Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

If you’ve had a miscarriage, you’ve more than likely heard one of these phrases, if not more than one.

And if you’re here learning what not to say, let me just say, thank you.

Thank you for caring enough about your loved one to educate yourself on such a delicate topic. Whoever your loved one is will appreciate your kind, empathetic, concern over their circumstance.

This list was curated out of my own experiences and out of the experiences of the grieving women I speak to. Each individual will have a different experience with grief and what phrases hurt her heart. So, you may see something on the list, and it may not bother you as a grieving mother, but it may bother another grieving mama.

Some mamas find statistical data and scientific facts about miscarriage/pregnancy loss comforting, while others may not. And that’s OK.

The take-away is this: Be mindful of your words.

That’s all a grieving mother wants. She wants you to be mindful and sensitive to her situation. If you are doing this, then you will be just fine.

RELATED: To the Moms and Dads Who Suffer Loss, You Are Not Alone

Ohh, just one more little tip, my dad used to always tell me when I was growing up, “Leticia, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” So, tone is also something to take into consideration.

Why do people say hurtful things?

It can be hard to wrap our minds around the phrases some people toss around, I often found myself wondering why people would even utter these words. But, I do believe most people are not trying to be hurtful, they are not trying to inflict more pain upon you than you are already feeling. I truly believe that we as humans can get uncomfortable about other people’s grief.

What do you say to someone who is going through an irreplaceable loss? How do you fix it, how do you explain what happened, and why? Grief isn’t a beautifully wrapped package, it’s not a celebration or party. Grief is a heavy load. It’s uncomfortable, it can be dark. It’s lonely, and it can get ugly.

RELATED: Miscarriage is Sad and It’s OK To Say it Out Loud

I believe that when people don’t know what to say they try to fill the air with something, anything. I know I’ve rambled down that path before.

I’ve narrowed down the typical responses I’ve heard into five categories of people: 

  1. The fact spewer. This person gives you logical or rational responsesphrases may include, “25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage.”
  2. The fixer. This person’s response is to try and fix the situation or fix the atmosphere. They want to help you by fixing something.
  3. The minimizer. I’d like to think this person says this unintentionally and without malice in their heart. Phrases may include: You’ll be OK. You’re young, you can try again.
  4. The comparison-maker. This person will compare someone else to your experience to help you see your experience is not so bad or that “It could’ve been worse” (totally unhelpful and very hurtful). Phrases include: My sister had a stillbirth, at least you didn’t go through that.
  5. The look-on-the-bright-sider. They may literally say this or tell you to cheer up. Phrases may include: It’s all part of God’s plan. At least it happened early, etc. 

