It's been more than 12 years since I had my first miscarriage. There was another one after that. I'll never forget going into the doctor's office with all the hope and excitement in the world, only to have the doctor's wand circle my stomach looking for a heartbeat and finding none.
It's still something that makes me ache sometimes. I think of the life that began growing inside my body that never made it into my arms. The pain has dulled over the years as I've had two healthy children since, but it has hit me hard at various times since they happened, especially when people say the wrong things. Most people mean well, but sometimes their words sting. Here are eight things no one should say to a woman who has had a miscarriage.
1. "It wasn't meant to be."
Then why did I get pregnant in the first place? Why was it meant to be that I endure this pain?
2. "At least it happened really early."
I don't care how far along you are in a pregnancy; once you get the positive test result, you start planning, dreaming, and loving that little being growing inside you.
3. "Did you eat lunch meat/smoke/drink/go horseback riding/exercise too much?"
Please. My doctor and I will try and figure out what happened, but in most cases, nothing a woman did causes a miscarriage.
4. "Once you get pregnant again, you'll feel better."
Maybe, but it doesn't mean the loss of this pregnancy won't be something I mourn.
5. "Next time you should try ..."
Anything that implies there was something I could have done or not done to make this happen just induces feelings of guilt.
6. "It was probably for the best."
Yes, some miscarriages are due to chromosomal abnormalities, but pointing that out isn't helpful. There's no "best" in this situation.
7. "At least you know you can get pregnant."
Yes, but I also know that my body can lose a pregnancy. It's not that easy to just move onto the next one.
Avoiding the subject or not acknowledging that a miscarriage happened can be as painful as hurtful words. A simple, "I'm sorry, let me know if you would like to talk" goes a long way.
Have you had a miscarriage? If so, what hurtful things have people said to you?
Image via Emilian Robert Vicol/Flickr