What Not To Say

This vlog is not a knee-slapper. But I wanted to reach out to the women who have gone through a miscarriage, like I did.

Like so many things in life, you can’t totally relate unless you’ve gone through it. If I had thought about it before it happened to me, I don’t think I would have felt as bad as I did. I couldn’t talk about it for a while. But, as I lay in the recovery room of the hospital (since I not only had a miscarriage, but hemorrhaged badly and had to have a blood transfusion), the nice nurse told me she had four miscarriages before having her child. Geez! I don’t think I could have handled that. She seemed so plucky, too.

It seemed people came out of the woodwork with their own tales of loss. People have had worse hits than my own, like the women who have to give birth to a stillborn child. Just heart-breaking.

But if you haven’t gone through something like a miscarriage and are not sure what to say to someone who has, take a listen. And if you have gone through it, I’m sorry, and I think you will relate to this.

I’ll always miss my angel.

24 thoughts on “What Not To Say

  1. wow, daphne. that was perfect. and i know how very hard that was to share for someone who always makes us laugh.

    honestly, i think people mean well but they tend to never know what to say. i too, miscarried between my two kids. it was early, towards the end of the first trimester, and that added insult to injury with the comments. as if the pain were less great because the pregnancy was not that long.

    that empty feeling is hard to describe to anyone who has never known it. and yes, all we want anyone to do is just be there for us and let us feel bad… until we can cope.

    sometimes grief is the appropriate response.

    thanks for being so candid. you will surely reach many with this vlog.

  2. A friend just tuned me into your blog. You are so real and this 7/9/2008 blog really shows that. I look forward to your future blogs. Keep up the good work.

    And I am sorry for you loss.

    T.

  3. I had a miscarriage after Boo was born after a second round of fertility treatment. I had gone in for my happy ultrasound, only to find out it wasn’t so happy. That was a Friday. Couldn’t have the D and C until Monday afternoon. Had to take my child to a Gymboree class on Saturday filled with pregnant women. Then there’s the insult of having a hospital procedure on top of the grief. Trauma, fear, recovery.

    I wanted to know the sex of the baby. A girl. I now have three girls but will always mourn the loss of the little one who never made it. The pain never goes away.

  4. I suffered a miscarriage in March. The child would have been my fifth. After four textbook easy pregnancies/deliveries it was the last thing I expected. I too had my OB nurse tell me she suffered three. I felt like a big baby then, she was such a trooper. Most people I found to be very compassionate, even those who believe that more than two children are too many. My dissapointment came from one couple who we thought were our friends. The husband told my husband that it was a good thing they were men, didn’t get emotionally attached and just went along with these things (pregnancies). I don’t know who he thought he was talking to, you would have thought he didn’t know my husband at all. He grieved just as much as I did. And the wife of this couple hasn’t bothered to call me to offer any sort or condolences, or even send a crummy e-mail. Her excuse is that when they were involved in a car accident last year, I didn’t call her. No one was injured, the car wasn’t totaled, and I was in the middle of the California wildfires at the time with my four children while by husband was in Texas. It’s been four months since the misscarriage, and still nothing. I think these events help us to figure out who our true friends are. Wow, that was a long one, maybe I should post this on my own blog, I obviously need to get this off my chest.

  5. I miscarried a few years ago and remember that it was very painful at the time. It was after my first who was born with hemophilia (which was really scary and difficult)
    My second pregnancy miscarried at 9 weeks and it took me several months longer than my doctor told me to get pregnant again.
    I’ve had 2 more babies since then, and that has probably helped a lot.
    All three of my children are boys, though, and I do wonder if the miscarriage was a girl, and if I could have avoided it if I hadn’t colored my hair (in an small enclosed room).
    Anyway, the pain gets a lot better.
    I have a dear friend that just lost her 1 year old son. It’s so hard to watch her go through this, and I would never compare my pain to hers, but I do hope that it does lessen in intensity over the years.

  6. My sister just had a stillborn last month. It was the HARDEST thing I had to watch. She was almost 7 months along. The one thing that has helped me is my religion and the belief that we have of Eternal Families. We believe that we will be able to be with that baby again some day, and that really takes the sting out of it… A little. Prayer, faith, and trust in the Lord’s plan.

    http://www.mormon.org/mormonorg/eng/basic-beliefs/the-restoration-of-truth/the-gospel-blesses-families-and-individuals

  7. Thanks for posting this. After a miscarriage this spring, it seems that everyone said the wrong thing, and you’re so right in what you say here. I hope lots of people see it.

