Friends and Miscarriage

April 27, 2009

A friend stopped by my office to give me a hug. She had told me she was pregnant several weeks back and unable to contain my joy, I shared too. She was on the bcc list to whom I broke my news of miscarriage. She stopped by to say hi. She gave me a hug and told me she prayed for me. Then she proceeded to talk about law school graduation and how much her exams are bothering her and how her graduation dinner planning is driving her bonkers. Then with a hug, she was out. She didn’t do anything wrong. She said the right things and its good to not join me in my plummet to the bottom of the earth, but, I don’t know why, I felt angry. Emotions, its me, Kate. I’d like for you to make some fucking sense to me again because I’m sick of this. I’m not that person. I’m not forever bitter and unhappy with the world. What has this miscarriage done to me?

Some friends treat me like I’ve developed the plague and if they venture too close they might catch this mysterious miscarriage thingie. One went so far as to say she was scared to come over and see me. I guess the problem is that because I did not lose a child recognized by any legal institution, and because in their minds it happened for a fucking good reason or some other bullshit, they don’t feel my pain. They just don’t understand. I can’t say I would behave differently. I cannot know for sure.

Instead of This happened for a reason say, I’m sorry to hear.

Instead of It’ll get better, say, I’ve been thinking of you.

Instead of You can always get pregnant again, say Is there anything I can do for you?

Pretty much, as a rule of thumb, consider what you would say to someone who God Forbid lost a living breathing child of five years of age. You would not tell them the child got hit by a truck for a reason. You would not tell a grieving parent It will get better. You would not tell a mother as she lays her child to rest You can always get pregnant again.

BUT this is different- you might argue. This was not a child, just a fetus. Yes- but grief is grief and grief is raw and real and the emotions I feel while I will never claim to be as intense as my example above, are still real and painful and powerful, so please… just please.


  1. I understand completely. People just don’t know what to say, but they don’t take the time to stop and think before they say it.
    I went over to a friend’s house who had cats, and she knew I did as well. She asked me how our cats were doing instead of how we were doing, knowing that we had just miscarried. I expected to not be asked how we were doing; I just didn’t expect THAT…
    I’m so sorry that you’re going through all of this; just know that you are not alone, and I’m rooting for you.

  2. You would be surprised what people say even when it’s the death of a loved one – even in cases when it’s a grown child, spouse, parent, whatever… People just don’t know better. They don’t think. They’re trying to comfort you but until they’ve been in your shoes, (and everyone will experience death eventually), they can’t understand why their words sting.

    Try not to hold it against them. They’re ignorant but good intentioned.

  3. Its so difficult to go through this process- thank you for your kind words and for sharing your own personal story. It is weird how people don’t often know how to react to it and so behave as they do. It’s what I try to remind myself so I have compassion for otherwise insensitive actions or statements, they don’t know better. IF they did, they would do better. At least I have to hope this. I hope that you are coping with your miscarriage as best as you can.

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