Posted in Parenting and Random Shit

What NOT to Say

I was pregnant with Number 2 and, during an ultrasound, was stunned to be told that I was carrying twins!  A day later,  I was told it as identical twins.  Over the next couple of weeks, I went from surprise to absolute excitement.  I was picking out names, planning out different nurseries in my head, trying to figure out how to afford two of everything and picturing our lives with twins.   Then, at the beginning of the second trimester, it was discovered that one of the twins no longer had a heartbeat.  For a few days, I convinced myself that it was a mistake and that I would go back to the doctor and they would see the heartbeat and admit they were wrong.  Needless to say, that didn’t happen.  I had lost one of my babies.  I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me.  Unfortunately, well-meaning friends and family only made it worse with their attempts to be comforting.  Today, I am fine.  Honestly, the only time I am reminded of that time is when friends and loved ones reveal or discuss their own loss(es).  This has all inspired me to try to get the word out of things NOT to say to a woman who has experienced miscarriage(s).

  • When I lost one of my twins, one of the things people would say to me was, “At least you still have one”.  Let me explain to you why this is just a shitty thing to say:  Most mothers carrying multiples don’t view the babies they are carrying as “spare tires” or expendable.  A loss is a loss.
  • “It is just God/nature’s way of letting you know that something was wrong.”-  Wrong with her or wrong with the baby?  That is the unanswered question that will plague her.  Which answer would comfort her more?
  • “At least you know that you can get pregnant!”- Well, what a frickin’ relief.  I would bet dollars to donuts that she is more upset about the fact that she didn’t STAY pregnant, though.  Think.
  • You can try again and have another.”- She wanted the baby she lost.  Don’t talk about her child like it is a household item that can simply be replaced.
  • At least you know you have an angel in heaven.”-I promise you, she would rather be holding her angel in her arms.

    How would this sympathy card be considered comforting?

If you are faced with a loved one that is struggling with a loss, just shut your mouth and listen.  Hug her.  If she wants to cry, let her cry.  “If you want to say something:

  • “I’m here for you.”- So simple but it means so much.
  • I know how much you wanted this baby.”– Acknowledging that her loss is meaningful and her grief is valid will go a long way.
  • “I don’t know what to say.”– This is the best thing to say when you don’t know what to say.  Don’t try to make her feel better with any of the above sentiments.  Admitting your at a loss for words is okay.  Just let her know that you are willing to listen to her.
  • How are you doing?”- If you don’t know, just ask.  Let her tell you where she is emotionally.

When I lost Number 2’s twin, I cut myself off from everyone but my mother for a couple of weeks.  It wasn’t because I remained so consumed with grief that I could no longer interact socially.  It was because I couldn’t take one more person trying to offer me “comfort” in their attempts to be profound.   I have friends and relatives that have experienced loss, even multiple losses resulting from diagnosed infertility.  It turns out, I am not just some asshole who gets pissed or annoyed at people trying to make me feel better.  No.  It turns out, being well-intentioned doesn’t negate being insensitive for most other women mourning the loss of a child either.

Just some food for thought, for anyone that wants to actually be a positive presence for a woman/couple grieving the loss of a pregnancy.

For those that have experienced a loss, what are some of the most jaw dropping comments that were said to you?


I am a stay at home mother with 4 children. I drink a lot of wine and curse like a sailor.

14 thoughts on “What NOT to Say

  1. The nurse at the hospital said to me the next one will be a boy, God wants you to have a boy. First I don’t know how she knew if the baby I lost was a boy or a girl. Second I don’t know how God told this person who does not even know my name he wanted me to have a boy. Third who told her I wanted a boy, I just wanted my baby. Boy or Girl!!! and FYI you dumb B*&$h my next one was a girl so did God really want me to have a boy or just a healthy baby!!!


  2. Those are great. I had two miscarriages myself and heard them all. It’s tough because you know people are just trying to help, but it just makes it worse when they say the wrong thing. Sometimes a hug and a dozen Krispey Kreme’s is just better.


  3. Sorry for your loss 😦 I know your pain, I’ve mis carried a couple of times. It is a sticky situation, what do you say, how do you say it? There are really no words, maybe it’s just better to not say anything, and to just be there for the person;)


  4. I had a friend come over who didn’t know what to say. She just sat next to me, held my hand in hers, and cried with me. That meant more to me than anything she could have said.


  5. after my first boy was a stillbirth, and his twin brother was in the NICU, my ‘step mother-in-law’ asked me to name him, because that somehow ‘guaranteed’ that he’d live. after i refused to do so, she said i lacked faith. my second son died the next day. also, she kept coming into my room and telling me ‘my so and so sister/brother/uncle/God knows who told me to make you green tea/sweetmeat/glass of hot milk. do you want some??’ It sucks.


  6. “Maybe you just weren’t ready.” I mean, WTF?! My husband demonstrated his grief with anger and I couldn’t drag my ass out of bed. An insensitive asshole of a neighbor (a 22 year old twit with 5 children and living with her Mother!) brought a casserole and this idiotic comment.


  7. I wish I had read this post a few months earlier… I had a friend in a similar situation (she actually had to give birth, knowing her baby was dead), and didn’t know what to say; I believe I may have erred on the “sooooo… are you going to try again?” side.


  8. It’s strange how people think that having lost an unborn child is different from losing a “real” person. Who would offer his condolences on your father’s death by saying “Oh well, at least you still have your mother.” or “Maybe your mom will get married again and then you will have a nice stepdad.” Yay!


  9. My personal favorite is “everything happens for a reason” followed by “it is God’s will”, tied for third is “he is in a better place now” or ” at least you have his brother”.


  10. When I was 19 I had an unplanned pregnancy. I decided to keep the baby and went through all the pain of telling my parents, etc. The father was not in the picture. At 4 months I miscarried, and everyone (except my family, God bless them) kept gushing on and on about how “relieved” I must be. I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a tiny kernel of relief but mostly there was just crushing, overwhelming emotional pain. But there was a good side though – as my neighbor was sooo sweet to point out, God was warning me not to be a slut, and now I had a second chance. My husband and I had three miscarriages before our daughter came along. It never got any easier.


It puts the comment in the box.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s