I just found out a colleague is expecting. Ordinarily this wouldn't be big news, but after over a year of trying and fertility treatments, I finally got pregnant. And then miscarried. The colleague? Due within a few weeks of when I would have been. From a few feet away, I get to watch her bump grow and thrive, in the conspicuous absence of my own.
Ooooph is right.
I'm coping, and I'm doing the best I can under the circumstances. I'm not OK yet, but I'm on the way there. It was early days, only a few close friends and family knew about the pregnancy. Everyone is doing their best to be supportive and I try not to question the motives of those only trying to make me feel better. It's hard to know what to say to someone who is grieving.
So why, then, does it never occur to those struggling with what to say, to say nothing at all?
Inevitably, anyone who has had a miscarriage will hear the "for the best" thing from at least one person. I steeled myself to that one the moment the cramping started, knowing it was coming. But a couple of the things that have been said to me with the intent of making me feel better have just completely caught me off guard. And made me seriously question the company I keep.
Like the person who, upon learning of my colleague's pregnancy, said "Oh, maybe she’ll lose hers too." What? Why on God's green earth would someone wish the pain I'm in on anyone? Furthermore, what must this person think of me, to believe that I would take comfort in such a ghastly sentiment?
Here’s a (granted, unsolicited) tip from me to you… If you know someone has had a miscarriage, there is a good chance they consider you very close to them, and sometimes all you have to do is be there. If you don’t know what to say, try “I’m so sorry. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.” If words fail you, please don’t reach into the deepest, darkest depths of your mind to come up with something else. Do not think, even for a moment that just because someone has lost a baby, they’d take any sort of joy in the same thing happening to another mother. And if you do think it, inside voice please!
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