Responding When People Don't Understand Your Miscarriage

by Michelle Myers-Walters

We've all been there in that moment. The moment someone says something hurtful about the loss of your baby, and you feel warmth overcome you as tears well up in your eyes. What do you say? What can you say?

There are no rights and wrong about your response, and truth be told, a response isn't even demanded of you. That being said, something inside of you heeds the protective urge to defend your lost child, even though the humiliation and hurt is overwhelming you.

Well, I say it's time to hold our heads high, reclaim our privacy and space, and let people know that what they say is not acceptable.

Often, people just don't know what to say, so they say hurtful insensitive things about the loss of your baby. However, this does not absolve them or justify the remarks that they make, but it helps to know that not all people are purposefully trying to make your situation more stressful. Even though these comments are not intended to hurt, they do. This article is about how you can respond to such comments, and regain your confidence about addressing this issue.

Sometimes people don't recognize something is a problem, until they are educated to know otherwise. Unfortunately, as mothers of loss, it becomes our burden to enlighten those who have no understanding of miscarriage.

Think about it, before you lost your baby, did you know all that you know about miscarriage and loss? Most of us would honestly answer no, and ignorance does not equate evilness. Recognizing this fact, can help in truly discerning which approach to take with people.

There seem to be three dominant classes of people that we encounter on this journey -- the Insensitive, the Indignant and the Idiots.

The Insensitive Person

The Insensitive person can be defined as a friend or relative, and perhaps an acquaintance, who knows you lost your baby and doesn't temper their responses. Normally, these people are already known for their insensitivity, and we shouldn't expect them to say something helpful in the first place. But when we lose our babies, it's not like we're in the right frame of mind to consider this fact.

This person says things like, "Well, at least you lost it early on," and "You didn't need that right now anyway; you're already struggling financially." Our first impulse should be to wring their neck, but most times we are left flustered and hurting. What they should have said was, "I'm so sorry this happened to you."

You have two choices with a person like this. One, you could just walk away, though this leaves room for the person to call after you in which case, you could continue to just keep walking. The second response, could entail a slew of comments that will stop the assault, such as, "Would you miss your mother less, the older she was?" or, "What kind of price tag can you put on a life?"

The Indignant

The second group we deal with are called the Indignant people. These are the ones that feel personally upset that you're upset. They literally can't figure out why you're crying, upset or devastated by your experience.

Most of these include people who don't believe a "fetus" is a baby, or they don't believe you need to be as upset because you already have some children. They love to make comments like, "It's not like you don't have any children at all," or, "How can you be upset about something that didn't even exist?"

I never understood this mentality. Obviously you considered this experience as the death of a child, or you wouldn't be emotionally falling to pieces. And just because you have other children running around, is that supposed to lessen the fact that one of them died? Indignant people somehow feel that you're encroaching upon their personal happiness, if you can't be the "old" you that you used to be for them. It's a rather selfish position to take, but they take it, and you have to hear a barrage of insults intended to snap you back into the old you.


Thank you for your comment Cassie - I believe that the author was trying to help those going through the tragic loss of a baby with how to deal with the situation and people and not necessarily calling other people names. We do appreciate your comment however!

I'm sorry. This article comes off extremely self-righteous. Loss and grief is difficult. I understand that. I work in an area of healthcare where I've seen all kinds of people pass away for all types of reasons. I was looking for an article to help understand what a friend is going through. Being called names is not what I bargained for. I suppose it all depends on one's point of view. Some people have a different view of life and death. It IS ok for someone to not feel the same as you. You don't have the market cornered on bad life experiences because you've had a miscarriage. It is extremely selfish for you to expect everyone to take on your point of view.