Friday, March 18, 2011

The Top 5 Worst Things to Say

To someone who has experienced a miscarriage.

5. At least you have other children. I don’t have other children, but I’m told by other women that this is said frequently. How rude!
4. What happened? Who the hell knows? Leave me alone.
3. Maybe it just wasn’t your time. Ok... but it’s the crack head downtown’s time? And the kids on MTV “Teen Mom’s” time? No, that doesn’t make sense.
2. Anything in the maybe-it's-your-fault category. Unless you majorly abuse drugs and alcohol, a miscarriage is not your fault. It's not that cup of coffee you had, and if someone brings it up, they should be prepared to lose a limb.
1. It’s nature’s way of getting rid of an unhealthy baby.

I hear number one all. the. time. Death is also a way to reduce excess population, but we would never dream of saying that to someone whose parent has recently passed. Be compassionate. Say something encouraging instead.

Up next: the top five things you should say.

48 comments:

  1. I can't tell you how many times I heard "at least you know you can get pregnant." Um, ya, well, but I don't know why I can't STAY pregnant. I LOVE your blog and the image of Lucy makes me crack up every time I check in. :)

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  2. OMG - my husband was the idiot who said, "Maybe it just wasn't our time." To which I responded, "But 15 years ago, it was your cunt of a cheating ex-wife's time? Cool. And now she doesn't even want her kid? Cool. She's a great mom. Glad it was her time." The worst part is that he SAID IT AGAIN with my second miscarriage. Um, hello, lay of the pot dude. WRONG THING TO SAY TO YOUR WIFE!
    Love your blog - found it from the Times article.

    Also loved it when my best friend said, "Well it was probably a retard baby. And you wouldn't want a retard." So utterly PC, huh?
    And my boss, "Well if it was a surprise pregnancy then you didn't really want the child right? So it's okay." That one probably takes the cake.
    I know it usually comes from a place of love, but STFU!

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  3. Aww thanks On Standby!

    Eyes Wide Open, glad I'm not the only one who gets so very ANGRY about these things. We are like the hulk only less green and way cuter of course.

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  4. I love this blog! The things people say are unbelievable... after my d&c the nurse asked me if I had other children at home and I said no but I have a dog (obviously trying desperately to be positive for myself) and she was all "well dogs are nothing like children!" REALLY CAPTAIN OBVIOUS, I HAD NO IDEA!!! HEY WHILE YOU'RE AT IT WHY DON'T YOU PUNCH ME IN THE UTERUS, THANKS.

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  5. Omg, kick me while I'm down! I hate that.

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  6. One of my favorites (and I heard it a lot) was, "That happens a lot. It's really common." Well, yeah, it's really common for old people to die, too, but when someone tells you their grandfather just died, you don't say, "Yeah, that happens a lot."

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  7. When I went to the emergency room after I started bleeding during my mc the doctor asked me while i was crying during the exam. Really?

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  8. Danielle, I am lifting my chin up off the floor.

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  9. Hey girl, I just had my third. You are so dead on!

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  10. I just had my 2nd miscarriage 5 weeks ago, my first 29 weeks ago and I just can't stop thinking about how I'm suppose to be pregnant or having a child right now... its kinda funny other people keep kind of saying "get over it already" by saying "well take some time for you and your husband have fun while you can" and like "Don't worry I know you'll have a baby someday" I know that both statements aren't that bad but they make me feel like they are just trying to shut me up.

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  11. I lost a baby almost 14 years ago. Afterwards I had 10 years of "unexplained infertility", and still people would say "at least you know you CAN get pregnant." Uh, yeah...then why can't I get pregnant again? And why did I lose that baby so far into my pregnancy?
    When it happened, pretty much everyone who found out I'd lost the baby said "it was for the best", or "It's natures way of getting rid of babies that aren't perfect." No one understood. I didn't care if the baby was "perfect", and it was most certainly not "for the best".
    My own mother told me to "get over it", and said "it's normal for people to lose their first one." Nice, eh? I'll NEVER "get over it", thanks though.

    I wish you only the very best in the future, and hope you can find some peace with knowing that no one *intentionally* says anything stupid or hurtful. I think it's a lack of knowing WHAT to say, so they just say whatever comes into their fool head...even though it might just be better for them to say that they're sorry for your loss and nothing more. When you haven't experienced it, it's hard to know just how hard it is to live through...and so, hard to know the right thing to say.

    xoxo

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  12. Had my first miscarriage two days ago, both my mother and mother-in-law responded to the news with, "I didn't tell anyone". Thanks I will suffer and grieve alone! A simple, "I am so sorry" would have gone a long way.

