Like death or any hard topic, it may be difficult to talk with someone who is going through a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infertility. We tend to go blank when we can’t ‘fix’ a problem. Here are some ways to be helpful and not so helpful during this painful grief and loss for someone.
What would be helpful to say or do:
- Say, “I’ve been praying or thinking about you.”
- “You’re not alone.”
- “I’m here.”
- “Here is my favorite meal.” Make sure it is in a dish or foil pan so they will not have to keep up with washing/returning the dish/bowl.
What would NOT be helpful to say or do:
- “There’s always adoption”.
- “You still have time”.
- “You’re still young”.
- “It will happen”.
- “You can always try again.” Or “Are you going to try for another?”
- “You’d be such a good mom/dad”.
- “Let’s pass all of our estrogen and eggs to ________.”
- One up the person’s grief story.
- “I remember when we couldn’t get pregnant and they couldn’t figure it out. It would have been better for them to have said we were infertile.” (All the while they have children or even if they do not, see #8).
- “I was reading about women’s eggs greatly reducing at 40.”
- “Everything happens for a reason.”
- “If it’s meant to be.”
- “At least you have 1. Be grateful for that!”
Believe it or not, I heard every one of these phrases, and occasionally, still do. Before spending time with someone who has lost a baby, had a miscarriage, is going through IVF, or is struggling with infertility, become educated. Ask yourself, “Is what I’m about to say helpful and sensitive to the other person?” This is an issue that cannot be ‘fixed’ or ‘changed.’If you would like to discover ways to talk to a family member or friend about their grief and loss around infertility, miscarriage, or stillbirth, reach out for help. Having an experienced professional help bring direction to your emotions as you express to your friend or family member that you are with them through this part of their journey would empower you to strengthen your bond with them. Also, processing through your own guilt, grief, and shame will help you to become stronger more well balanced individual.