Friday, December 2, 2011

Is My Grief Making You Uncomfortable?

I'm someone who wants to be asked about my miscarriages.  Ask me how I'm doing, tell me you're sorry—just acknowledge it.

On Thanksgiving Day, I saw many relatives I hadn't spoken to since my last miscarriage.  I'd initially told them about the pregnancy at 5 weeks because I couldn't contain myself when they were visiting at the time.  At 5 weeks, it was all smiles and congratulations.  Last week, 2 months after the miscarriage, it was radio silence.

I get it.  I don't know what to say to people who are grieving, either.  It's uncomfortable and awkward and there's always a possibility that they'll start crying.  Even with women who are going through losses similar to mine, I can't manage much beyond "I'm so sorry" or "You're in my thoughts." 

However, going through these losses has shown me just how much I want people to say something, even if it's the "wrong" thing (you know, like "At least you won't be pregnant during the summer!")  Yes, by saying something to me, you could make my eyes glisten or even cause a tear to fall.  It's ok.  You didn't cause me to be sad.  I'm already sad enough on my own.  I'm just touched and appreciative that you took a moment to brave a little awkwardness to show that you cared.

Once I figured this out about myself, I thought I had it all figured out.  Talking about grief = good, ignoring it = bad.  I decided to put this into practice when others were grieving—asking them how they were (at the appropriate time, of course), following up a few weeks later, etc. 

One day, I was talking about this topic with my husband and he rained on my parade.  To my surprise, he said that if he experienced a difficult loss, he would not want someone to acknowledge it, at least in person.  It would call too many emotions to the surface for him and he'd be irritated.

I get the impression that most women who have experienced miscarriage or infant loss (or another type of loss) want to be asked about it.  How do you feel about it?  What about your husband/partner?     


  1. I have to admit that I have been feeling this way too. Mine was in Nov, and it's almost been a month. . . I'm amazed at how my friends even, have not asked how I'm doing. I think they feel that since they see me smiling, and getting through the day - That I'm doing great. I feel this from family as well. . . It's hard wading through this pool of craziness. I certainly wouldn't mind if someone asked how I'm doing. Maybe even just so I can admit out loud that I'm actually doing okay now, or at least better than I was. In the beginning I didn't want to talk, but now I do. It seems to be a very strange thing that no one wants to talk about. I feel awkward bringing it up around others if they haven't said anything, so it kinda feels depressing dealing with this type of grief, alone. My Hubby and I have not really talked a lot about it, I mean we do at certain times, but I can tell it's hard for him, and honestly I know he would prefer no one to ask him about it. Always here if ya need :)

    Have a swell Day!!

  2. I'm always longing to talk about my miscarriage, and it was a whole year ago. I want it acknowledged. My heart aches when i realize that I'm the only one in the world who really misses my little one who never grew bigger than a blueberry. My husband was sad, of course, but I know that he doesn't think about it every single day, the way that I still do. I used to talk about my miscarriage quite openly, but I realized that it made people feel kind of uncomfortable, so I stopped for the most part.

    This is my first time visiting your blog, but I'll say it: your little ones counted. They were yours, and you were their mom, and they mattered. I'm so, so sorry for your losses.

  3. You are always welcome to come to my blog and talk about your experiences! I've definitely struggled with feeling very alone with my losses, and (worse) like I am supposed to spare people the 'yuckiness', awkwardness, inconvenience of bringing up the topic of miscarriage.

    I recall that Peggy Orenstein(sp?) 'Waiting For Daisy' book had a really interesting chapter or so about how the Japanese mourn and really acknowledge miscarriages with these little statues they visit and bring toys to or something? I found it really touching and cool.

    Anyway, not much else useful to contribute, but have definitely been there.

  4. Both my husband and I perfer to talk about it with people than ignore it. Me especially - it's more awkward when you pretend nothing happened.
    My hubby can go without talking about it, but doesn't mind when someone brings it up.

  5. Aw, your comments are making me tear up. It's so nice to feel less alone. Thank you!

  6. My friends and family have pretty much ignored my miscarriage. I miscarried early November. Thanksgiving it wasn't heard at all even in a whisper of "how are you doing?". Its as though to them it never happened and they all knew it did.

    I'd rather someone ask me so I can open up about it and help myself move on to healing.