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  13. I've heard all of them except #5 since I don't have other children.

    I had my first miscarriage at 8 wks earlier this year.

    First thing my mother-in-law said when my husband told her on the phone we had a miscarriage was, "What did she do?" Of course, if I had a miscarriage I must have done something wrong then, right?? She literally asked that question about 5 times as my husband kept saying vehemently, "She didn't DO anything!"

    Another one I got a lot:
    "At least it happened now and not later!" Y'all, just stop giving advice on shit you don't know about. I take no comfort in that statement. If it happened later, I would know more about my baby. I would have a first picture, I would hear his heartbeat, I would know what my baby feels like kicking around in my belly, I would know if it was a boy or a girl. It is so unbelievably heartbreaking not to know these things about your own child. Maybe I will one day know, when I die and am reunited with my son. That could be a long ways away...so no, I don't take comfort in the fact that at least it didn't happen later.

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  14. My "favorite" comment I heard was, "It's God's plan". Umm...So let me get this straight. It's God's plan for that Octo-loser to have all those kids, but not for my husband and I to have one. Really?!

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  15. I have heard all these things about it and more! I was even asked what business did I have to think about having another baby anyways in response to the news of a miscarriage when I had a 3yr old and a 2 yr old. (I made a list too a couple months ago, of the stupid stuff people say: http://laborofwonder.com/2011/09/12/lossandremembrance/) wish I would have found this blog a lot sooner!!!

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  16. I'm so sorry - to everyone who has ever had a miscarriage.

    The worst thing that was ever said to me, post-miscarriage? A co-worker TOLD ME "DEAD BABY" JOKES. Because I looked sad.

    Yeah. Worse still, when I complained to my supervisor, his boss, and HR, they all basically said the same thing: Get over it. It wasn't a "real" baby.

    And yes, I quit working there shortly thereafter.

    That was nearly 25 years ago. I still wonder what my littlest angels would be doing now. I still celebrate their birthdays (their due dates) and mourn their deaths.

    We have one beautiful daughter who will graduate from high school this year.

    But we still count ourselves as a family of 5.

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  17. The day I returned back to work after losing our daughter at 22 weeks gestation, a male co-worker sat down with me and said "I can kind of sympathize, we've had sadness in our house too. A friend's dog that we were watching died.". I just stared and asked if he was comparing his friend's dog with my baby girl and then I burst into tears. He muttered something about trying to say nice things to people...

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  18. When I had my first miscarriage 14 years ago, my husband's aunt thought she was comforting me by telling me "it was a bad seed". Are you kidding me? Thanks, that makes me feel so much better that my husband and I created a bad seed. Unbelievable what some people think.

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  19. When I was in the ER for my miscarriage, the triage nurse actually asked as she's methodically running down her checklist, "Is there a chance you might be pregnant?" Ummm... not anymore. Thanks!

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  20. I'm shocked and appalled by these! xo, Ed

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  21. I have had two losses - a missed miscarriage that I carried dead for four weeks before finally passing, and an ectopic. I am so very sorry for all of your losses. I learned that what people say is meant more to make them feel better than to make me feel better. Once I accepted that, I wasn't as likely to bite their heads off for the stupid, mean, insane things they would say. The worst, though, by far, was from the medical folks themselves, asking me while on the exam table, blood dripping down my legs, unable to find anything in my uterus on the ultrasound but with a list of quantitative serum HCG tests behind me, if I was sure I was pregnant. Ya' know, it's bad enough knowing I had lost my baby, but to have to PROVE it to people who really should know better? That was about eight years ago. Still makes me so angry.

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  22. I had a girl say to me "Did you take your Omega vitamins"??? WTF lady! Crack heads have healthy babies all the time!!

    Seriously ladies I am so sorry for your losses and for the idiots around the world.

    The one thing that consoled me was to know that God is taking care of my baby in heaven and one day I will see them again.

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  23. Having had a miscarriage myself (and yes, receiving all the STUPID, HURTFUL but 'well-meaning' comments), even I felt at a loss when my daughter texted me to say she suspected she was miscarrying (early) and how should she tell whether she needed to go to the ER or just let nature take its course. I tried to call her, but she wouldn't pick up; texted me back that she just couldn't talk. So, we texted back and forth for hours, with me offering what advice and comfort I could. The 'right' thing to say or do is whatever the couple needs to cope. And make sure they know that it's okay to need professional help with emotional as well as physical pain!