25 Things Not to Say to Someone Who Had a Miscarriage

  1. You’re young, you can try again. No, she doesn’t want to try again, she wanted to keep being pregnant. Saying, “Oh, you’re young you can try again,” minimizes her loss. DO NOT minimize her loss.
  2. Well, 25 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage. While this is a true fact, sometimes facts can still hurt.
  3. You’ll feel better in a few days. Most likely they won’t feel better in a few days. This isn’t the flu, this is a pregnancy loss.
  4. It’s not in God’s will. Yeah, don’t say this. It doesn’t matter if you’re religious or she is religious or notthis does not help. The receiver of this phrase may think, “So, it wasn’t God’s will for me to experience the joy of having a baby?” 
  5. This is really common, you’ll be OK. Don’t assume to know how she will be feeling.
  6. My friend had four miscarriages and now has two kids. Probably a well-meaning comment. You’re trying to be helpful and looking at the bright side and the possibilities, but when someone is going through a miscarriage and she is in the thick of it, she most likely doesn’t care about what happened to your friend.
  7. At least you have children at home. Just because they have children at home does not mean they didn’t want the one they were carrying. Having one thing does not negate the other.
  8. It wasn’t even a fully formed baby yet. Don’t even go there.
  9. At least you know you can get pregnant. “Great, but I can’t keep the baby,” is what I always thought when I heard the phrase.
  10. There must’ve been something wrong with “it.” There are two things wrong with this. First, don’t call the pregnancy loss “it.” Second, don’t assume you know what happened and why the pregnancy wasn’t viable.
  11. It’s all part of God’s plan. Why would God want this to be part of my plan? What is His purpose for my life? This question could have the griever spiraling in her thoughts.
  12. At least it happened early. It should never have happened! the griever will think.
  13. You wouldn’t want a baby with “issues” anyway. Oh, don’t ever assume you know what the griever is thinking or what they would want. 
  14. Did you do something you weren’t supposed to? Please for the love of all that it is good do not blame the woman who had the miscarriage. Yup, this question absolutely makes it feel like a blame game.
  15. Better sooner rather than later. Umm, no, she would rather this never happen, ever.
  16. Be grateful for the kids you do have. Just because someone is grieving her loss does not mean that she is not grateful for the children she does have.
  17. You don’t need any more kids. Opfttt, don’t go there. It’s not your decision as to whether or not your loved one should have more kids.
  18. Just enjoy the children you have. This goes along with the phrase, “Be grateful for the kids you do have.”
  19. Can’t you move on? It happened months/years ago. No, no, no. Just don’t. There is no timeline for grief.
  20. Look on the bright side. When someone is grieving, do not try to rush her grieving process by telling her to look on the bright side. Let her mourn her loss.
  21. It’s not in God’s plan. Let’s just leave out religious phrases that indicate that we know anything about God’s plan for our lives.
  22. It’s for the best. Never say this.
  23. Have you considered adoption? Now is not the time to bring this up.
  24. At least you didn’t know the baby. This is cringe-worthy.
  25. Shouldn’t you just move on already? This is rude and insensitive, just don’t.

What To Do If You’ve Said Something Hurtful to a Loved One

First of all, you’re human and I’m human. Sometimes, we say dumb and insensitive things to people we care about, and usually not on purpose.

RELATED: Grief is Like Crocs

If you know you have said something hurtful to a loved one during a miscarriage or pregnancy loss, acknowledge it to the griever, let her know you realize you may have said something insensitive or hurtful about her loss, and apologize.

Own it. By acknowledging your hurtful comment and giving a sincere apology, you will gain so much respect from the griever.

Originally published on the author’s blog

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Leticia Carpenter

I am a wife and a mom of four (two in Heaven and two on Earth). After going through two miscarriages, my goal is to serve and help as many women and families get through the trenches of miscarriage.

As Long as It Beats, a Grieving Heart Lives with the Pain of Loss

In: Grief, Loss
Woman walking through brown field with hand outstreatched

Life churns forward in a somewhat continued and steady momentum that I find I must consistently adjust my pace to keep up with. There isn’t tolerance in life for the way grief seems to ache for pause. In the silence of this space, my body feels crushed under the weight. I sit alone with my thoughts often. I’ve made peace with the solitude that surges in the aftermath of death. Maybe not peace. Perhaps it’s surrender. After all, which one of us doesn’t fall prey to the helplessness of mortality? I can no longer count on one hand those I’ve...

Keep Reading

6 Things You Can Do Now to Help Kids Remember Their Grandparents

In: Grief, Living, Loss, Motherhood
Grandfather dances with granddaughter in kitchen

A month ago, my mom unexpectedly passed away. She was a vibrant 62-year-old grandma to my 4-year-old son who regularly exercised and ate healthy. Sure, she had some health scares—breast cancer and two previous brain aneurysms that had been operated on successfully—but we never expected her to never come home after her second surgery on a brain aneurysm. It has been devastating, to say the least, and as I comb through pictures and videos, I have gathered some tips for other parents of young kids to do right now in case the unexpected happens, and you’re left scrambling to never...

Keep Reading

I’m Not Ready for Life Without My Mom

In: Grief, Loss
Woman sad sitting by a window looking out

I’m not ready. Not ready for time to just keep trudging forward without her. Four years have gone by, and I still think about her every day. When that awful third day of October rules around every year it’s like a tidal wave comes and sweeps me up tossing me this way and that. The rest of the year I can bob up and down with the occasional waves of grief. But the week before October 3rd the waves pick up, and I can’t see over the crest of one before the next is already upon me. I find myself...

