Practically everyone who has ever had a miscarriage has heard numerous insensitive, thoughtless comments from friends, coworkers, and relatives. It can be frustrating to be constantly hearing things like, "It was for the best," or "The baby would have been deformed anyway."
Most of the time, people who say things like this do not know that their words are hurtful. When people have no personal experience with pregnancy loss, they may have no idea what to say to someone who has had a miscarriage. Of course, knowing that others usually mean well may not make it hurt any less to hear these things. Here are some tips to keep in mind when your friends or relatives say something that bothers you:
Gently educate the person. If your friend or relative says something to you that isn't true or accurate, let that person know. Try to keep a cool head in correcting misinformation. Remember that by educating someone about pregnancy loss, you may prevent that person from making hurtful comments to someone else in the future. Most people mean well and will probably be glad to know that what they are saying isn't helpful as long as you are gentle.
Because most people respect physicians, be sure to reference your doctor when correcting medical information (such as if someone tries to tell you that your miscarriage happened because of something you did).
Tell people how you feel. If you feel that a comment is hurtful, try to explain why -- again, staying as diplomatic as possible. By letting people know how you feel, you may help them avoid saying similar things to others who have had a pregnancy loss.
Change the subject. The above strategies work best when someone is receptive, but sometimes you might not feel like spending the energy to correct someone and obviously some people will resist being corrected. Although it can be helpful to talk about your feelings after a pregnancy loss, you probably want to stick to discussing the matter with people who listen. Don't be afraid to tell someone, "I'm sorry, but I just don't want to talk about this right now."
Smile and nod. Depending on the situation, sometimes using the tried and true "smile and nod" strategy is the best way to handle comments. If you don't feel the energy to correct someone (or if you know your efforts would be futile), just don't respond to the person's comments in a way that will encourage that person to keep talking about the subject. After a minute or two, the person will probably switch the subject and talk about something else.
Avoid people who just don't "get it." It's not always possible to avoid people, but try to choose your company when you can. If, for example, you know that your obtuse sister-in-law is going to insist on giving you an hour-long speech about why your miscarriage was your fault and sharing her unhelpful advice on what you should do differently next time, consider steering clear of her in the aftermath of your pregnancy loss -- at least until you're feeling up to the task.