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  24. Reading all these just reminded me of what I was told, that I have tried to forget because of what it did to me. "Maybey THE baby didn't want to be part of your family." & "Maybe it just chose to leave, because it wants a different family." I ended up thinking I was a mistake that couldn't be gotten rid of.
    Thanks to a friend and Mom who had been through the same thing, and a very loving husband, I found my worth again.

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  25. I had a miscarriage in September 2011 with my first pregnancy. The thing I hated to hear most was "maybe it would have had something wrong with it when it was born and that's why God took it now." I don't care if my baby would have a mental/physical disorder or whatever, I would love him/her with my whole being.

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  26. When my mother in law found out she looked right into my eyes and said "What did you do?" And when I didn't answer because I was shocked, she went on' "I guess I will only have 4 grandchildren instead of 5." Seriously?

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    1. I had a miscarriage 37 years ago, and I still love that baby. My then mother-in-law asked me if I had had sex while pregnant. I guess I looked shocked or something because she said, "Everyone knows you quit doing that when you are pregnant." I had children before and after, but that never eases the pain of losing just one.

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  27. Welcome new friends! I'm terribly sorry for your losses and the stupid comments that were made to you. It makes me feel so much less alone!

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  28. Wow. Just discovered this blog. I had four miscarriages within two years starting in 1996. The worst was #2 when, at 3 months, my OB couldn't find a heartbeat and sent me across to the hospital for an ultrasound. The heartless ultrasound doc came in to confirm what the nervous tech had discovered and said to me, "There's no heartbeat; the pregnancy has terminated." I was left alone to sob in the dark exam room, then make my way across the lobby to the VERY PUBLIC pay phone (pre-cell phone days) and call my husband at work to tell him. No one checked on me or offered to help; I received more kindness for my annual mammogram than I did for such a public and wrenching loss. It was a horrid time and I'm so sorry to read about so many others having equally horrible experiences. The good news for us, was that after four miscarriages, we realized we wanted to be parents more than we wanted to be pregnant, and we adopted domestically and have a wonderful, almost 13-year-old boy. Hard to imagine now, Ed, but though you never get over it, there is light on the other side.

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  29. I have similar post on my blog! I had a missed miscarriage last year and had a D&C. I heard a lot of the usual "At least you can get pregnant," and "It is for the best." But the worst thing that was said to me was, "Yeah, my husband had a bad week, too" said by a co-worker when I returned from work a week after my surgery. I'll never, EVER forget that one.

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  30. "So you aren't really pregnant?" when I found out the pregnancy that I was carrying was not viable. And "whatever you do don't get a D&C, the doctors might be wrong and you could kill a healthy baby". Wow. Unless you were in the doctor's office, don't give medical advice.

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  31. Hi, everyone. I'm sorry for all your losses and the unkindness that you've received. I've lost a five month old baby due a genetic condition (my first), then went on to have two miscarriages and two healthy girls. With each loss, I found out who my friends were.

    I would like to offer a place of support for those still trying to have children - they were a lifeline to me when I was struggling through pregnancies. www.spals.com

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  32. i've had 2, they'd be 8 and 10. the first was the product of a rape and just when i'd come to terms with having been raped and being pregnant, i lost the baby. most people don't know about that one.

    with the second one, i was past the first trimester and so we'd begun telling people. my ex's brother told me he'd prayed for that to happen. i still can't believe i didn't hit him. i was just so shocked.

    my mom told me it was "for the best" because i just wasn't ready for having a baby. i was 24 and had a great job with incredible benefits. a few years later, my sister's friend, a junior in high school, got pregnant and my mom bought her baby stuff and talked about how brave it was of her to keep the baby, even though her parents had thrown her out and her bf had left her. i haven't told her how much that hurt me.

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  35. Hi my name is Jenny. I found your blog by... Actually I'm not really sure how I found it. I think I just googled "blogs about miscarriage". But I am so glad I found it!

