5 Things to Stop Saying to Someone Who Had Had Pregnancy of Infant Loss.
5 Things to Stop Saying to Someone Who Have Had Pregnancy or Infant Loss
Let’s face it, most people don’t know what to say to the mother who has experienced pregnancy or infant loss. Most of them say the wrong thing, thinking it’s right while making matters worse. It's not anyone’s fault that they don’t know what to say to the grieving mother because honestly, nobody talks about pregnancy or infant loss, openly. The subject is so taboo that it is almost frowned upon for someone to speak up about it.
I can remember when I had my miscarriage, it was almost like people wanted me to be quiet about it and keep it to myself. My grandfather had passed away right after my miscarriage and my child wasn’t included on the obituary because well that baby didn’t survive so lets’ just not include him or her. It hurt me to my core but I just agreed to my baby not being in the obituary because I didn’t want any confusion. We all know that death can cause the greatest divide between a family. So I sat and I continued to just suffer in silence. People would tell me to just get over it and have another baby as if that would bring my precious Jeremiah/Journey back. I was even told that maybe I should have been married before trying to have a baby anyway. Now that is another blog in itself because that sent me over the edge but I thank God for Jesus EVERYDAY. The effects of the things that were said to me made me even more determined to walk in my purpose but I must admit, I was angry to say the least. Here I am, grieving the loss of my child and these are the things that were said to me. This is why I am such a huge advocate for counseling in the black community because had it not been for my therapist, I surely would have self destructed.
Insensitive comments can be taken by the grieving mother in several different ways. For one, although a physical baby may not be present, you still go through the same emotional roller coaster as if the child were still there. Believe it or not, you can still experience postpartum depression as well as be more vulnerable than usual. To the grieving mother, because this subject is so hidden, I would like to assure you that most insensitive comments come from a place of ignorance because sometimes people just don’t know what to say. To the people who don’t know what to say, I’ve composed a list of things to just STOP saying to the grieving mother.
1. “Just get over it”
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but it just does not happen like that. Some women have short grieving periods after pregnancy or infant loss but others can grieve for years. That statement is also a really insensitive way of saying that a grieving mother’s feelings does not matter and it can create a lot of unwanted tension. I’ve seen people try to put time limits on how long a person should grieve and that’s basically what that statement means in a nutshell. Do not impose your time limits on another person’s grief. Stop saying that.
2. “At least you can get pregnant”
It may seem like you’re trying to be positive with that statement but it can actually do more harm than help the situation. There are so many women who struggle with getting pregnant but no woman wants her pregnancy to end in miscarriage. Women who have experienced pregnancy loss are well aware that they can get pregnant but can they stay pregnant is what’s running through their minds. Statistics show that multiple miscarriages are common amongst women who have had one and at that moment, we don’t want to even imagine going through that traumatic experience again. Stop saying that.
3. “I’ve never had a miscarriage but I know how you feel”
NO YOU DON’T. It’s very easy to try to imagine what someone else is going through but the fact of the matter is if you haven’t walked in those shoes, you don’t know what it feels like. You don’t know how it feels to feel like your body has failed you. You don’t know what it's like to think that there was something you could have done to prevent this from happening. You don’t know so stop trying to walk a day in our shoes. I swear you’ll try to trade them in for a pair of red bottoms after about 10 steps. Stop saying that.
4. “Maybe you should/shouldn’t have done XYZ”
The #1 feeling that I see most women dealing with after pregnancy or infant loss is GUILT. Do you really think that after a traumatic experience, such as pregnancy or infant loss, a grieving mother wants to hear what she should or should not have done? Talk about adding insult to injury. She’s already dealing with enough. Stop saying that.
5. “You’ll have another baby”
This may be true but having another baby will not bring back the one that was lost. It can seem like you’re giving the grieving mother inspiration and hope but at that moment, that’s not what we hear. It sounds like you’re trying to dismiss the loss and replace it with another child. A mother will always remember the child that was lost whether she has another child or not. Children there after will not be a replacement but in fact they will be the rainbow children. Stop saying that.
I know that talking about pregnancy and infant loss can be a hard conversation to have. Just because there is not a physical child to consummate the mother, she must still go through the motions. Her hormones do not know that she miscarried or had infant loss. Be more aware of your words and actions towards the grieving mother. If you cannot show genuine empathy, just be a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. Don’t try to put yourself in her shoes. What you should say to someone who has had a miscarriage or infant loss is, “I’m sorry for your loss and I’m here if you need me, even if it’s just to talk.”
Dr. Kameika Hinson
Facebook. DrKameika Hinson
Instagram: @futuredrkam and @jj2healingministries