Miscarriage Reality – 5 Things NOT to Say.

My husband gave me this James Avery Angel necklace as a gift. The angel represents our baby, and the length of the necklace hits just right, where it sits at my heart. I wear this on the days that I struggle.

My husband gave me this James Avery Angel necklace as a gift. The angel represents our baby, and the length of the necklace hits just right, where it sits at my heart. I wear this on the days that I struggle.

9.09.09 was the day our baby went to heaven. I was 12 weeks along and miscarried. It’s been 6 years and even though it gets a little bit easier to cope with each year, there is a never ending ache in my heart and in most women who have miscarried.

My story isn’t one where it ends with the details of the struggle and years of this or that, and then I end up having a baby. My story doesn’t end with a picture of my husband and I holding a baby that we waited so long for.

It’s a story of the reality of a woman who ended with up with no baby. We normally don’t hear about this story, but we should talk about it because I am not alone in this reality. I know that we all know someone who has dealt with, is dealing with, or may end up dealing with this journey in life.

I am not a sugar coater when it comes to things like this. I find it best to keep it real and raw because it’s not something that we should try and make better when the reality of miscarriage is that it just plain sucks.

I decided a few weeks after it happened to me that I wouldn’t question the “Why?” of it all, and I kept that commitment. I gave myself permission to let myself “feel” everything and not live in denial or go into a depression. My anger, my worry, my bitterness, my sadness, my grieving, my anger again, my emotions of being a failure as a woman, and my resentment towards women who easily had children or to the women who had children and didn’t want them, is where I allowed myself to go emotionally.  I went through all of those emotions at different periods of this journey and I sometimes still feel triggers that come up in certain situations.

This is the only gift I kept after the miscarriage. I donated the rest of the items that friends and family had given me when we found out that we were pregnant, but kept this one.

This is the only gift I kept after the miscarriage. I donated the rest of the items that friends and family had given me when we found out that we were pregnant, but kept this one simply because it felt like the right thing to do.

The classic response and question that you get from other women is, “Well there’s always adoption, or IVF, or fostering, or this or that. Will you do any of those things?” Here’s the thing … sometimes women don’t feel called or led to do any of those things and part of their story is that they will not have children in their lifetime.

I have been told, and I quote, “You’ll do anything you need to if you really want a baby.” Wrong! Sometimes that isn’t the case for women who’ve had miscarriages; sometimes their story ends with no baby cradled in their arms. It’s not always easy to know what to say or do for a woman who has miscarried and ends up with their story ending at having no children, but there are a few things that would be great NOT to say.

1. Do NOT say “Don’t worry, it’s all in Gods timing.”

I’ve been a believer for 13 years and one thing I’ve learned is that sometimes God’s timing isn’t what lines up with what WE think our life plan is, and sometimes the chapter in our stories as women isn’t where all women birth children. He has it all taken care of and our story is to go in a different direction, and that’s okay. So instead, you can say something along these lines, “No matter how this chapter in your story ends, you are amazing, beautiful, and worthy.”

2. Do NOT say “I’ll be praying that it’ll happen. You deserve a child, and you would make a great mom.”

Look, sometimes it doesn’t happen. Then what? Does that mean since it didn’t happen that she isn’t truly deserving, and that it was decided she wouldn’t be a great mom, so she didn’t get to have a child? It’d be better to say, “I’ll be praying for strength, wisdom, a renewal of your heart, and healing no matter what the outcome is for your story.”

3. Do NOT say  “I’ve heard _____ works, and so and so struggled for ____ years and they FINALLY had a baby.”

Women who have gone through this don’t want to hear about what worked for another woman, they are trying to deal with what “didn’t” work for them and how they can deal with it. As encouraging as it may seem to you, it’s actually not encouraging for the woman who is dealing with it. I assure you they will just keep smiling and say something back to you that’s kind, or they will agree with you in order to not scream at you, “I DON’T CARE, HER BODY ISN’T MINE AND I AM NOT THEM.”

4. Do NOT stare with a somber look on your face.

Hug her! Just hug her! Say, “I love you!” and then just hug her again.

5. Do NOT, and I repeat do NOT say “At least you miscarried early on.”

If a woman miscarries at 4 weeks,  8 weeks, or 10 weeks, just because they didn’t hear the heartbeat, doesn’t mean the loss and emotion isn’t as great. The physical effects vary for each women when it’s early on, but the emotional side effects are very strong. A miscarriage means the loss of a child, no matter when it occurs.

If someone close to you miscarries, a hug and a “I’m sorry.” goes a long way.  You don’t have to provide reasons or insights into why it might’ve happened. Questioning and analyzing the situation doesn’t help either, just hug her!