    I am having such a hard time. My husband and I were trying for over a year to have a baby. We watched as friends and some family members announced their pregnancy. We got very discouraged. In early 2012 I went to my OB because I was tired. Tired of trying and getting nowhere. I wanted to know if we were doing something wrong or if something was wrong with us. I had some tests ran that day and after my OB reviewed my chart again he thought I needed to have laparoscopy surgery to check for Endometriosis. It made sense because I had most of the symptoms. So the surgery was set. He told us that this was hopefully the reason why we had not gotten pregnant yet. He did find endometriosis during the surgery. We were told to wait a few weeks until we started trying again. My surgery was in March 2012.

    In early June, I felt very weird! I kept thinking maybe just maybe I'm pregnant! So on a Sunday night I took a test! We were shocked to see pregnant! But I didn't want to get too excited until it was confirmed by blood test. I took a few more tests, all said positive! The next day I went to my regular doctor for a blood test. I couldn't get in to see my OB for 2 weeks so I wanted to go ahead and confirm it! Sure enough, my regular doctor came into our room and confirmed that I was in fact pregnant! She also commented on how high my levels were! I thought this was a good sign! We were over the moon excited! Words can't even describe how excited and happy we were! By her calculations I was 4 weeks with a due dated of Feb 13, 2013. 3 days after my 28th birthday!

    The appt was made for my first OB visit 2 weeks later. We were so excited for this appointment! But were given bad news from the start. My sac was measuring 2 weeks ahead of the baby and it was hard for them to find a heartbeat. It looked like there was fetal movement but we just couldn't be sure so they scheduled me to come back a week later. I was 6 weeks 2 days at this point. We were told that most cases like this end in miscarraige. But we had hope!

    The next week we went in and heard the most beautiful sound! The heartbeat! It was only 102bpm and I knew that was low. The sac was still measuring 2 weeks ahead and was also flat. They printed out pictures of our baby and we were in love! I was 7weeks 1 day The doctor told us again that he was worried and that it didn't look good. He has seen cases like this before go both ways. End in miscarriage or come back and everything is perfect. So we were scheduled to come back the next week.

    Nothing could have prepared us for we were told at the next appointment. Not even being told from the beginning that things didn't look good. As I laid there getting an ultrasound we learned that our baby stopped growing at 7 weeks 1 day and there was no longer a heartbeat. At that moment my life fell apart. I had never felt pain like that. My heart was breaking and there was nothing anyone could do to stop it.

    My doctor told me he wanted to see if I could miscarry on my own and set me up to come back in a week to see if I had. That week was the worst week of my life. My husband and I both had family visiting and it was hard to put on a smile when I was dying on the inside. It made it ever harder to be around a cousin who is expecting in August who had not problem getting or staying pregnant. I wanted to punch her in the face at times and other times I wanted to scream at her to cherish the fact that she was pregnant with a healthy baby boy. A week went by and I had not miscarried so at my appt we decided to go ahead with the D&C. I wish I had done it the week before. So I had the D&C last Thursday.

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  36. #1: "I'm glad this happened. I mean - I'm sorry you suffered physically, but I'm really glad you didn't have a baby."

    #2: "You already picked _names?_ So early on? That was really stupid."

    Does either make it into the top five?

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  37. "Have you tried taking folic acid?"

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  38. My coworker laughed in my face and said, "You are feeling sooooooo sorry for yourself." Then after I came back red eyed from crying in the bathroom for my entire lunch she said, "So what now, you're going home to kill yourself?"

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  39. I've been blessed to be surrounded by people who have been sensitive to my family's grief and have offered very few wrong remarks. The top 2 well-meant but truly thoughtless remarks to me have been, 'You look wonderfully slim!' (Um, yea.) And, 'You look great! What have you been doing? Are you dieting again?' (Giving birth 21 weeks early. Fastest way I could think of to a flatter stomach.) Fortunately I was so stunned both times that I didn't say something awful back.

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  40. On a good note, my midwife said one of the best things to me and suprisingly it was along the lines of #1, but here is basically what she said "I am so sorry you know this pain too I wish I could take the heaviness from your heart. Please don't let this make you doubt your body, it doesn't make it any better and it's not fair at all but a loss this early is often a sign that your body is working perfectly and ending a pregnancy that wouldn't work and that doesn't make this any better but you should know there was nothing you did or didn't do, and even if it feels that way your body did not fail your baby and it does not mean that this will happen to you again. I so sorry you're going through this."

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  41. My MIL told me that obviously we should not have children and that I should be on b/c and my DH should get a vasectomy. We did not speak for 2 years. The first time we spoke after that was when we told her we were pregnant. She has never brought it up again and cherishes her only grand-daughter but I will never forget that we "should not be parents".

