I just want to say that I get that anyone who takes the time to say anything prolly means well. I don’t take that lightly. But so many people say such boneheaded things, and then when I say “that doesn’t make me feel any better,” they feel as though they won’t have done their job of cheering me up until they’ve gotten me to agree with them that this stupid boneheaded thing is true and somehow comforting. This takes the whole exchange from Un-Fun to Really Painful for me, and only makes them feel better.
Don’t be one of these people. I’m certain you don’t want to be.
“God has a plan.”
First off, I don’t believe you that God had anything to do with this. Secondly, thinking that God wanted my baby dead is hardly comforting, if I did believe you.
When you were a kid and your dog died, did the idea that you could look forward to a long life with lots more dogs make you feel any better? Young has nothing to do with it. This is a loss that will never be replaced.
“It happens a lot.”
This is comforting coming from a woman’s doctor, and a woman’s doctor only. We like the validation from the doctor that we did nothing wrong. We do not need it repeated as if our loss is dwarfed by everyone elses. “I’m certain there was nothing anyone could do,” is acceptable, maybe.
“Everything happens for a reason.”
That “reason” behind many things in life is that life is unfair and cruel shit happens. Pointing this out hardly makes me feel better.
“It just wasn’t the right time.”
Humans would be extinct if we all waited until there was nothing wrong with this world to have children. It wasn’t the “right time” to have your children, and it wasn’t the “right time” for you to be born. This doesn’t make you meaningless.
“It often means that there might have been something wrong with the baby, so this is for the best.”
This is a tricky one because there ARE people who take comfort from this. I would never want to take that comfort from them. There is no wrong way to grieve (except perhaps kicking puppies). But you are best avoiding this subject altogether because a lot of people are like me, in that we don’t care. A blind baby or a Downs baby is better than no baby at all to me, and so miscarriage is simply our worst case scenario and it doesn’t get any worse than this for us.
If the woman brings this up herself, fine. If not, don’t say anything like it, because to her, it will be a belittlement of her attachment to her child.
What to say?
Anything along the lines of “This is awful and unfair and I know what this child meant to you and I’m sorry that nothing can replace him or her.”
I know it might feel like much, but I can promise you that these few words are worth more than a whole book’s worth of other words.