Friends, Family, and other Foes

Not everyone knows how to act around a woman who has just lost her baby. Actually, hardly anyone does.

I remember my husband got in an argument with one of our friends about the score of a Fantasy Football game. His wife had just had a baby, only a month or so after we should have had ours. The two men disagreed about some rules or some other minor issue. The wife somehow joined the fray and emailed my husband saying, “If you had a new baby to take care of, you’d understand we don’t have time to worry about stupid football rules!”


Yes, you’re right. We don’t have a new baby to take care of. We lost ours. And we also don’t have thoughtless friends like you any more.

Did other people say things to you that really really were insensitive or awful? Did you ever see them again? Or did you have to, as they were coworkers or family members?

16 thoughts on “Friends, Family, and other Foes

  1. Besides my step mom who made miscarriage a time to lecture me, I got one other comment that really sticks out in my mind. My husband’s great aunt and uncle had been supportive of us during his job loss. After my D&E for CJ’s death, she said to me, “you probably shouldn’t have any more kids. That miscarriage was a warning to you. You’re not getting any younger, you know.” I sat stunned. I didn’t say a word, I was just too amazed as it seemed the comment came from nowhere. It felt like she was protecting her nephew, we already had 4 kids at the time. Maybe it was too many in her mind. I was to be the one to “be careful” and not have any more kids. I also was the one to blame, evidently, as I was 34 and my eggs were old. Anger didn’t hit until later, especially when I got the test results back that showed there was no problem with the baby’s genetic/dna make up. It wasn’t that I had old eggs and we had created a baby who was malformed. The baby died for some random, unknown reason. It wasn’t infection, it wasn’t any obvious abnormality, and no known disorder was in my body like lupus or clotting problems. No, this baby died and looked perfect on the sonogram, perfect to the doctor who did the D&E, and perfect on pathology. This baby was perfect after labwork. This perfect baby died, and it wasn’t my fault. I’ve seen this aunt since, and no more has been said. We have a 5th born baby now, and she did send a little gift. My thinking is, what sort of warning could a miscarriage be? How much worse can it be than death?

  2. A family member was quite insensitive which was really surprising to me considering his position (minister), and the fact that his wife went through a miscarriage years ago. They had just come back from a vacation a few weeks after my m/c–happened while they were away. They had gone to a gold mine, and he had a tiny vial of gold. He gave me a little speech about how God was purifying me just as gold is purified in fire. That really hurt me on several levels: 1) I was trying really hard not to be mad at God, and that didn’t make it any easier. 2) It made me feel like he was saying that God took my baby because I’m not to that perfect, purified stage. He knew I was upset, but he kept going on about how he was only telling me what God wanted me to hear. I refused to listen and left the room crying. He is my minister, so it was very hard for me to sit through a church service for a long, long time. I did finally approach him and let him know that I believed that he was dead wrong to say that to me (or anyone who has suffered a loss). He again said that it was God’s will for him to tell me. I told him that we would just have to agree to disagree on it, and I let him know that I would not be seeking any help from him on that issue. When my second m/c happened, I really felt lost as far as spiritual consel goes, and I’ve had to make it on my own in that area.

    Shortly after my 2nd m/c, another woman in my church lost her 2nd as well. I was 13 weeks when I lost my second, and she was 16 weeks. Another woman at church commented that it must be harder for her than for me because she was farther along and actually saw her baby. I pulled away from that person also, but I still see her regularly.

    The only other thing that happened was a niece had her baby shortly after I should have been having mine. They emailed photos taken at the hospital. It was hard to deal with, but it was made worse by other thrilled (but insensitive family members) who went to the hospital with their cameras and emailed me all their photos as well. A bit heavy on the overkill, but I know they didn’t realize it.

  3. My 18 year old cousin had an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy with a baby due about the time my first miscarried baby was due. I was never really close to her and that hasn’t changed.

    One of my very close friends named her baby the name I chose for my first angel. It’s strange because it’s an odd name and she had no idea it’s the name I chose….Ryanne (Ryan) Elizabeth. She was born 2 months after my angel was due. We are still good friends.

  4. Oh my, Melody , I think what happened to you sounds horrible….

    A minister, yes this is shocking and I would question his pride in his own discernment. He was dead wrong to do that for sure!

    Wow, Tessy, I cannot believe a friend named the baby the same name! That has to be tough. Glad it was not planned and you two are friends to this day.


  5. I was a bridesmaid at my friends wedding about three weeks after and as you know you do not see your friends too often while they are planning a wedding. So she had asked how I was doing and I of course told her.. I am hanging in there but it will be a while until I will feel whole. She turn and said stop with all the morbid talk, I am getting married. Are we friends… nope!

  6. I was wondering if you could have a character realize how she treated a friend earlier who miscarried (maybe when she was a teen, or maybe her mother miscarried previously), and she regrets it. I do not recall caring much about miscarriage until it happened to me. In fact, my first miscarriage, I feel I pretty much passed over as everyone else did too. Even my ob was optimistic, and I just went with this. Who did I ignore or slap in the face with a comment I didn’t mean to make? I don’t know because I cannot even remember it! I do think an event makes us often more sensitive…

  7. I got two statements that seem to keep coming. Not to many people in my circle knows about my miscarriages. Especially since they were early. We chose to tell only a select handful of people and a few others along the way. Some of the ones that did know said, “Oh it just wasn’t the right time, you didn’t have the money to raise a child”, I was told, see children are a handful you should be happy you dont have any” I still get that last comment and it hurts. i have one family member that says your hubby isnt getting any younger (he’ll be 50 next yr) when you two going to have a baby? every time I see her. Lil does she know we’ve been trying and just cant seem to get pg again. Yes, I do speak with them but avoid the baby talk with them. i make sure (strangely enough) that there kids in the room when I’m with them because then they don’t start.