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  42. "Do not question God. He has a a plan."
    "Rejoice that you already have a child. Some people never get that."
    "You're only 23. You can get pregnant again."
    "Oh? Were you drinking coffee?"
    "Your baby is in heaven with Jesus. Jesus needed your baby more than you."
    "Something was probably wrong with it, anyway. It's for the best".

    As a staunch Atheist, and one is open about it, the religious ones make me extremely angry. They know I don't have religious faith. My baby is not in heaven. My baby is in the bottom of a trashcan rotting, ripped from my womb like an abortion.

    Forgive me for being harsh. I miscarried two days ago and devastation and grief does not begin to describe my sadness and feelings of emptiness.

    My hearts go out to anyone experiencing pregnancy loss. I feel your pain.

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  43. Last fall the office assistant in our academic department saw me and, intending to compliment me, said, "You're just looking skinnier and skinnier every time I see you!"

    "That's very interesting," I replied, "because I'm actually expecting! And no, I'm not getting any skinnier."

    In December I lost my baby at 19 weeks' gestation. I'm 41 and totally heartbroken, and my husband (who didn't want another baby to begin with) is dead-set against trying again, which just makes the loss a hundred times harder. I grieve for my little girl, and I grieve for all the future babies I will never have.

    In January, the same office assistant saw me after coming back from winter break, and she said, "You're just looking skinnier and skinnier every time I see you!" Yep, exactly the same line. Did she forget I was pregnant, or what?

    I said, "Yeah, well, I lost the baby."

    She goes, "Oh, well, it's better for your body." As if being skinny were the only thing I could possibly care about!

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    1. My heart aches for you. When I returned to my OB/Gyn's office for a followup after losing twins at 16 weeks, the nurse weighed me, recorded the results in my chart, and exclaimed, "Wow--you've lost weight! What's your secret?"

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  44. I've had two miscarriages both in the 15th week and here are two of the worst comments I've heard:
    After my first loss I had an annual medical checkup with a new primary care physician ( a woman). When she asked me if there were any medical issues I wanted to talk about, I started crying and told her that I had just had a miscarriage. She rolled her eyes and said: "There was something wrong with the baby!" First of all, my baby was tested and there was nothing genetically wrong with him or her. My losses seem to be due to a blood clotting issue that damages the placenta which kills the baby. And even if there was something wrong with my baby, how was that supposed to make me feel better? Needless to say, that was my first and last visit with that doctor.
    Another hurtful thing I heard was from a coworker three months after my second miscarriage. Out of the blue in the break room she said: " I know what you've just been through and I wanted to tell you to hang in there because my friend had 12 miscarriages and then had children". People who've never been through this don't realize how emotionally painful this experience is. Right now I am terrified to get pregnant again because another baby may die and the last thing I need someone to remind me of is that I may go through that 12 times before having a living baby. Second, one baby does not replace another and even if I end up having a child that is alive, I will never forget the ones I've lost. I know women who have 3 kids and still mourn the death of a fourth one, so don't assume that having a child will make me forget. Finally, I don't need for someone to tell me to hang in there, because that is all I've been trying to do in the last two years since my first miscarriage. My co-worker's comment was so unexpected and hurtful that I could not react and just went back to my office and cried for hours.
    The funny thing is that the only people who've asked me how I feel were: the doctors and nurses (which, although scripted, was nice), my mother and another woman from my job who herself has lost a little girl at 36 weeks.
    So people out there, who have never had fertility issues, better say nothing at all than say something dumb! Thanks!

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  45. When the second of my dead twins was born, I drew in my breath sharply. The nurse said, "You're not going to start crying, are you? You've been such a good girl until now!" I didn't cry. In fact, I didn't cry the next day, either, or the next, or the next. That was 1974. I cried for my twins in 2004, after learning by phone that one of my daughters had been hospitalized with premature labor.

    Thanks to modern medicine, she carried him nearly to term, and after weeks in the NICU he was (and remains) fine. But nearly 10 years ago, when I sat by her hospital bed comforting and encouraging my daughter, half my mind was serving up flashbacks. I silently dealt with them as they arrived, using every cognitive behavioral technique I had ever been taught or employed. Since they were triggered by examples of the superb care she was receiving, the overall effect was good... though exhausting.

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