Miscarriage is one of the most life changing things we can ever go through. Some time ago, I posted about our experiences in the hope that it would help other parents who are grieving the loss of a baby they never met. Since then, I’ve been able to think back on those awful days and how I got through them. There were many kinds words and thoughts that were sent to us, not to mention a serious amount of prayer.
Unfortunately there were also a lot of well-intentioned but totally inappropriate comments that were made. Sometimes I think people just don’t know what to say and so they do their best, but very often make the situation worse. I do not believe that anyone would set out to upset a grieving parent, but that is what so often happens. Maybe you have never experienced a miscarriage and so you really feel uncertain about what is appropriate. Here’s a list of things you should never say to a parent who has suffered a miscarriage. Some of these were said to us, and some I’ve heard from other parents who have gone through the same experience.
What NOT to Say.
- It wasn’t meant to be.
- It’s better than something going wrong after it’s born.
- Your body just wasn’t ready.
- It’s very common.
- It runs in the family.
- You can always try again.
- At least you’ve got the other children.
- It’s best not to dwell on it.
- Romans 8 v 28.
- It’s natures way of saying you weren’t ready.
You might think that some of these are kind words. But I assure you, they are not. I’m finding it hard to explain why.
Think of it this way. If you say any of these phrases, you might intend to sound supportive. But what that grieving parent is hearing is this
It’s better off that your child is dead
You don’t mean to say that at all, I know you don’t, but that is what your words have translated into in the mind of that brokenhearted mummy or daddy. This is hard to write and I know you found that hard to read. If you have any shred of humanity inside you, then you winced as you read that line. There are tears in my eyes right now as I type. But you have to hear this.
A grieving parent does not want to hear that ‘all things work together for good’, they have no desire to know that YOU think they should be cheered up by their other children. Your opinion does not make anything feel better and your best intentions are not going fix anything.
I sincerely hope I don’t sound harsh, I am honestly writing from the depths of experience, I know what I’m talking about. Please read this post in the spirit of compassion with which it is written.
You might be thinking, well what CAN I say to someone who is suffering? Here’s a few suggestions
- I’m praying for you.
- Is there anything I can do for you?
- Do you need help with your other children?
- Would you like me to keep you company for a while or would you prefer to be alone?
- Psalm 34 v 18 “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart”.
Generally speaking, it is better for you to listen a lot, and speak very little when talking to a parent who has suffered a miscarriage. If they want your advice or opinion they will ask for it.
Hopefully this will be of some help to you. Thanks for reading.