Miscarriage and grief

10 things you don't say to a person with a miscarriage.

The process of grief is extremely complicated. You may find yourself going back and forth between stages of Denial, Depression, Anger, Bargaining and Acceptance. This may take months, or at times, years. Complex grief is when your loss triggers unresolved childhood trauma and reflects old patterns of rejection and loneliness that you may have experienced throughout life, resulting in prolonged suffering and a sense of worthlessness.

Miscarriage is an inconspicuous type of grief.

10 things you don’t say to a person with an experience of miscarriage:

1- you need to be grateful for the things you already have:

It is a no brainer that people are “logically” aware of what is going well for them in their lives, but grief doesn’t allow them to truly sit in the space of appreciation and somatically experience happiness.

2- you’re lucky you already have other child(ren):

This encourages shame and guilt, as they feel inadequate for not being able to feel lucky in these difficult times. They will choose to ignore their grief due to the shame and a sense of inadequacy, which will result in a build-up of unprocessed emotions. This manifests itself as anxiety or depression later in life. Please try to understand ! Regardless of the number of children you’ve already given birth to, it’s perfectly normal to grieve over losing a pregnancy.

3- you shouldn’t have forced this pregnancy.

The last thing a grieving person needs to hear is that their loss is their own fault. This results in self-deprecation and self-blame, and in a context of a complex grief, may provoke suicidality or self-harming behaviours.

4- you shouldn’t have announced your pregnancy news so early.

Judgemental and blaming. This minimises the genuine happiness that the person felt at the time of announcing their pregnancy, promoting a sense of worthlessness, naivety, and self-deprecation in a grieving individual.

5- Was this an IVF induced pregnancy?

Absolutely irrelevant and puts the pressure on a grieving individual to justify and explain her personal choices around the means they used to achieve a much-wanted pregnancy. This line of questioning is extremely blaming and judgemental, not to mention personal.

6- Consider health insurance for your next pregnancy.

This insinuates that a bit more money could have saved their pregnancy, leading to self-deprecation and a sense of guilt and worthlessness.

7- it was just a growing cell and not an actual baby.

Please recognise that it wasn’t just a cell to it’s parent! This statement implies that you don’t care about their suffering and being in the presence of their pain makes you feel uncomfortable. Hence you feel the urge to minimise their pain in response to your own arousal. 

8- move on. You can snap out of it if you really want to!

This implies that they are being dramatic and that their feelings don’t matter! it implies that they have bored and frustrated you with their pain and that they are a burden on you! it creates a sense of shame and rejection.

9- Think of all those people who can’t even have children:

Reality is that no one is ever capable of finding true peace in another person’s suffering. This can make someone going through the grief process feel self-centred or inadequate. Secondary emotions of shame and guilt will most likely follow.

10- You can try again!

This minimises the pain and dismisses the complexity of the grief process. Just because a person can try again doesn’t speed up their grief process.

Grieving over losing a loved one, in this case an unborn child, can be extremely burdening. People commonly use self-deprecation when dealing with this type of loss. “I should have tried when I was younger”, “I shouldn’t have gone out drinking that weekend”, “I shouldn’t have picked up that box from the ground”. The messages they receive from their environment will only amplify and confirm their sense of self-blame.  

When faced with the pain of miscarriage, practice kindness and empathy instead. Recognise your own physiological responses to someone else’s suffering. Identify the agitation, the fear, or the sadness that you experience in response to someone else’s pain and recognise if your own personal trauma is being triggered. Awareness of the origins of your own physiological responses will increase your window of tolerance for big emotions, which in return, increases your capacity to hold an empathic space for another person. Practice being a good listener through active, reflective listening. “It must be so hard going through these difficult times right now. I’m here if you need a shoulder to cry on”, is probably all you will ever need to say to a grieving person.

Author: Nasim Yazdani

Arts and Parts

The Guest House by Rumi – This being human is a guest house.Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness,some momentary awareness