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13 Stupid Things People Say After You’ve Had a Miscarriage
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I know, it can be awkward when someone tells you they’ve had a miscarriage.
You don’t know what to say and find yourself saying something totally random and then have no idea how to recover that weird comment.
We’ve had 3 miscarriages now and I’ve heard my fair share of weird.
I talk to other ladies who’ve had miscarriages too and often we’ll compare experiences and roll our eyes at some of the weird, bizarre and sometimes downright insensitive comments people make.
Anyway, while I don’t think there is any “right” or “wrong” thing to say (and I’m certainly not trying to upset or offend anyone in any way, as I know most people are trying to look for something suitable to say), I hoped that perhaps if I shared some of the weirder and / or less helpful statements myself and others have heard there might be some hope that people will try to avoid these the next time they’re speaking to someone who’s just had a miscarriage…
1. “It wasn’t meant to be”
2. “It’s just God’s way”
3. “This probably won’t happen again” (like, every Doctor I ever meet…)
4. “I hope you are well” (seriously!?)
5. “You shouldn’t have told anyone you were pregnant, because that’s what happens”
(that’s right, I forgot that if you tell someone you’re pregnant, you automatically have a miscarriage)
6. “Maybe you should have taken it easier at the gym”
(Yes, because I heard exercise has a large impact on chromosome selection *face palm*)
7. “Do you think it’s because you’ve been a bit stressed?” (NO!)
8. “At least you know you can get pregnant”
(After the first loss I didn’t mind this one so much, but now I really don’t find it helpful. I realise there are plenty of people out there who experience fertility issues and difficulties getting pregnant. Yes, that scenario sucks. Recurrent miscarriage sucks too. This isn’t a competition over which one sucks the most. Both those situations suck, and they’re not comparable, so it’s best if they’re not compared.)
9. “Do you think you will have kids?”
(Like how the f… should I know!? Oh Sorry, give me a moment while I just go consult my crystal ball…)
10. “You just make sure you look after yourself from now on”
(cheers for the reminder, I had clearly been neglecting myself prior to this…)
11. “Maybe you should take a break”
(Look, these miscarriages have nothing to do with the inner workings of my uterus. They are caused by a genetically predetermined chromosomal abnormality. P.S. I also have a Doctor who I pay a lot of money to know his shit, so to speak, about this stuff, and if he says there’s no need to take a break, there’s probably a good chance we’re not going to take a break. Taking a break Makes. NO. Difference.)
And last but not least, my absolute least favourite comment…
“At least you’re trying”
(thanks, I’m glad to be able to offer you a consolation prize… as if we would be doing a great disservice to the wider community by not even “trying” *insert eyeroll*)
If you’re reading this and thinking “shit, I’ve said one of those things…” Don’t worry about it.
I know in most cases, what most people say is intended to be helpful and comforting (at least I’d like to think that).
Sometimes it also comes down to the context in which the comment is said as to the way it is taken…
…so at the very least, I would like to share with you a couple of things actual medical professionals have said to me that I think really take the cake, so take comfort in knowing you haven’t spurted out one of these dooseys…
This first example was from my recent admission to hospital to have a D&C.
Usually when you go into hospital for any procedure, you fill out a heap of forms, then the nurses go through the forms with you, multiple times, and you get asked the same questions about your name, date of birth, allergies and what procedure you are having.
All fairly standard protocol.
Now I have been through this D&C process 3 times, so I’m fairly familiar with the procedure and prepared for the questions they ask.
Except last fortnight, when I was just not prepared for the sheer stupidity and utter lack of sensitivity of this one particular Nurse.
I had been through the admission forms with 2 other nurses already that day, so I was pretty well rehearsed with my responses.
So, when this particular nurse went through the forms with me again just before I walked into the theatre, I wasn’t really expecting this conversation to go down.
About a minute before this conversation occurred she asked me to read out and confirm the procedure I was having…
“evacuation of retained products of conception” (yeah sure, it sucks to have to say it, but whatever I guess it’s just the process)
But anyway, the kicker of the conversation was this…
Nurse: “When was your last period?”
Me: “Ummm… I don’t really know, a couple of months ago…”
Nurse: “Please can you think of the date”
Me: “… Maybe around the 5th of March?”
Nurse: “Do you think there is a chance you could be pregnant?”
Me: *stares at nurse like she’s an idiot*
Nurse: *stares back at me, looking like she actually expects a response*
Me: “What do you think!?” (I don’t think I could really hold back the attitude in my voice)
Nurse: “Well… I have to ask, just in case, because you know, you could be”
Me: “I’m here for a D&C. I don’t know what else to tell you.”
I felt like saying “How about you go tell the Nurse Manager what you just asked me?” but the passive aggressive side of me just decided to send a nicely worded piece of feedback to the hospital once I was discharged instead… (I did actually receive a very nicely worded apology letter in response, from the Director of Nursing a few days later… reassuring me that the nurse had been spoken to and that this shouldn’t happen to any patients in the future, so at least that’s something).
Now, I don’t really want to finish on a negative note, so I thought I would share with you a rather bizarre conversation I had with a Doctor.
I did think it was quite funny at the time and it actually brightened my mood so much I burst out laughing, but I know not everyone in this situation would necessarily see it in the same way.
Anyway, this was back after I’d just had just had my second D&C and was all bundled up in a hospital bed where I had been wheeled back to my room from recovery after waking up from the anaesthetic.
My blood pressure was a bit low so the nurses were trying to fill me up with coffee to get it back up so they could finally discharge me.
