A couple of week ago, my friend shared some great news with me. She was pregnant. While I squealed in excitement with her, I realised I didn’t even know she was trying.
So I was even more surprised to learn that my friend and her partner had been trying a long time; that this was her 3rd pregnancy. And that the other two had resulted in miscarriages.
My friend explained how weird the situation had been for her. Doctors say you shouldn’t tell people you are pregnant until you reach three months, in case you miscarry. (Miscarriage is most likely to occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy) And then when you do miscarry…what are you supposed to say? I was pregnant but not anymore?
I could clearly tell that talking about the miscarriages were hard for my friend. That they had impacted her so much that she felt like she couldn’t fall in love with her 3rd pregnancy just in case (she had also spent the last four months with her head in a bucket – morning sickness).
But what she next told me made me furious. Some of the very few people she did tell about her miscarriages were quite insensitive. Giving her pep talks about how it wasn’t that bad as she wasn’t “too pregnant” or that “at least she could get pregnant” when all she wanted to do was mourn. Or saying they were glad they didn’t give her their baby’s hand-me-downs yet…because clearly she wouldn’t need them anymore.
After I calmed down I realised that being told your friend/family member/colleague has suffered a miscarriage can be quiet shocking. And you can totally put your foot in it.
So with the help of my friend and some research on miscarriage on-line support forums, here are five things you shouldn’t say to someone who has shared with you that they have had a miscarriage:
1. “Oh, I am so glad I didn’t give you my baby hand-me-downs/pregnancy book/second-hand pram.”
While it might be far easier to carry on the conversation talking about you, this is apparently not the time to make it about you. Don’t mention that of all the days, today was the day you remembered to bring the baby books. Or don’t ask for your baby hand-me-downs back. Don’t talk about any of this. And if she brings it up “Oh, I should give you your baby books back?” the best thing is to tell her to not worry about it at the moment.
2. “Don’t worry, it was just the size of a pea anyway.”
Deciding to get pregnant is a huge thing. You analyse your life to see whether it is a good time (do you have enough money, do you have enough stability, are you ready to put your career on hold, do you need to increase your health care, are all your vitamins at a good level). Then you have to have sex with the intention of getting pregnant (when you have just spent the whole of your sexual history trying NOT to get pregnant). Then every 28 days you anxiously wait for your period not to come. Add to this all the pressure on you from friends and family.