Pregnancy Loss & Infertility – What Not to Say or Ask

There are some questions and statements that are better left unsaid. I’ve learned this by making the mistake of asking and/or by being asked these questions. In my experience, here is what to avoid:

  1. When are you having kids? Lesson learned on this one. You never know what is going on in a couple’s life. For all you know, they are trying to have kids and are dealing with fertility issues, have miscarried, or something else. Maybe they don’t want children, and that’s their choice. 
  2. When are you having more kids? Case in point, our situation. We want more kids and have miscarried. Don’t ask. It may be very painful for the couple to be asked this question. It may also be possible that they don’t want anymore kids. 
  3. Are you trying to have kids? Really? Did you just ask a couple about their sex life? Yes, yes you did. A couple’s intimate life is none of your business. Refer back to questions #1 and #2. You have no idea what is going on in a couple’s life or what their preferences are for a family. 
  4. It’s God’s/nature’s way of correcting a mistake. My baby was a mistake? God/nature messed up? Then why did God/nature allow me to get pregnant in the first place? Isn’t God supposed to be all knowing? This statement is absolutely true. Absolutely. Obviously, if a woman is going through a miscarriage, there was something wrong with the pregnancy. But this is not at all helpful. That’s my baby, my baby can’t be a mistake.
  5. God won’t give you more than you can handle. Read this blog post by Lemony Things. It really does a nice job of explaining why God will indeed give you more than you can handle. So the statement is not helpful, because it is not true. We’re supposed to trust in God and put our struggles to God in those difficult moments…BUT… (read #6)
  6. Trust in God/God has a plan. That’s great, and surely it’s true. But not really helpful when someone is grieving a loss or dealing with fertility issues. Trusting that God’s plan was for you to lose a baby or struggle with fertility, that’s a really hard pill to swallow. I will never understand, nor will I ever claim to understand, why God blessed me with a pregnancy to then take it away from me.
  7. Your baby was too precious, they needed to be with God. I said this in my Dear Angel post, that I knew that God needed my baby and she/he was more needed in Heaven. It’s one thing for the mother/woman, to say this, it’s a whole other thing for someone else to say this to the grieving mother. We don’t want our baby to be with God, we want our baby to be in our arms.
  8. You can always try again. Yes, you can always keep trying or try again. But it’s not always as simple as trying again. Sometimes, after a miscarriage, there’s physical healing and emotional healing involved. For me, trying again was like saying my baby that I lost didn’t matter and he/she could just be replaced. In my heart, my Angel will always be my baby.
  9. You’re lucky! We got pregnant right away and it took all the fun out of it! Oh, how I wanted to smack people who said this to me when we were trying to get pregnant before M! We were trying for the better part of a year before he was conceived. It becomes a chore! I can kind of see the point if it happens right away, but 6+ months and it’s no longer fun. It’s stressful, it’s tiring, it’s a chore, and you worry there might be something wrong with you.
  10. Enjoy! It will happen fast! And here’s hoping it does, but many times, those dealing with fertility issues or healing after a miscarriage, it doesn’t happen fast. And if it does happen fast, it may end in another miscarriage. 
The bottom line? Be careful what you say. You never know what is going on in someone’s life and pregnancy, fertility, all that, it’s really a very personal experience between a man and woman. If you’re not sure if you should say anything, then you’re better off saying nothing. If you know that someone is struggling, the best thing you can say is: I’m sorry or I’m here for you. Offer a hug, a hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on, that’s all we ask for when going through this struggle. Yes, I still struggle.

What else would you add to the list?

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13 thoughts on “Pregnancy Loss & Infertility – What Not to Say or Ask

  1. Thank you for this post. I had one normal pregnancy that produced our wonderful son, and, since his birth, I have had 3 miscarriages in a row. It has been devastating. I can’t tell you how many times people have looked at our (now very tall) toddler and said: “He is getting so big! It’s time for another one!” And I just have to smile and nod and say, “We would like that.” when I really want to sob and/or smack them and say: “I have had three, three, THREE miscarriages. My heart is half-dead. How dare you?”

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    1. Oh I know! It’s a punch in the heart anytime someone asks me about having another child. It’s so hard because I know people’s hearts are in the right place and they don’t mean anything by it, but it’s so painful to be on the receiving end.

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  2. It’s so hard when people ask about having more children, we’ve been asked the same and our struggles are so hard to talk about. Thank you for sharing this!

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  3. Different, but also sort of related: People will ask very inappropriate questions about our adoption. I remember very vividly the first time we told a stranger we were adopting, she looked at me with sad eyes and said “can’t you have any of your own?” Inappropriate in so many ways. If I had struggled with infertility I can only imagine how heartbreaking that would feel. And for me it makes me feel like you consider my adopted child to be less important/special/whatever because they are not biological. -Margaux

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    1. I can only imagine the assumptions people have when you’re choosing to adopt. Your baby will be 100% your child and no less important/special than your biological child. Adoption holds a special place in my heart since 2 of my cousins are adopted and biological or not, they are my cousins, my family.

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  4. Thank you so much for putting it in words. I’m still struggling so badly that all i find are tears but no explanation for others to understand why their words aren’t helping. Love ya♥

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  5. Thanks for sharing! I have two close friends that experienced miscarriages. It was so hard because I just didn’t know what to say. I tried not to say a whole lot and just listen. Good news is that both of them are pregnant again!! One is actually having her son in a week – so excited for her!

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