  7. I am like you - I want to talk about it and appreciate it when people talk to me about it. It makes me feel validated. DH also talks really feely about our loss.

    But, a friend who is going through something really hard actually sent out an email saying she does not want to talk about it. I think grief is different for everyone, so you never know how someone is going to react.

    I often ask the person if they are comfortable talking about it or not before we have a conversation. I have seen it go either way.

  8. I agree that most people don't know what to do so they do nothing. However, in my opinion, if you are close to someone and you care about them you need to try something. Everyone is different, my family is open and we're all in each other's business. DH's family doesn't EVER talk about any hard topics, they ignore them and pretend they didn't happen. He has become more open with his feelings and emotions through infertility and our loss.

    We did receive alot of cards after our miscarriage but within about 2 weeks, hardly anyone spoke of it again. With my family and a few friends as an exception, the rest of the world moved on around us. It has certainly opened my eyes to how I can help someone else in their grief. I have found that by simply keeping in touch with someone through cards or even texts when they're on your mind is a great way to let them know your thinking of them and will open the door if they want to talk further.

    So thankful for this community of people who understand that our babies matter and they are the most special people in our lives! Wishing you all the best!! xoxo

  9. OMG! I was just having this exact conversation with my mother tonight. I so desperately need people to talk about it. I feel so alone these days, that just b/c I'm not an emotional mess, people think I'm okay - but inside I'm broken and so alone.
    Thank-you for validating my feelings. I think you've just confirmed my need to blog about this topic too (in a few days)

  10. I wanted to be asked about my losses, too. And felt like I couldn't, like it was just too taboo for people to mention. It made me feel so alone. My husband isn't much of an "emoter," and he sort of brushed it off like "no big deal, we'll just get pregnant again." Er... right. I grieved those losses. And you have every right to grieve yours and to be asked how you are, no matter how uncomfortable that makes people. Maybe if we started checking in with each other more often, it would feel less uncomfortable ...

  11. I'd rather someone talk to me about it. We had our work holiday party and someone who hadn't mentioned it all to me was talking about her niece who was sick. So we started talking about how God could let this happen to innocent children and babies. And she told me how sorry she was for me and how terrible she felt but she hadn't known what to say. I feel like sometimes people don't want to be uncomfortable by saying the wrong thing. But I feel like the wrong thing is better than nothing at all.

  12. Hey - Just wanted to let you know I gave you an award!

  13. First off, thank you for your sweet, encouraging comment on my blog! I really appreciate it.

    In response to your post, I can offer my perspective as an infertile woman with endo. I have found very few people want to talk to me about being infertile or having endo. I get it. It's awkward, and difficult. I actually would welcome more open discussion, especially with close friends and family. I feel like no one knows what to say to me. It can feel very isolating. :( I am so thankful I have twitter/blog friends that understand!

    Big hugs to you. I'm so sorry for your losses. xo

  14. I don't allow people to forget about it I think. I know it makes people uncomfortable - but I don't care. I'm hurting and I want people to acknowledge that! It really angers me when people don't ask how I am. I am the first one to celebrate and support friends when they are down, I wish people would do the same for me.

  15. Hi :) I received a blog award and wanted to pass it on to you! You can visit The Redhead Files for more details! Hope you are having a great week - Crystal

  16. I feel so much better when talking about my miscarriage.
    I tried following your blog but I can't blogger tells me I'm following you but I don't see it on your followers list :s I passed a blog award to you! Check out the post:

  17. This article was pretty helpful I thought in terms of telling what women want to hear. No one ever sent me a card and that would have been nice.

  18. Thank you for your comment a few weeks ago, and I'm so sorry for your losses. I relate so well to this post - after my first few miscarriages I couldn't hold my shit together in a social situation, but once I could and actually wanted to talk about it and have my grief (and my lost children) acknowledged, I realized how uncomfortable it makes people. I've found that others going through hard times, even if entirely unrelated to IF, are the only people who get it. I tell myself to not take it personally - it's out of ignorance and innocence and what society teaches us and blah blah. But it hurts, I agree.

    I was reading through some of your earlier posts and saw that your last loss was a normal girl. I got the same news from MC#5 this spring and it still breaks my heart. I'm just so sorry, and I hope your upcoming surgery really is your magic bullet. Hope you don't mind if I follow along :)