Keep Reading

Since She Left

In: Grief, Loss
Older, color photo of mother and young daughter blowing out birthday candles

It’s been 14 years since she left. It’s like a lifetime ago and yesterday at the same time. The loss of my mother was indescribable. We never had a traditional relationship. As I grew older, our roles were very much reversed, but even still, missing one’s mother (for lack of a better word) is hard . . . plain and simple. Sometimes I wonder, what is it exactly that I miss? Of course, I miss talking to her. I miss how she drove me crazy. I miss her baking. I miss hearing about her newest needlepoint. I miss when she...

Keep Reading

I Carried You for Just 17 Weeks but I’ll Hold You in My Heart Forever

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Ultrasound image of baby in second trimester

September 11 will be a date that is forever etched in my heart, not only because of its historical significance but because it’s the day I saw your lifeless little body on the ultrasound screen. I couldn’t hold back the sobs. My chest suddenly felt heavier than a ton of bricks. I’ve been here before. I’ve had losses, but none this late. I didn’t feel their movements or hear so many strong heartbeats at my checkups. Your siblings felt you move and squealed with utter excitement. I want to wake from this nightmare, but it seems it’s my new reality....

Keep Reading

To the Woman Longing to Become a Mother

In: Faith, Grief, Motherhood
Woman looking at pregnancy test with hand on her head and sad expression

To the woman who is struggling with infertility. To the woman who is staring at another pregnancy test with your flashlight or holding it up in the light, praying so hard that there will be even the faintest line. To the woman whose period showed up right on time. To the woman who is just ready to quit. I don’t know the details of your story. I don’t know what doctors have told you. I don’t know how long you have been trying. I don’t know how many tears you have shed. I don’t know if you have lost a...

Keep Reading

I Was There to Walk My Mother to Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Hand holding older woman's hand

I prayed to see my momma die. Please don’t click away yet or judge me harshly after five seconds. I prayed to see, to experience, to be in the room, to be a part of every last millisecond of my momma’s final days, final hours, and final moments here on Earth. You see, as a wife of a military man, I have always lived away from my family. I have missed many birthdays, celebrations, dinners, and important things. But my heart couldn’t miss this important moment. I live 12 hours away from the room in the house where my momma...

Keep Reading

To the Loss Mom Whose Tears Keep Her Company Tonight

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Sad woman sitting up in bed with head in hands

Three pregnancies in one year. Three first trimesters. Three moments of celebration . . . until they turned to moments of sorrow. I’m sure every woman who experiences pregnancy loss has the thought, “I never thought this would happen to me.” I truly never thought this would happen to me. I have two healthy boys—conceived easily, uncomplicated pregnancies, by-the-book deliveries. We even thought we were done having kids . . . until the pregnancy test was positive. That’s when my heart opened up to more children, and I realized I ached to carry more life. Raise more littles. Nurse more babies....

Keep Reading

Cowgirls Don’t Cry Unless the Horse They Loved Is Gone

In: Grief, Kids, Loss
Little girls Toy Story Jessie costume, color photo

The knee of my pants is wet and dirty. My yellow ring lays by the sink—it’s been my favorite ring for months. I bought it to match Bigfoot’s halter and the sunflowers by his pasture. Bigfoot is my daughter’s pony, and I loved him the most. The afternoon is so sunny. His hooves make the same calming rhythm I’ve come to love as I walk him out back. A strong wind blows through the barn. A stall labeled “Bigfoot,” adorned with a sunflower, hangs open and I feel sick. I kneel down by his side as he munches the grass....

Keep Reading

Supporting the Grievers in the Aftermath of Suicide

In: Grief, Living, Loss
Two people walking down tunnel with arms around each other

She was a devoted mother of two boys with her husband of 26 years.  With him, she owned a metallurgy company, ran a household, and in her spare time, produced tons of crafts by hand, most of which she sold. When her younger son was diagnosed with autism, she read everything she could find on the subject, volunteered, advocated for the autism community, and developed programs for autistic children. She spoke at the National Autism Conference and was co-authoring a book to help parents navigate an autism diagnosis. We marveled at her energy and enthusiasm. She was at every family...

Keep Reading