Grief is an extremely intimate thing. Usually, we aren’t given a choice when it comes to inviting people into our circle of grief. When a person dies, we can’t hide it. However, we can limit how many people know about a miscarriage. So then the question becomes: what are the pros and cons of telling people about a miscarriage?
First of all, I want to be clear that I don’t think anyone should grieve in complete silence. A miscarriage isn’t something anyone should feel like they need to hide. I highly encourage you to tell at least one person besides your doctor.
Secondly, there is not a right or wrong way to grieve. Some people will naturally feel comfortable telling everyone in their life. Then there are others who want to tell only family or their closest friends. If you have recently experienced a miscarriage, I hope this post will help you decide where you feel comfortable falling on that spectrum.
My Miscarriage Story
My husband and I had a miscarriage in December 2015. At the time I was 6 weeks pregnant. We had been looking forward to adding to our family for several months, and the loss of our baby hit us hard.
At the time of our miscarriage, we had only told one person that we were expecting our third child. It felt awful telling our parents that we were losing a child before they even had a chance to celebrate the new life with us.
At first, we only told our families and a few close friends. Eventually, we made our miscarriage “public” when I announced our next pregnancy here on Simply Rebekah.
The Pros and Cons of Telling People About a Miscarriage
Pro – You open yourself up to getting amazing support from those around you. Nate and I were blessed with some very practical help with meals and childcare. Of course the emotional support through prayer, flowers, cards, and visits were extremely meaningful to us. I can’t stress enough how important it was to me to have friends offer a listening ear when I needed to talk about my loss.
Con – You open yourself up to being disappointed by people’s lack of support. While some people continuously bend over backward to be supportive, others will not. Be prepared to be disappointed at least once. There may be people in your life you expect to check in on you often, but they rarely do. I had some people in my life who knew about our miscarriage, but never acknowledged the loss.
Pro – People have the opportunity to share their miscarriage stories with you. One in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. Most likely, you know someone who has experienced a miscarriage. Talking to friends who could relate to my story was so important to me. I appreciated being able to process my feelings aloud to someone who knew what I was going through.
Con – People say stupid things in an attempt to be supportive. They mean well, but sometimes the best of intentions fall flat.
Common phrases that may rub you the wrong way:
You can always try again.
At least you still have your other children.
God needed another angel.
It is probably for the best.
The worst thing I heard after my miscarriage was “The Great Physician has intervened, and we can trust His judgment.” This statement implies that God had taken my baby, but I truly don’t believe that. I believe we live in a broken world, and that God cries with us when we are suffering. If I placed the blame on God, I would have directed all of my anger onto Him also. That would have hurt my faith, which I desperately needed as I was grieving.
Pro – There are people you can call or send a text to when you are having a bad day, and they instantly understand. There was a pregnancy announcement that was really hard for me to hear. Our older children are the same ages, and we would have shared the same due date. Their announcement was even similar to what I had envisioned for our pregnancy. Although I was happy for them, I was also jealous. I shared the pregnancy announcement with a close friend, and she knew exactly why I was struggling with it.
Con – If everyone knows, then it is hard to “fake it” when you want to. After my miscarriage there were times when I wanted to go about my business and pretend that everything was fine. Everything was NOT fine, but I wanted to pretend at times. It was easier to put on a smile at my church’s moms group and the extended family Christmas rather than let my raw emotions out for the entire group to see.
Pro – Friends and family will understand if you are extra nervous if/when you get pregnant again. They can surround you with love and prayer as you journey through your next pregnancy.
Con – Friends and family may hesitate to celebrate your next pregnancy. I hated the idea of my friends and family being nervous about my next pregnancy. I had enough nervous feelings for all of us! So when Nate and I did get pregnant again, we decided to wait to tell everyone until we had completed the first trimester. I don’t think this is the right choice for everyone.
My Unexpected Struggle with Telling People About Our Miscarriage
The hardest part of our miscarriage was losing the baby. The second hardest part was how vulnerable I felt after telling our family and friends.
Nate and I have always been very hush-hush about our family plans. We didn’t tell anyone when we were trying to get pregnant with our older children. We loved surprising everyone with our happy news when we were expecting.
Nate and I went into our third pregnancy with the same plan. I was so excited to tell everyone that we were having another baby. Everyone was going to be so surprised. No one was expecting us to have a third baby.
But that isn’t how it worked out.
Instead, with tear stained cheeks, we told our families that we were losing our baby. And suddenly, I felt so exposed. My most private and personal dreams for my family were shared with everyone. This didn’t bother Nate, but I hated it.
I felt like everyone was now expecting another pregnancy and waiting for the news. It made me anxious and self conscious. I felt like I was under a microscope.
When we did get pregnant again, it wasn’t surprising to some. That was hard for me.
I don’t expect everyone to relate to my struggles with feeling vulnerable after our miscarriage. It isn’t necessarily a universal feeling, but it was one of the hardest aspects of my miscarriage. Yet, despite how much I hated feeling so exposed, the positives we experienced from telling family and friends about our miscarriage were worth it.
If you are nervous about telling people about a miscarriage…
There are some uncomfortable feelings that can come from sharing something so intimate with the world, but I strongly advise you to consider the positives. The positives may outweigh the negatives.
Perhaps start gently. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Tell someone you deeply trust. Test the waters.
And for whatever it’s worth, I am terribly sorry for your loss. It wasn’t suppose to be this way. I’m sorry.
Did you tell people about your miscarriage?
photos via Pixabay