9 Things Not To Say When They’ve Had A Miscarriage Or Loss

9 Things Not To Say When They've Had A Miscarriage Or Loss

It’s thought that as many as one in five known pregnancies end in miscarriage.

This number is even higher if pregnancies that are not yet known about (before a woman’s period was due) are included.

Though they are considered to be quite common, miscarriage and loss is still seen as a taboo subject.

If you haven’t experienced miscarriage or loss, it can be difficult to find the right words to say when someone informs you of their loss.

You may find yourself blurting out cliches in a desperate attempt to say something.

To the person coming to terms with the loss, however, your words could unintentionally cause more harm than good.

Here are some things that people who have suffered from a miscarriage or loss simply do not want to hear:

#1: It Was God’s Will

You may be religious, but that doesn’t mean everyone is. For someone who doesn’t believe in God, it can be upsetting when you try to dismiss the tragedy as “God’s will”. Even if the person is religious, that doesn’t mean they will be accepting of the idea that their loss was a part of God’s plan. Loss is heartbreaking, soul-destroying and difficult to terms with. Simply explaining it away with religion does not help, and it could actually leave the person feeling angry, at either yourself or God.

#2: It Wasn’t Meant To Be / Was For The Best

If there’s one thing any person who has suffered a loss or miscarriage will tell you, it’s that it was not meant to be. And there is no way that the person feels that the miscarriage was for the best, so you shouldn’t even think about letting those words cross your lips.

#3: Your Baby Is In A Better Place Now

You may believe in heaven, but not everybody does. Not everyone finds comfort in the afterlife. Chances are, your friend probably believes very strongly that the best place for her baby was right inside her uterus. Don’t talk about angels or spirits or anything along those lines, because your friend may not share the same spiritual beliefs as you. Listening to someone else’s spiritual belief system offers little comfort during times of need.

#4: Time Heals All Wounds

In one sense, this one is sort of true. Emotional pain does get easier to live with over time, the edges feel less sharp, and you find yourself crying less as time goes on. This is true for relationship breakdowns, the death of a loved one, and the loss of a much-wanted baby. But – and it’s a big but – it doesn’t even help to hear that at the time. Nobody has ever felt better by hearing that one day, in the distant future, they may feel slightly less upset that they do today.

#5: I Know How You Feel

Unless you yourself have experienced a miscarriage or loss, then you simply cannot know how she feels. Even if your sister or best friend has suffered a miscarriage, you still will not know exactly how she is feeling. So, unless you have been through it, please don’t claim to understand it. Even if you have experienced a miscarriage or loss, you may not understand the full range of emotions being experienced. Each loss is different, and you may not share all the same feelings about your different experiences.

#6: It’s Time To Get On With Your Life

Getting on with your life isn’t something that happens because someone else demands it. Learning to cope with the loss, and struggle through each day, is something that happens when a person is ready. You cannot say when a person should be ‘over’ such a loss. There is no standard time frame for grief, everyone is different. If you are worried that your friend may be suffering from more than just grief, there are better (and kinder) ways to suggest this.

“Don’t ever put a time limit on when the person should feel better, it is different for everyone.” — Erin

#7: At Least You Have/Can Have More Children

Your friend isn’t even thinking about those things right now. All she’s thinking about is how much she wanted this baby. By talking about other children, you are essentially sweeping her pain under the carpet and implying that this baby was not important. It’s also important to remember that some women may not be able to have more children. Unless you have the mother’s medical notes in front of you, you simply cannot know the full details of the situation.

“Something I heard a lot was ‘at least you still have 3 healthy children.’ This is true, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to grieve the loss of others.” — BellyBelly Fan

#8: It Could Have Been Worse

It couldn’t, not to the grieving parent. To your friend, losing this baby was the absolute worse thing that could have happened. In this moment, nothing else matters. Don’t start talking about other miscarriages, once you deem to be ‘worse’, because there is no such thing. Grief is a personal experience, and there is no need to make comparisons between different tragedies.

“We have had 3 and we most often get, ’you’re still young, enjoy life while you can.’ We sure would enjoy life with little ones alongside us!” — BellyBelly Fan

#9: I’ll Give You Some Time

Please do not stay away unless specifically asked (some parents do like privacy and space). Often the bereaved parents need your support – you may even like to ask how you can best support them if you’re not sure. Shying away from the subject does not lessen the feelings of loss, and can make the parents feel like no-one understands them or can handle their difficult emotions. What your friend really needs is for you to be there for her – or him. Nothing you say will ever upset the bereaved parent as much as the loss of the child. Stay close, be there for the parents, and offer them a safe space to grieve. It is usually just the simple little things you say or do that mean so much.