In-between all that, the anaesthetist came over to check on how I was doing. I said I felt fine and that the nurses had said I could go once my blood pressure was back to normal.
He then looked at me and said, “Do you have any eggs left?”
I looked back at him (feeling slightly puzzled) and replied, “I’m only 30, so I certainly hope so…”
He had a look of absolute horror on his face and I knew straight away what he meant.
He responded with “Oh I am SO SORRY. I thought you were doing IVF. Oh, my gosh, I really am sorry, and yes I am quite certain you still have many, many, MANY eggs left, so please don’t worry about that”.
I just looked at him and burst out laughing and told him not to worry about it… I think his funny comment actually kind of made my day.
So anyway, to wrap up, I know re-hashing weird and/or unhelpful comments probably isn’t helpful… but can I just offer a suggestion…
Perhaps if you’re not sure what to say when someone has had a miscarriage, just offer condolences, an “I’m sorry for your loss” will probably suffice in most instances.
If you have been in this situation before, I am sorry for your loss. If someone has said something weird, strange or just utterly bizarre to you, feel free to add your thoughts below…
Photo credit: Ammon Creative
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18 Replies to “13 Stupid Things People Say After You’ve Had a Miscarriage”
I’ve heard a lot of those comments. That nurse! WOW is all I have to say about that.
Last August my water broke at 19 weeks and I was forced to terminate because my doctor said that there was no way I could carry my son with no amniotic fluid and that infection would set in and I would miscarry. I struggle everyday with that decision.
This made me laugh because I’ve had miscarriages but I’d forgotten about all the weird things people say to you afterwards. I know they’re trying to be supportive and helpful. It just doesn’t always come out that way. I can’t believe that nurse asked you if you thought you could be pregnant! That seems like someone who is detached from her job and just going through the job script of things you’re supposed to say and do. Thanks for sharing this post. It’s great for those of who have had miscarriages to know that we’re not the only ones getting odd responses from friends and family. And for those who have loved ones going through this it’s a gentle reminder that not ecwyrhijf you say is helpful.
I loved this post. While I have never had a miscarriage, it is one of my biggest fears. I love what you said here.
I had someone call it an abortion & when I said it was a miscarriage, not an abortion, she actually told me there was no difference & I was getting old anyway & then began to quiz me as to why I hadn’t had kids earlier… safe to say, hurt, angry & devastated came into it..
Oh Anon, I’m so sorry to hear that. It is a little confronting when you see “abortion” on the hospital paperwork too… unfortunately they tend to use the terms interchangeably. I still can’t get my head around how some people think it’s reasonable to quiz people on when they’re having kids or why they don’t have them…
That’s kind of awful about the nurse…sheesh! Thanks for this post though. I definitely think people should stick to “sorry for your loss” if nothing else because it IS a loss.
Thanks, ShootingStarsMag – the crazy thing is, I’m not the only person that’s been said to! Some hospital’s really need to update their policies.
Like you, I’ve had 3 miscarriages but we were not open about two of them. I’ve been fortunate to have such wonderful support but we had many stupid comments in regards to suggestions of how to get pregnant. As someone who works in healthcare, your nurse story makes we want to shake her. Sadly, these events happen when we are vulnerable. Thanks for sharing your story. I feel the more we discuss, the better.
Goodness, yes, cringeworthy. No excuse for the nurse who should have professional training to deal w/sensitive issues but for the lay person, I would give the benefit of the doubt that they just don’t know what to say and are trying to find the right words. I’m sorry you’ve had to endure all this and for your losses. By bravely sharing, you’re helping people know how to handle these conversations better. All the best.
I’m so sorry you had to go through such a painful and then frustrating experience. I can’t imagine how I would feel going through that.
I love your honesty here. You’re so brave to share your story…but it’s true I think people just don’t know what to say so they often say stupid things. Actually I miscarried my first pregnancy but it was very early and we hadn’t barely told anyone…so not much conversation about it.
Thanks , the list is really helpful. I am sure I’ve said “at least you know that you can get pregnant” in the past. I loved the way your post finished with such an amusing story.
Thanks Anne, I think it’s one I’ve said myself too. It’s a tricky one because it’s true, but when someone says “at least you know you can get pregnant” I can’t help but think “yes, but that doesn’t mean I can have kids”. It’s not really the same thing x
Some of people’s responses are baffling and downright rude but I think most people are just sympathetic and don’t know what to say.
That nurse though, holy smokes man. “Do you think there’s a chance you may be pregnant?” WHAT!? That’s insane.
Ugh, these hurt my heart to read, truthfully. I think people truly don’t always know what to say in sensitive situations so sometimes there is a bit of foot-in-mouth that happens. That said, I’ll be honest, as someone who also struggles with infertility, I have thought the “at least you are able to get pregnant,” but it is not meant in any way to be a competition and honestly not being able to conceive and miscarrying are both painful for different reasons. I would certainly NEVER say that to someone who just lost a baby 🙁 thank you for sharing this, my sweet, always love to read your posts.
Oh my gosh! People can be so stupid/ignorant/rude. I am so sorry you have heard these things. My heart hurts for you. *Hugs*
Well after my second miscarriage the nurse said to me “maybe it’s for the best?”…
i’ve also heard comments like “maybe God is trying to teach you something out of all this?”. Like seriously, God has to kill two of my babies in order to teach me something??
Oh wow, what a terribly insensitive thing to say!? So sorry for your losses xx