While friends and family will most likely try to offer some words of comfort, a new survey of mums who have been through the experience has revealed that some of the reactions can actually be insensitive thanks to the stigma and lack of understanding surrounding the topic.
The survey, carried by ChannelMum to mark Baby Loss Awareness week, found that three quarters of women who have suffered a miscarriage have been left devastated by insensitive comments from their friends.
Two thirds of the 1,821 women polled said the most distressing aspect was that their baby wasn’t treated ‘like a real child’ when they broke the news.
Three quarters were also repeatedly told ‘it’s nature’s way’ while seven in 10 admitted friends also said ‘don’t worry, you can try again soon’.
Additionally, the poll found that 29 per cent of women have been told that it’s not so bad – because they already have another child.
Others were asked what they did to cause the miscarriage while one in five had friends tell them that at least it meant they knew they could fall pregnant.
Worryingly, almost half of the women polled wanted to talk to others about their miscarriage but didn’t feel able to, with 39 per cent feeling that baby loss is the final taboo in society.
Instead, 59 per cent of women attempted to struggle through the heartbreaking experience without any form of support while just 13 per cent had formal counselling.
As a result, 37 per cent went on to suffer mental health issues or depression following their baby loss, while a shocking one in ten even had suicidal thoughts.
Three in ten avoided visiting friends with new babies while almost two thirds found themselves upset at seeing pregnant strangers.
The study also revealed that the most common way to get over losing an unborn baby is to try for another child immediately.
Three in 10 couples did this, even though it goes against medical advice to wait three months.
A further 27 per cent waited the recommended three months before trying to fall pregnant again.
A fifth went on to name their lost child and 10 per cent held a celebration of their child such as releasing balloons.
Siobhan Freegard, founder of ChannelMum.com, said: “The majority of women suffer at least one miscarriage and many have several, so why is it still so hard to talk about openly?
“We talk about ‘losing a child’ but the parents will always keep the pain of that loss with them – and many need to talk about it to help heal.
“It’s worth remembering words are powerful so choose yours carefully. The wrong phrase, particularly one which belittles the loss or apportions blame – can be devastating.
“But a few well-chosen and thoughtful words can set a mum on the road to recovery.”
There’s no doubt that when somebody close to you experiences baby loss, it can be difficult to know what to say and often words chosen to attempt to comfort can have the opposite effect.
With that in mind ChannelMum have crowdsourced some of the things you should never say to someone who is grieving after a miscarriage and what to say instead.
What you should never say to someone who’s experienced a miscarriage
- It’s nature’s way
- Don’t worry. You can try again soon
- It means there was something wrong with your baby
- It wasn’t a “proper baby”
- Everything happens for a reason
- It wasn’t your time
- It’s the best thing given the situation
- You’ll be fine!
- Get over it
- In my day we just treated it like a heavy period and got on with it
- At least you know you can get pregnant
- What did you do to make it happen?
What you can say to a someone who’s experienced a miscarriage
- Your baby will always be with you in your heart.
- Even though it was early it was still your baby
- It wasn’t your fault
- It’s s**t. It will be s**t for a long time but at some point, it won’t be quite as s***.
- I’m here if you want to talk about it
- I’m sorry for your loss
- It WAS a baby and it was loved
- Be kind to yourself
- It’s OK to cry
- It’s OK to be angry
- It’s OK to be sad
- I love you
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