It’s often the biggest things in life that are the hardest to talk about. The things that so many people go through, yet are kept hush-hush because many of us don’t have the language to talk about them.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Dos and Don’ts of Talking About Miscarriage
- Tips for Talking About Your Own Miscarriage
- Tips for Talking About a Loved One’s Miscarriage With Them
- Tips for Discussing Miscarriage in Any Other Context
We can see this in how people talk about pregnancy and everything surrounding it. How we get pregnant, birth and labor, and in some cases, pregnancy loss.
Talking about miscarriage can be difficult whether it was you who experienced it, a loved one, or just talking about it in general. It can come with layers of shame, confusion, guilt, and a whole other whirlwind of emotions.
So no matter how miscarriage has impacted your life, we’re here to help you understand how to navigate talking about miscarriage and pregnancy loss.
Dos and Don’ts of Talking About Miscarriage
The dos and don’ts of talking about miscarriage might differ depending on who you’re talking to. Everyone handles loss differently, and it’s important to consider cultural context when discussing it.
With that being said, here are some general do’s and don’ts to go by when talking about miscarriage.
- Let them lead the conversation. Let the person who experienced a miscarriage go at their own pace when talking about it.
- Take your time. This is especially true for people who had a miscarriage. There is no rush; you can talk about it when you’re ready to.
- Pass judgment. People judge themselves enough after experiencing a miscarriage; judgment doesn’t change anything—it just hurts.
- Talk just to talk. If you don’t know what to say, it’s enough to simply let someone know that you’re there for them.
- Pry for details. They will let you know as much as they want to tell you.
- Tell them what they should do. People are often full of unwarranted advice and suggestions. Avoid giving people advice around fertility, health, or anything else, unless they specifically ask for it.
- Say they should be grateful for ___. It’s not uncommon for people to say, “Well, at least you have blah-blah,” after someone experiences a miscarriage. You don’t know how they’re feeling, so it’s best to keep this sort of statement to yourself.
Tips for Talking About Your Own Miscarriage
If you’ve experienced a miscarriage, it’s important to know that you did nothing wrong. You might want to talk about your miscarriage only with those people that you feel entirely safe and comfortable with. At the same time, you shouldn’t be afraid to share your experience with others.
When you decide you’re ready to talk, here are some tips to guide you through.
Take your time
This is your body and your experience. Coping with a miscarriage requires you to move at your own pace. Healing can take time, and it may be a while before you feel comfortable openly discussing your miscarriage.
You may be ready to talk to certain people before others, and that’s perfectly OK. One day you might feel open and ready to talk, and the next you might want to hermit away and keep to yourself. These fluctuations are normal and not something to be ashamed of.
You don’t owe an explanation
Not everyone understands how to navigate boundaries around talking about miscarriage. Some people may make unwelcome comments or ask questions you don’t want to answer.
No one is entitled to information about your body and your health. You get to decide what you want to tell people, and when.
If someone asks something that you don’t want to talk about, you can simply say, “I don’t want to talk about that right now. Thank you for respecting my privacy.”
Try journaling first
It can be difficult to piece our words together after an intense or traumatizing experience. You might need some time—and some tools—to get your thoughts together before sharing them with someone else.
Starting a grief journal allows you to do just that. Grief journals allow you to process and make sense of your thoughts and emotions in a safe space. Writing can be incredibly cathartic, whether you’re freewriting or using set prompts.
Writing about your miscarriage can help you release your fears and start the process of letting go. This way, when you do start talking to people, you can come from a clearer place, with a wider perspective about your experience.
Talk to a professional
Sometimes we need an outside perspective when talking about our painful experiences. The same is true for miscarriages.
No matter where you’re at in your healing journey, you may benefit from talking to a licensed mental health professional like a psychologist, counselor, or someone like a death doula.
Tips for Talking About a Loved One’s Miscarriage With Them
Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words to say when a loved one experiences a loss. A miscarriage can be even trickier territory because of the mixed bag of emotions that can come with having one.
Taking the time to figure out how to talk to a loved one about their miscarriage shows you are already conscientious about their feelings.
Here are some extra tips to help you talk to a loved one about their miscarriage:
Offer your condolences
This might seem obvious, but it’s probably the best place to start. Start the conversation first by letting them know that you’re there for them, that they can talk as much or as little as they’d like, and that you’re sorry for their loss.
Condolences for miscarriage can sound like this:
- “You are in my thoughts.”
- “I’m holding you in my heart.”
- “You are not alone.”
- “Try to be gentle with yourself.”
- “Let me know what I can do to support you.”
- “It’s OK to not be OK.”
Let your condolences be short and sweet. Speak from the heart. Avoid dragging on or stumbling over your words trying to say the right thing. If you’re not sure what to say, just offer simple condolences and then leave it up to them.
Make it into an activity
Sometimes, actions speak louder than words. Your loved one might not want to talk about their miscarriage, or it may be difficult for them to know what to say.
Make it easier for them by offering an interactive activity like collecting miscarriage keepsakes or creating some sort of art project about their experience.
These sorts of activities can be healing, without putting too much pressure on them to talk. This usually allows conversations to start more organically and lets there be space for comfortable silences.
Let them lead the conversation
After offering condolences, it might be wise to let your loved one lead the conversation. You don’t know where they’re at emotionally on any given day, and letting them lead the conversation allows them to talk to an extent that they’re comfortable with.
If you’re unsure what that looks like, you can always say, “I want to respect your boundaries, so whenever you’re ready to talk, I’m here for you.”
Tips for Discussing Miscarriage in Any Other Context
Miscarriage affects so many people, and it’s important to normalize conversations around reproductive health and pregnancy loss.
The more space we make for these conversations to be held, the safer people will feel talking about their experiences, and hopefully, they’ll feel less alone because of it.
Do your research
It’s easy to throw around unclear statistics or information around health, but this is not always helpful. If you’re going to share information about health and miscarriage, be sure to know where your claims are coming from.
There’s so much information out there, it can be hard to know what is or isn’t true. Evidence Based Birth, National Institutes of Health, and Google Scholar are all great places to find reputable research on reproductive health and miscarriage.
Hold your judgment
Sometimes we make comments without realizing that they’re full of judgment. We all have our own experiences that shape our views on the world. We don’t always realize that these views can come off as judgmental sometimes.
Miscarriage is a topic that can come with so much shame, fear, and worry, and judgment only adds to this.
If you’re not sure whether or not your comment is judgmental, it may be best to just not say it, or be cautious who you’re saying it to.
You never know what the people around you have been through, and who has been touched by miscarriage or pregnancy loss.
When talking about miscarriage, be considerate about the tone of your comments, and how people may be affected by them. It can be a difficult experience to understand if you haven’t been through it yourself or work in the field.
We should always be considerate when talking to people, and this is especially important for sensitive topics like pregnancy loss.
What to Remember When Talking About Miscarriage
The most difficult things in life can be the hardest to talk about. Miscarriage is no exception. While it can be tricky figuring out the right way to talk about your own miscarriage or someone else’s, these conversations are important.
Normalizing conversations around loss opens up opportunities for people to talk about their experiences, to feel supported by the community and the people around them, and to feel less alone in their loss.