There was a television show “Kids Say the Darndest Things” which was very funny. They interviewed kids who would say typical child misunderstandings. Maybe this could embarrass a parent but they were kids who did not know any better.
People talk without thinking or are clueless. This is a continuation of the series of posts on things my wife or I have heard on foster care, infertility, miscarriage, adoption, and death. We have heard all of these and most more than once. I really am not trying to call anyone out or embarrass and I have said stupid things way too many times. My hope is if you catch yourself thinking any of these common cultural sayings, you’ll stop and find something more useful to do.
- “You can try to have another.” – This one might be my favorite. My wife had a failed D&C. She needed a hysterectomy but insurance required a Uterine Ablation as a hopeful cure. The doctor would not do the procedure until I had a vasectomy. The ablation did not work, and she had a hysterectomy. So, no, we cannot have another birth child. Above all else, who really thinks having another child replaces a child? Which child of yours could be replaced?
- “Come serve in [church kids area]. It will make you feel better to work with the kids.” – Someone said this after being told it was the beginning of a doctor-prescribed multi-week bed rest after the hysterectomy. We also failed to see how being with other people’s kids would help us grieve the loss of ours.
- “It happens to lots of people.” – Yes, it does. The statistic people throw around is ‘1 in 4 miscarry’. I think it is misleading. Maybe 1 in 4 pregnancies miscarry but not 1 in 4 couples. Many couples keep trying and failing until they have a child or give up. I have talked with many people who have had 4, some 9, and more miscarries. Each is a loss of a child. Try supporting the person in their loss.
- “We are there for you” and it’s cousin “Call if you need us.” – The few people who helped or who called us to check-in never said these things. You cannot expect someone grieving a loss to have the presence to ask for anything. You cannot be “there” without being here, or at least taking it upon yourself to call if you are too far away.
- “It’s a blessing because miscarriages occur when the fetus is deformed or diseased.” – … (speechless)
Miscarriage is losing a child. It is not the same as losing a child you have held in your arms. It is not the same as a child you spent years getting to know but it is the loss of your child. Saying words does little to help anyone. Be there. Do chores for a bit or at the very least bring meals.
Ask questions about how to talk about Foster Care, Adoption, Miscarriages, Infertility, and Child Loss. I will have a post on what people have said for each one. Ask what is appropriate or how to help a loved one through it in the comments below or private message. Have you heard other cliches?
Thanks to Donna Lloyd for helping me remember some quotes.
Photo by Gareth Davies on Unsplash