A quick statement to the women who are pregnant, please be sensitive to the women around you who aren’t, whether you know their story or not. It’s a slippery slope with this subject because it’s not talked about a lot. I would advise to keep the conversations of complaining about being pregnant to yourself unless speaking to another pregnant woman. The number one thing I have personally heard through conversation and support groups with other women who have the same story as myself are, “It irks me when pregnant women complain about being pregnant, when there are so many women who will never get to experience that and would love to.” Yes! We non-pregnant women know that you are going through a lot of body changes, you feel tired, you are getting bigger, your hormones are out of whack, you can’t paint your toes, etc. BUT … the outcome is a bundle of joy that a lot of women will never experience. (Just a little food for thought and something that probably wouldn’t ever be said to you face to face.)

A quick statement to the women who live in this reality of not having children. CHIN UP, BIG GIRL PANTIES ON, BREATHE, & LOVE BIG! We have been blessed, and if you look for those people in your life that you have been a “nurturer” to, you have given motherly love. You are beautiful, worthy, lovely, and strong! Do not be bitter, do not be depressed, do not be angry. Wipe your tears, mend your heart ache and keep on truckin’! Don’t forget to thrive while you survive, it’s key. Also, hug and kiss those babies that you get to be around, you have love to give, so share it! Help another mom out, volunteer in the nursery at church, be the best aunt ever, and heal.

I’ll leave you with this quote … “And to think, the first person they saw when they opened their little eyes was the face of Jesus.” – Anonymous –

Our kids have the best babysitter ever. Keep on going, keep on living and choose joy over misery.

My husband and I have an amazing life that only came from hard work, God as our core, and taking in the adventure joyfully with the "story" we've been given.

My husband and I have an amazing life that only came from hard work, God as our core, and taking in the adventure joyfully with the “story” we’ve been given.

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21 Responses to Miscarriage Reality – 5 Things NOT to Say.

  1. Katie October 9, 2014 at 5:19 am #

    Thank you for being willing to share your story. I know this is a sensitive topic that many women may not feel comfortable sharing but I know you connected with lots of others today by sharing your story!

    • Patty
      Patty October 9, 2014 at 9:35 am #

      Katie,
      Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes, I agree, it’s a very sensitive subject and hard to talk about and hard to be the person that is there for the woman going through it too.

  2. Janell October 9, 2014 at 8:39 am #

    Great article! I miscarried twice, 25-30 years ago and had a lot of these things said to me. I love the quote you have at the end – what a comfort to know that all these babies saw Jesus.

    • Patty
      Patty October 9, 2014 at 9:36 am #

      Janell,
      Thank you so much. I am so sorry that these things were to said to you too, and I love that quote also. It is a quote that I have held on to and it helps to soften my heart and give me peace. I hope it does the same for you. I am sorry for your losses as well.

  3. Maria Clark
    Maria Clark October 9, 2014 at 9:21 am #

    Totally crying. Great post, Patty.

    • Patty
      Patty October 9, 2014 at 9:37 am #

      Maria,
      Thank you so much. I cried too reading it again, but it was a good cry. My prayer is that it really connects with and helps women. Thanks again for the support.

  4. Carlos Maestas October 9, 2014 at 10:22 am #

    Well written my old friend. Your story and your perspective will certainly bless many.

    • Patty
      Patty October 9, 2014 at 10:39 am #

      Carlos,
      Thank you so much. I appreciate the kind words and support.

  5. Amy October 9, 2014 at 11:40 am #

    I lost two very early on and the best two things said to me were:

    “You will never forget them or the days you lost them” & “Its never ok to lose babies, so don’t try to make it ok”

    Thanks for your sharing your story. There is power in sharing our hurts and I appreciate you making yourself so transparent.

    • Patty
      Patty October 9, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

      Amy,
      I am so glad that you had those comments made to you, those are wonderful things to say and make a huge difference. Thank YOU for sharing, and I appreciate your kind and supportive words.

  6. Audry October 9, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

    Thanks so much for sharing. I lost a baby early on back in 2008. It took my body 8 weeks to lose him. We had a two year old at the time. It was the worst time of my life. I learned all these things the hard way, too. I have had two more since then, but I still have an aching hole in my heart for the one in heaven. I appreciate the advice, because although I know all the things to say in regards to a miscarriage, I had no idea what not to say to a woman who never had children after one. I hope I’ve never said any of those things. There are so many things we say with a well-meaning heart in our lifetimes that, unbeknownst to us, has hurt someone else. After my miscarriage I wondered how many times I might have said some of these awful things to someone – about God’s timing or something being wrong with the baby. I just sat down and prayed for anyone I may have ever hurt and apologized to a few, just in case. Thanks, again. Blessings to you.

    • Patty
      Patty October 9, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

      Audry,
      I teared up reading your response and I know that hole in your heart that aches. I am sorry for your losses, and Thank you for taking the time to pray for those that you have come into contact with. I completely agree that our intentions are well-meaning and that it’s a hard thing to even know what to say, Thank YOU for sharing too. Blessings to you too.