  8. I was supremely touched by this video. I’m not a mother myself, but I do have friends that have experienced miscarriages and think the advice you give here is invaluable.

  9. Daphne, you are so right; It is just so sad. Watching your face as you talked reminded me of myself and my loss (oh so many years ago) and I started crying too. It took me longer than a year to talk about it, so I think you are pretty brave, because when you decided to talk about it…you told the Internet!

  10. I have never had a miscarraige, but three good friends have. One of my friends has had three miscarriages. I always said I was sorry and sad, but then I kind of left it alone. I felt like I shouldn’t bring it up unless they did first. It’s very hard to know how to handle such an emotional and private matter. I wonder if any of them wish I had been more open about them and available to them after my initial sympathies.

  11. You’re absolutely right. People said all those same things to me when I had my miscarriage. What really helped me was finding out how many of the women I already knew had also had miscarriages. I felt less alone. It also helped me to receive flowers — people send flowers when there is a death, and yes, there was a death. The flowers made me feel that people took our loss seriously, that they understood.

  12. I stumbled upon your video while looking for something unrelated and was curious as to what you had to say, because sadly I too, experienced a MC in March. As you know, it was very difficult to deal with being it was my first pregnancy and MC . I have had people tell me it was for the best because there was something wrong with it. Well, telling me that did NOT at all make me feel better. It made me feel worse. I know people don’t know what to say, but all they need to say is that they are sorry and nothing along the lines like “Oh, you are still young and have plenty of time.” I got that too. Yes, I am young, but want a baby NOW. So pretty much what you said, hit home and was true. I loved the part when you were asked if you would try again. People are so dumb and inconsiderat! Of course you are going to try again, but first let me deal with this loss.

  13. Thank you for this vlog. I suffered two m/c (one a traumatic second trimester loss involving a seven hour emergency room visit) during two years of ttc our second child. I am passionate about educating women about how to relate to women suffering miscarriage. There are so many mis-conceptions and well-meant, but hurtful attitudes out there. We need more people who’ve been through the painful process of loss and recovery to speak out about their experience.

    Thanks so much.

  14. What dear comments. thank you. I was just speaking to a friend last night who has gone through several. I am amazed at woman strong enough to keep trying when they have had them again and again.
    I am sure I was a shmuck to years ago before I went through it. It’s a shame we have to sometimes learn lessons the hard way.

  15. I am sorry for your loss.

    I was 29 weeks pregnant and had my third ultrasound and routine check-up where it was found that the baby was not growing as fast as it should have been. I told the nurses that I had not been feeling any movement or kicking and as this was my first baby, I didn’t know what movements to expect and at what stage.

    I was then admitted to hospital for bedrest and 24 hour observation, whereupon it was revealed that the baby’s heartrate was erratic. When it became apparent that the baby’s condition was deteriorating rapidly I was sent for an emergency caesarian.

    My daughter was born premature and weighed only 1lb (one pound) 6oz and was in the special care unit. She was beautiful, with wisps of blonde hair and big blue eyes. She was perfectly formed, but so very tiny, like a baby doll. When I had recovered slightly from the anaesthetic I was allowed to visit her but due to still feeling groggy I could not grasp how tentatively she hung onto dear life.

    At day four, I was transferred from a single room into the mom and baby post-natal ward (with my baby being in the unit on the other side of the hospital). As I was on my own, all the other mothers used to say “oh, where is YOUR baby, then?” When I said “in the special care unit” they just nodded in a nonchalent manner and continued to feed and change their own babies. This was torture for me, to be separated from my own baby, and having to return to the mom and baby ward for my meals and to sleep.

    My baby daughter died at 11 days old. She was baptized in hospital and I loved her immensely.

  16. I´m sorry for your loss.

    I feel so bad knowing I must have said some very stupid things to my own friends when they miscarried, ignorance is not bliss when you become a mom and really learn of life.