“The worst was for me when people acted like it never happened. My baby was real and did exist… mine and my husbands pain is real.” — BellyBelly Fan

Don’t Forget…

Don’t forget that it’s not just a mother that is grieving, but a father too. Often fathers speak of not having the support they need – miscarriage and loss is not really something men bring up with workmates or others, leaving them coping with difficult feelings all alone. Whatever you do, don’t forget to check in with dad.

Other Things Not To Say

Below are some comments from our members and fans.

“The worst for me was people constantly asking if I knew what caused it, people don’t understand that majority of the time the doctors can’t even answer that for you.” — BellyBelly Fan

“[I was told] ‘at least it was early on and you didn’t have a real baby that died.’ That was like a knife to my heart. Yes I was only 2 months along but my baby was as real to me as any newborn – and the loss was devastating.” — BellyBelly Fan

“I was told, ‘hopefully it was a boy since you wanted a girl’ … those words hurt more than they know.” — BellyBelly Fan

“I was told by someone just after losing my baby that I had too many kids anyway. Some people can be so harsh and cruel.” — BellyBelly Fan

“When I had a miscarriage, my own sister said, ’I’m glad, because honestly I didn’t think you’re ready to be somebodies mother.” — BellyBelly Fan

“The worst for me was people constantly asking if I knew what caused it. People don’t understand that majority of the time the doctors can’t even answer that for you.” — BellyBelly Fan

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Last Updated: September 18, 2015


Kelly Winder is the creator of BellyBelly.com.au, a writer, doula (trained in 2005), and a mother of three awesome children. She's passionate about informing and educating fellow thinking parents and parents-to-be, especially about all the things she wishes she knew before she had her firstborn. Kelly is also passionate about travel, tea, travel, and animal rights and welfare. And travel.


  1. a family member told me when I lost my son that his death was for the best because I wasn’t going to be able to feed it anyway and that at least he didn’t have to suffer in poverty!

    1. I am 20 Weeks pregnant and I couldn’t even imagine losing my baby girl. I had a friend, who has four kids, and his fifth was on the way…sadly his wife miscarried early on, very early, but the pain he felt makes me cry just thinking about it. I didn’t know what to say, all I could say was that I was so sorry for his loss, and that if he needed anything to let me know…I felt horrible. I felt like I was asking him if he was okay too much, when I saw him at work…his face, his tears, were enough to know though.

    2. Excited as any other mother to be, I continued to let everyone know about the exciting news. My husbands mother was the first to know. After the miscarriage She said “I knew it was going to happen since U were too excited talking about it, but I didn’t tell U anything” our relation is non exsistant after 11 yrs. Now I have 2 beautiful daughters and all they need is our love!!!

  2. Really appreciate this article. I lost my 1st son during delivery. Was the hardest thing I have ever gone through. My husband was very upset of course. We had lots of friends and family that supported us. Did hear a few of the things you mentioned. I remember though about a month after it happened that my husband came home from work one day and it was obvious I had been crying. He responded by asking me “why are you still so upset?” I could not believe he had been that heartless. I now have had 2 other sons since that and even though this coming July he would be turning 11, I still miss him and think often of the milestones I missed, of what he may have been like, what grade he would be in now. Whenever a woman loses a child, even if its only their 1st trimester, that is a life she will never forget and a pain that will never go away. Support is essential in the healing process. And for those that have never experienced this type of loss, instead of trying to give some philasophical advice, just simply be there. Be a sholder to cry on, an ear to listen, or even just be there and make the painful silence a little more bearable. So many people think you have to always have something to say. Me personally, often I would just be lost in my own head and didn’t feel like saying anything. But having someone else around, even if they didn’t say a word, helped me to not feel so alone. So I wanted to say thank you for this article. I will even be using this as a reminder for myself should I ever need to help someone going through this. Even good for ones that want to help, but can’t really empathize because they’ve never gone through anything like this.

  3. A friend congratulated me when I lost my baby, because she is still hoping for fruit of the womb. Another told me that my husband and I are still young. I hate it.