  8. Lots of people said stupid, hurtful, unfeeling things to me, but more often than not, people were very kind and compassionate and understanding.

    Probably the worst thing was when, a few days after my miscarriage, my cousin and his wife and kids got a new puppy and sent pictures attached to an e-mail that said “A New Addition to Our Family.” It was a freaking puppy! And my new addition was DEAD…It just really irritated me that a puppy was so exciting to them when I was hurting so much.

    Then I started to feel so evil when I wish that other people would put their lives on hold b/c of my pain.

    I was really ticked at my sister-in-law the other day. They have a little boy and girl, and she started talking about how they were going to try to have another in a few months. It just really irked me. I mean, can’t she at least wait until I have ONE baby? Then, again, I was just mad at myself that I felt like my loss and pain should dictate other people’s lives.

    OH, and it now drives me absolutely NUTS when people talk about fat or saggy boobs or stretch marks after they have a baby. I literally want to scream….what I wouldn’t give to have some baby fat or saggy boobs or stretch marks – at least then I would have a baby…

  9. Three months after my miscarriage, my sister-in-law included my husband and I in a group email about the joys of parenthood. This upset me hugely given that we had lost a chance at parenthood and we still hadn’t got over it.

    I was very angry after my miscarriage and became very sensitive to comments made by some people, namely my in-laws. It took me a while to realise how angry I actually was and that I was directing my anger at people who were genuinely trying to help. It was as if I was trying to blame them for my miscarriage.

  10. Dawn, I think your comment about how a person treated a friend who m/c’d and then had one herself is something worth considering.

  11. Perhaps mentioning the lack of understanding from some people in the medical profession would be worthwhile to include. In my case when the ultrasound technician couldn’t find a heartbeat, she said she had to go check with the doctor and then came back and passed me a printed sheet that said “fetal demise” on it. She offered no comfort as I lay crying on the table and even had to ask if I could have a kleenex (all they had was rough paper towel – you would think this had never happened there before). Then they wheeled me out in a wheelchair (because I had been sent from the ER) and made me wait for an hour crying in the ultrasound waiting room while happy pregnant women looked at their ultrasound pictures right in front of me. Despite my requests, they wouldn’t let me walk back to the ER on my own and made me continue to wait for a male orderly to come and wheel me back.

  12. Oh Autumn, that sounds truly awful. I remember the extreme pain and sadness I felt when I walked into the ER and had to tell the registration lady why I was there. I could hardly manage to get any words out. I was by myself as my husband was parking the car. And the ultrasound tech also wouldn’t tell me what she saw, she only said I was measuring 5 weeks instead of 8.

  13. My midwife gave me no indication that she was concerned about not being able to find the heartbeat, and just said she wanted to send me for an ultrasound since I had a tipped uterus and their office machine had poor resolution. I left with no idea that there was the possibility my baby had died. It never crossed my mind. As a result, I assured my husband it was a routine thing and no need to worry. He had to stay home with our sick son while I was seeing my midwife and had to go to work the next day, while I went off to my ultrasound. I was alone there when I finally realized what was happening, and what a “viability scan” really meant. Because I already had a living child, it never crossed my mind that I could miscarry, and my midwife, with her cheery smile and own very pregnant belly, never even mentioned the possibility. The technician didn’t explain anything, just asked if I was going back to my midwife, and when I said I had an appointment the fllowing month, she left to call the office, then came back and told me to go right over. When the nurse finally called me back, she asked if the tech had told me anything, I said no, and she said “cool.” A doctor I’d never met came in to tell me what I was slowly starting to realize. No one asked if there was someone they could call, or if I was ok to drive myself home.I called my husband from my car, sobbing, to tell him that I had been wrong about the “routine” ultrasound, and our baby was dead.

    And an insensitive family member. I had announced my pregnancy at Thanksgiving dinner, which I had cooked for 14 people. I also hosted Christmas dinner. I miscarried in early January. When I announced my next pregnancy, DH’s aunt said “maybe you’ll take it easier this time”, insinuating that I had “overdone it” physically and caused m miscarriage.

  14. I miscarried my first pregnancy in September, and yesterday my father, who can’t wait for grandchildren, eagerly asked me if I had a baby on the way. I couldn’t believe he would have the nerve to ask me that only two months after I lost my first pregnancy. I was very short with him, and said, “I don’t want you to ask me that.” I simply can’t understand how he can be so insensitive. It’s like he thinks I let him down by losing my baby.

    I’m so scared. My husband and I are trying again. I’m 36. I’ve been feeling sort of resigned to not having any children. I’m not sure I can take the pain of another miscarriage. Even just trying again feels so hard. Every time I get another period, I relive the grief.

    I had a friend lose her second pregnancy. I can’t imagine going through it twice. I’m so scared that will happen to me.

  15. I suffered a miscarriage @ 13 weeks. This would have been my second child. I was amazed @ how insensitive so-called friends and family could be. I heard well at least it happened before you were any further along. Then from a friend who was pregnant and due around the time I was called the day after I got out of the hospital from my D&C to let me know they were having a girl, when I told her what had happened she said well there is always next time. A week after my miscarriage my best friend gave birth to her baby. Friends and family quit calling or asking how I was, scared of what I would say I guess. I went to the mailbox everyday thinking someone would just send a simple note or card, but not a one. We recieved flowers from a couple of people, but haven’t heard from them since. Are people really this insensitive and this wasn’t really a life to them?

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