  7. Neicia Anderson October 10, 2014 at 7:40 pm #

    I thank you for writing this article and for sharing your experiences. I am one of these women that you describe. I am still very hurt about my tubal pregnancy that resulted in a partial hysterectomy. No one can understand the pain of losing a child without having gone through it. Furthermore, people are not very encouraging when they can’t understand. Sometimes I think it is easier to suffer in silence than try to explain it to people….so sad because I hurt too….I just don’t want to have to explain it!!

    • Patty
      Patty October 11, 2014 at 8:45 am #

      Neicia,
      I am sorry for you loss and your heartache. You are not alone. It’s a very hard thing to understand for people when they have never experienced it, I agree with you. I would encourage you to not suffer in silence, but to know that you have many women who feel and have experienced your heartache. Sending you huge hugs and then another one.

  8. Jodi October 13, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

    Hi Patty.
    Miscarriage is a very lonely loss. There is no ceremony for any type of closure after it happens. I learned to create my own. There are no pictures to frame or hold, so I wrote a letter containing all of my hopes and dreams for my babies and I keep it tucked away in my bible. Holidays are very difficult to endure regardless of how much time goes by. Driving by the soccer fields when all of the little ones are practicing is also difficult. Distraction works sometimes, but triggers still happen. Being childless when you really wanted to have a family is like being an alcoholic and being stuck in a bar. There is no way to get away from the cute babies or adorable kiddos and families. It is a daily struggle/practice, a daily decision to focus on what I have, focus on what God has placed in my life, and make that the best I make of it. Losing our babies has been the hardest thing I have ever been through. The pain I carry from that is so personal and sweet. It reminds me of who is waiting for my husband and I in heaven and that is beautiful to me. That is how I live with it.

    I am so sorry that you know this pain as well! I am happy for you that you have the sweet love of God, our great comforter, with you. It matters!

    Sincerely,
    Jodi

    • Patty
      Patty October 19, 2014 at 9:49 pm #

      Jodi,
      I have been praying about your reply and I want to say Thank you for sharing the rawest parts of your heart with me. I will be praying for you just as you are for me. I know and understand your pain and heart ache and hope that the good days are really good days and that the days that are hard and challenging are where you feel His embrace and know that you are not alone. I love your idea of writing the letters for your hopes and dreams for your little ones and keeping them in your Bible. I think I may try that. On my little ones birthday, I do a little private cupcake celebration. I buy one cupcake and one candle and sing HBD and say what my wish is for the baby and then blow out the candle. It’s a nice mini celebration. I couldn’t agree with you more, it’s a daily focus to be tuned into what Gods blessings have been and still are. Thank you for responding and also sharing.
      Patty

  9. mo January 2, 2015 at 8:14 am #

    Excellent article. I am currently blessed with a pregnancy but struggled to get pregnant and thought I was going to miscarry this baby a few times. Those struggles still are a part of me no matter where I am now. I must say it makes it difficult to know how to express my joy so that I do not indirectly hurt someone struggling with any part of fertility or infertility (oh social media). Wanting to bring life into this world is a huge emotional experience, every aspect of it. I think we just have to be aware and not place our own experience on others… and I completely agree with your statement on “It is God’s timing”.

    • Patty
      Patty January 2, 2015 at 9:49 am #

      Mo,
      Thank you so much! Congrats on the upcoming sweet bundle of joy. Thank you for sharing both sides and being so open about it too. It does make it difficult to know how to express the joy of having a child while not indirectly hurting someone that is struggling at the same time. It’s that fine line of both parties being graceful with each other, which it sounds like you do. You are completely right in all of us being “aware” and not placing our own experience on others, and again … giving grace to each other. I wrote this post for just that reason, to bring awareness to the other side, I know there are two sides to every story. I think that women who have struggled like me need to also show grace and not be bitter towards women who are having children, and women who are having children need to show grace because they never know who they are talking to and what their struggle has been. It makes for some healthy conversation and awareness. Thank you and blessings on your new journey as a momma.

  10. Rebecca Ichord January 2, 2015 at 7:44 pm #

    I have had three early miscarriages, and we are not yet raising any children. I do believe my husband and I will have more children. The hardest part of the process for me is that very few people acknowledge that I do have babies, even if they are in Heaven. It hurts to have to explain to those who should be giving me support, not questioning my mental state for loving children who were never born on Earth. Only a few people I know seem to understand. I’m thankful for them. I can’t wait for them to meet my babies in Heaven. Many forgot or flat out ignored my babies in Heaven, but they are Gabriel Aaron, Michael Gideon, and Peggyanna Elizabeth.

  11. Brettin October 4, 2017 at 5:00 pm #

    Although I have never had a miscarriage, I am a childless woman who thought I would be a mother by now, and I also have people say similar things to me about God’s timing and so on – I agree, it isn’t helpful. I haven’t known the pain that women in your situation have known, but I have many women in my family and close friends who have and who have been open enough to share about it. Posts like this help people like me know how to respond, and we appreciate it greatly.

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