Fertility

Miscarriage Comments – What To Say and Avoid Saying

Eloise Edington  |   1 Oct 2023


At The Ribbon Box, we share many reader stories of baby loss, miscarriage and grief. Sadly, despite miscarriages being widely common and affecting 1 in 4, many people suffer in silence, feeling like they are the only ones and that their bodies are failing them. It’s unfair and heartbreaking. We’ve spoken to holistic experts, John Norian and Ava Parnass in the States to get their thoughts on the subject.

www.hrcranchocucamonga.com | @HRCRancho | www.avaparnass.com | @avaparnass

John Norian, MD FACOG of HRC Fertility Rancho shares his medical expertise on the topic:

Miscarriages are far more common than most people think. One in every four recognized pregnancies are lost in the first trimester. Couples struggling with Recurrent Pregnancy Loss need empathy and emotional support, similar to patients with a history of stillbirth or neonatal death. There is a lot of hope today in all areas of infertility due to advances in technology and science. Current research and fertility treatments allow us to identify treatable causes in order to prevent certain recurrences. In those who have idiopathic (unknown) RPL (Recurrent Pregnancy Loss), a large percentage of couples, of different ages, will have subsequent live births even after two, three, four, or even five prior miscarriages.

(Dr. Norian areas of expertise include: IVF, PGS, Gender Selection, Egg Freezing and many more… Both he and his multilingual clinical team provide high quality, individualized care resulting in high IVF success rates.)

Related Article – Baby Loss Awareness – What Not to Say to a Woman Who’s Had a Miscarriage

Ava Parnass RN MSN CS, Child-Family Psychotherapist discusses the helpful things you can say or might want to hear when it comes to baby loss:

Infertility challenges can feel insurmountable, also miscarriages and the struggle to fulfil the dream of becoming a parent are filled with shattered dreams, heartbreak and hard-won successes. It is often an endless cycle of hope, disappointment, hormones, loss and a river of tears until success is achieved. This continuous cycle of highs, lows and the physical and mental toll plus the monetary costs are enough to break even the strongest person. Yet so many have the strength, courage and hope to persevere and build their family.

We applaud and support your courage.

I am involved in daily online conversations within the social community, providing them with emotional support. As many may or may not know, the acronym used a lot within this community is ‘TTC’ (Trying To Conceive). I have noticed that a recurring theme is the multitude of hurtful comments people say without realizing the impact it has on the families struggling with infertility. In light of this, there have been numerous supportive individuals who graciously ask what they can say or do to help.

(Ava Parnass is a multi-faceted entrepreneur who spends time in the world of social media, music, film and the world of parenting. She is an active advocate for the emotional and physical well being of children-adults, an author and songwriter.)

Related Article – TTC Acronyms Explained

I have provided a list below of a few things to say that may be helpful to those struggling with infertility and a list of hurtful things NOT to say – a mixture of my words and others from the TTC community. If you’ve got any to add, feel free to pop them in the comments box below:

What To Say To Show Support:

  1. ‘I sorry you are going through this’

  2. I can’t even imagine how hard it is’

  3. ‘There are no words, is it okay if I give you a hug?’

  4. ‘I am here if you ever feel like talking’

  5. ‘It stinks and it’s unfair!’

  6. ‘Infertility is a big loss, and it is okay to grieve’

  7. ‘I am sorry…it sounds like Infertility is being robbed of having children naturally’

  8. ‘That sounds really hard: Infertility is having to pay tons of money for something that other people take for granted’

  9. ‘It’s ok to cry, cry and cry’

  10. ‘It’s ok not to go to a baby shower or a kid’s birthday party, and it is also ok to leave early’

  11. ‘It’s ok to think about how situations will make you feel, you can say no’

  12. ‘I’m here to listen and not give advice’

  13. ‘I love you, and if or when you want to talk I am here’

  14. ‘Can I do something to help? Cook a meal?’

  15. ‘I wish I knew what to say’

  16. ‘I am so sorry you are going through this, this is very hard’

  17. ‘I am sorry people don’t know how to respond’

  18. ‘People may never understand what you are going through, but you do not owe them anything and you do not need to justify yourself to them.’

  19. It is okay to not be okay’

What Not To Say:

  1. ‘Just RELAX, don’t stress so much it’ll happen naturally!’ – This phrase has been labelled as one of the worst, and yet most common words of advice given to women struggling with infertility.

  2. ‘Have you thought about adopting?’

  3. ‘You have 1 child, isn’t that enough?’

  4. ‘4 miscarriages may be a message to stop’

  5. ‘At least you know you can get pregnant’

  6. ‘God has other plans for you’

  7. ‘It was so easy for me to get pregnant!’

  8. ‘Maybe spend less time on your career or working out?’

  9. ‘Losing weight and moderate exercise helps!’

  10. ‘You’re trying too hard. Calm down’

  11. ‘It’ll happen when it’s meant to’

  12. ‘Just get a pet!’

  13. ‘Have you tried ____’

  14. ‘Are you pregnant yet?’

  15. ‘Just adopt, there are so many kids that need a home!’

  16. ‘I know exactly how you are feeling’

  17. ‘I have a friend who got pregnant after adopting!’

  18. ‘Take my kids they are a handful’

  19. ‘Go to Vegas and get drunk and it will happen’

  20. ‘Just do IVF and you’ll get twins’ 

  21. ‘Just think positive thoughts’ – This minimizes the process of grief!

  22. ‘At least it wasn’t a real baby!’

Related Article – Baby Loss Awareness – Dealing With Recurrent Miscarriages and Secondary Infertility

In addition to this, I also met two inspiring authors online, Michael Cave and Christina Oberon. Each author wrote a book based on their respective trying to conceive struggles and overcoming infertility.

Michael Cave writes in his book ‘Triple Blessing’ about a father’s journey through infertility : “When couples hear any of these insensitive statements, it makes them not want to share their infertility issues with anyone, and it remains a secret struggle.” He goes on to say, ”Some folks on the Internet are offended that people are resorting more and more to IVF, to make their dreams come true as if it’s taking the easy way out or…playing God.”

Christina Oberon’s book ‘Hope Strong’, provides hope through the emotions experienced during infertility. Regardless of the things said or not said by others, Christina wants her readers to “remember that everyone’s path to motherhood is different and unique. Your path is not easy, and this is your challenge. And, as the day turns into night and the night fades into the glorious morning sun, remember, you have not been forgotten.”

Related Article – Negative Pregnancy Tests – How to Not Give Up Hope by Alice Rose

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