  4. Although a miscarriage is a horrible loss, to which I’ve had two. . Nothing compares to the loss of a child. I don’t like when someone who has had a miscarriage(s) tells me, I know what you’re going through. My son was 6 months and 4 days old. I held him, changed him, feed him, played with him. . He had a big smile and a beautiful personality. It is no where NEAR the same thing. They are both tragic losses, but please don’t compare the loss of not meeting your baby, to me losing someone I knew personally. Not trying to be rude by any means. . But it droves me insane, especially having had two myself. The grief and pain is in no way, shape or form, close by any means.

  5. I was told by someone it was probably cos I had my children too close together also had someone say at least you have your children which obviously is a right but doesn’t mean I don’t hurt for the babies I have lost.
    several years ago I remember reading something similar to this about things people say to someone who has suffered loss and one was for when someone says about having kids the response was “if you lost your mother would grieving fir her make you any less grateful for your father” just because you grieve your lost babies doesn’t make you love your living children any less

  6. A family member kept telling me and my husband that us loosing our baby at 13 weeks was a blessing in disguise. Those words hurt me big time.

  7. Actually, #1, #2, & #3 I would not mind hearing.
    My husband’s grandma actually said “You need to get on birth control.” The first words out of her mouth as soon as I told her. It was my second miscarriage.

  8. While this kind of information can be really helpful to some, do you think there may be some suggestion of positive things to do for those who have suffered a loss or miscarriage? I am 26 and have lost and set of twins at 14 weeks 3 days and and second miscarriage that I never told anyone about except my partner, as my experience with the first time around people had no idea what to do or say for me. There was just a lot of “I’m so sorry”. If anyone could provide coping tools for friends and family I think that would be really positive and helpful.

    1. Yes, the whole time I was reading this article I was just hoping that at the end of it there would be some positive suggestions. 🙂

  9. Immediately after I miscarried while I was still in the hospital bed the nurse told me as she was giving me pain medication, “just wait until you ACTUALLY are going through labor when you’re REALLY pregnant.” Although I was only 13 weeks and 3 days, I’ll never forget those words.

    1. Oh my god! I would of asked for badge number / name and asked for the director and tell them what happened and told him or her- that nurse needs to be retrained or fired for being insensitive to my – your situation and countless women & men she has dealt with!

  10. My gynaecologist confirmed my miscarriage with the words ‘it’s no big deal it happens all the time.’ I was in shock and devastated, I wanted that child more than anything… The next devastating comments came from loved ones ‘at least you know you can conceive’.
    My baby may have only been a little blob of cells when I lost it, but to me it was a baby- a living being… Sometimes I think people would be better off saying nothing than putting their feet in their mouths.

  11. After 7 years of trying and finally being pregnant I had a miscarriage at 12 weeks. When I told My mother as I was crying she said Well don’t cry about it. Maybe you are not meant to be a mother. She knows how much we want a family and how much we were struggling and for her to say that broke my heart even more. Who says that to their own child? We have now been trying for 10 years we have had several miscarriages and chemical pregnancies but I have now not told anyone especially my mother about them.

  12. The day I had a miscarriage of my almost 5 month girl, the doctor (in a public hospital, but still…) said to me: “What you had was not a baby, was just an abort, because it was too little” my baby survived 2 days in the NICU, she grabbed her father’s finger, she cried.
    I’ll never forgive that doctor, and still can’t understand why he was so mean

  13. My ex boyfriend (who was the father), not only told me that it was for the best and that he didn’t wanted the babies anyway, but also that (after a week I had the miscarriage) I should be over it already because “life is terrible for everyone” and “My father shoot my dog once”. Idiot.

  14. My bro-inlaw and boyfriend were talking about birthday presents and how when their kids give them a pouty face they can’t resist on giving them what they want and I said “I’d make them wait for birthday presents”…. I Just miscarried at almost 7 weeks and my boyfriend that has a daughter already told me “you wouldn’t understand your not a mother.” It’s like I know that but It hurt my feelings and I don’t think he realized how much.

  15. I recently had a miscarriage. I have surgery in 3 days. Im trying to take it day by day. One of my friends just told me yesterday, that I have a lot of kids already…. and pretty much sounded like since I have 3 kids, that I didn’t need another one. That hurt. She only has one kid and I am sure she never went through this, so I hope she didn’t mean what she told me. 🙁

  16. Losing a child- is incredibly hard. I’ve lost one child and We are lucky we have a healthy son.
    I will not try to have any more children. The pain of going through this again- is heartbreaking, your soul divides and your mental health crumbles.
    I have been in therapy for 7 months off and on, the support groups are better, last week I was able to give away majority of the baby items- I’m keeping two things. I’m not as numb- working out helps- Love MMA.

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