    *sigh*

  17. I also had a miscarriage in 2006. It was my first pregnancy and I was devastated. It is such a hard thing to go through. I was only 8 weeks along, but I was so excited to have a baby. And I felt in my heart that it was a boy. I’ll never know, but now I have a beautiful little girl and she is my life! Some of my friends didn’t know how to react, but just saying sorry is fine. There’s not a lot to say in that situation. After the miscarriage, I learned that a lot of people I know had gone through the same thing. It was comforting to hear from those people and to know that they all went on to have babies with no problems.

    Thank you for sharing about your loss. I’m sorry to all mothers who have gone through this.

  18. Saw you on Dr Phil and came to the site because my name is DAPHNE too! I lost a baby 10 years ago and now have a non-profit offering support to others that lose a baby. I am so sorry for your loss and THANK YOU for your words. People need to know what not to say. After 10 years I understand they mean well but lets add some education and enlightment to that and tell people how we really hear them. Grace & Peace, daphne

  19. Thank you so much for posting this video. I have had four miscarriages, one of which was an ectopic that resulted in the loss of one of my fallopian tubes. I know that most people mean well, but it’s hard to keep that in mind when you are hurting. I think I felt the worst for my husband. It was as if people forgot that he lost a child as well. He literally broke down and cried the first time someone asked him how he was doing.
    I truly am sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your pain in hopes of making it a little easier for the rest of us.

  20. Wow, thank you for that.

    Since I lost my four day old son eleven years ago to a congenital heart defect I have been constantly educating people on what NOT to say. I had a miscarriage the following year, and I thought at the time, no big deal. Sure it was a disappointment, but nothing like losing Rhys.

    I was both right and wrong about that. I was right that it wasn’t like losing my full term, seemingly healthy son that no one knew had anything wrong with him.

    I was wrong in thinking it was no big deal. Because months later I had to deal with the harsh reality that the miscarriage I suffered was a tremendous loss. And it was harder because I refused to deal with it at first.

    I am so sorry you lost your baby. You don’t know me.

    But I understand.

  21. I’m so sorry. Nothing makes it right. But I hope you have lots of love in your life to help you through. Best wishes for your healing heart. -Jasi

  22. Daphne,
    I hadn’t read this touching vlog before, and it was right on the money. If you ever want to do a similar one, please look into the research and science around “crib death” more commonly known now as SIDs. We lost a grandaughter to sids in 1995 and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. I could go on about it, but some of the comments get pretty dark. Then the accusatory people jump in. A month after Abby died, her cousin Brady, born just a few days before her, also succumbed to Sids. My daughter and her cousin (in-law) started a charity fundraiser to promote awareness and hopefully get the word out that there was research that led to some things that could reduce the SID’s rate. In Australia, they have a whole different approach to child autopsy. IF there is a death of a child under 6, they autopsy according to the SID’s protocol. As a result, they came up with the statistic about babies sleeping on their backs. Once they brought out the “back to sleep” protocol, SID rate dropped between 75% and 90%. I don’t know how long it took in the US, but in Canada. Back to Sleep was out, but the hospitals weren’t paying any attention to it. (We put all our babies on their tummies in case they spit up) Duh!!?? Anyway, England had the same result as Australia and I don’t know about the stats in the US but I know the rate everywhere has dropped dramatically due to this. NOw that’s not to say that putting the baby on their tummy causes SIDs – it’s merely an environment where SIDs happens more often. Finding out what causes SIDs will let us know why those babies stop breathing and don’t start again.
    If you want some interesting stuff (my daughter has been on the provincial and federal task forces for both SID’s and sudden infant loss and grief for nearly 15 years now and has the good information with all the flak trimmed out of it. We still get some woman that calls here every year when the SID’s fundraiser is advertised, and she phones our house (my daughter lived here for a year after Abby died, they couldn’t go back to that house) and tells me that I should tell my daughter that her daughter died because of imunizations. I won’t give her my daughter’s number but she still calls here every year. Sorry, Abby had no immunizations so Pllllbbbbsssst to you wacky immunization lady. SID’s is a complex interrelated problem that they have hammered out a tiny small part of. There’s still too much to learn and blaming a grieving parent accomplishes NOTHING but more pain.
    If you want to hear more about it, drop me an email at the addy above.
    There are some very positive things you can say to parents who have lost a child to SIDs that will help them heal. And there are things that you can say, that won’t just make you cry or feel bad, they will make you hate yourself for the rest of your life thinking you caused it. Those are the comments SIDs parents do not need.
    Connie

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