When someone you care about tells you they’ve had a miscarriage, it’s a crushing moment, and it can be extremely difficult to find the right words.
There’s a fear of saying the wrong thing, but the silence is also deafening. Those who’ve been through miscarriage want you to know there are plenty of right things you can say. There are also throwaway lines they’d prefer not to hear.
While it’s not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, it’s helpful to have a guide from those who have been through it.
Don’t say …
The Miscarriage Association has started a campaign called ‘Simply say’, which calls on those who have been through miscarriage to reveal the words that comforted them through their miscarriages.
The organisation is encouraging people to share helpful and hurtful words on social media, using the hashtags #simplysay #say or #dontsay.
What NOT to say to someone who has had a miscarriage:
“At least you know you can get pregnant.”
“You can try again.”
“What do you think is wrong with you?”
“You’ll have better luck next time.”
“At least you have your other children.”
“It wasn’t meant to be.”
“At least you miscarried early.”
“You probably wouldn’t have wanted it to live, there would have been something wrong with it.”
“Take it as a sign to stop trying.”
“That’s why you shouldn’t tell anyone before 12 weeks.”
“Better now than later.”
“It’s nature’s way.”
“You’re young, you have plenty of time to have more babies.”
Do say …
While it might seem like silence is better than saying the wrong thing, the association says this can make the person confiding in you feel lonely. Just choose your words carefully, and if you can’t think of anything, simply say ‘I’m sorry’.
What TO say to someone who has had a miscarriage:
“I’ve been thinking about you.”
“Whatever you need, I’m here for you.”
“One day you’ll be an amazing mum.”
“Is there anything I can do for you?”
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“Every emotion you’re feeling is valid.”
“It’s ok to grieve.”
“It’s not your fault.”
If you need support after a miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn death, head to Sands Australia.