thing that I’m still struggling with. I was lucky to have a very supportive husband and family to get me through it, but now I have to deal with the emotional and psychological healing. After going through the ups and downs and trying to cope, I’m realizing that I feel better when I talk about it and share instead of hiding it like it’s a forbidden secret.

  34. We too suffered two early miscarriages and I am walking with a friend through a similar situation of miscarriage and infertility. Thank you for this reminder. The worst thing we heard was from our doctor (who we promptly dropped and found a pro-life doctor) who claimed, ‘well, you weren’t REALLY pregnant anyway’. The best came from our pastor who said in two words exactly how we felt….’this sucks.’ Yep, not the most inspiring words, but I’ll never forget it and how comforting that was at the time.

  35. Thank you all for sharing. My husband and I are currently going through what you of all have been through. On July 29 of this year I gave birth to my daughter at 22 weeks of gestation. She was our first. She was too little and too premature for the NICU. I held my little girl as she quickly passed away. I was diagnosed with having an incompetent cervix. There was no warning sign until it was too late. I am really having a rough time dealing with our lost. I have just started back to work this week. While I now people mean well, by the end of the day I feel like I have been kicked in the stomach a thousand times by their comments.

  36. I’d also like to thank you for posting this. I’ve been thinking about writing something similar on my blog. I’ve had 4 miscarriages (and one 3 year old boy!), and I know people definitely don’t know what to say anymore (nor did they to begin with). I have trouble asking others for help, so I greatly appreciated those times when friends called and said, “I’m bringing dinner. What day is best for you?” instead of asking if there was anything I needed. Obviously, everyone’s situation is different and everyone grieves differently, but that was my preference. I also heard some really crazy things from well-intentioned friends (and from my OB/GYN…you’d think he’d know better!).

  37. It still breaks my heart when I think of my grandmother having a stillborn after 5 healthy pregnancies. No funeral. Little support. You just didn’t talk about such things. My dad finally figured out her name many, many years later. Sharon will always be remembered. The aunt I never knew in this life.

    The worst comment I’ve ever seen was “It wasn’t a real baby” – simply because it was an early miscarriage. How wrong they are!

    One difficult part is not being hard on the fathers when a miscarriage doesn’t affect them the same way it affects the mother. Some have a harder time bonding with a baby before it’s born. Some just grieve differently – instead of seeming sad they can be angry or even stoic. They need support too.

  38. Thanks for this timely post. A friend of mine just experienced a miscarriage and another is having difficulty getting pregnant after many heartaches (1 baby lived 55 minutes after birth, 2 healthy babies, then an ectopic pregnancy and a miscarriage). I’ve often wondered how to comfort/help and this post is very practical in this way.

  39. I lost my son last May at 37 weeks and it has been the most heart breaking thing I have ever had to go through. Unless someone has been through it they don’t understand it and can’t be sensitive to it. From more than one person including family I have been told to “just get over it”. I have just learned to breathe and walk away before I say things I don’t mean. Thanks for this post! And I’m sorry for everyone that has had a loss, hugs to all of you!

  40. I’ve never had miscarriages myself (I have 3 kids), but I have 2 different friends that had miscarriages after having multiple children, one when she already had 3, and another when she already had 5. They both got the comment “well at least you have the other kids”. I can’t fathom why people think that would be ok to say.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      I think that it is, unfortunately, a symptom in our culture not to think of the unborn as people. While folks may not admit it, that presupposition is in the back of their minds. As a mom of many, I meet a lot of people who can’t understand why we would ever have more than two.

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