Women who have suffered miscarriages are supporting each other online through an Instagram account encourages people to say the ‘right’ thing to those experiencing loss.
The Miscarriage Association account features both men and women who have been through miscarriage, ectopic or molar pregnancies holding signs tagged with either ‘#Say’ or ‘#DontSay.’
The things people find unhelpful to hear are things that detract from the very real feeling of bereavement after losing a baby.
One man holds a signs that says: ‘Everything happens for a reason #dontsay’, and another woman holds one which reads: ‘Maybe you just can’t carry girls’.
Alongside each picture there’s a personal narrative from the sign holder, talking about their experiences with miscarriage.
‘I used to hear “it wasn’t meant to be” a lot,’ says Jemma, who had three miscarriages between 2010 and 2013. ‘A good friend told me that it was because “maybe I couldn’t carry girls”… A lot of people would tell me that it will happen, eventually. I would also get a lot of people analyzing what could have caused it… Asking questions like, “have you taken any medicine”, etc. I would also hear “why do you need another one? You already have a child”.’
Another woman, Michelle, holds a card saying ‘#DontSay you can try again!’.
‘People’s responses to miscarriage can be so different. Some people would ask how I was whereas others just didn’t know what to say and would avoid saying anything to me about it. I just wanted someone to talk to and listen to me,’ she says.
Many of the things people found most reassuring were simple gestures of caring and offering support. For most of the people in the campaign, a simple ‘I’m so sorry’ was appreciated.
‘I understand that it is hard to know what to say to someone who has miscarried. That is why I think awareness is so important,’ writes Natasha. ‘We need to get the message out that you don’t need to know what to say, or put a positive spin on it. Just saying you’re thinking of them is enough.’
Lizzie holds a sign up that says: ‘Tell me HOW it feels #Say.’
‘My experience of recurrent miscarriage has been one of finding the courage to talk about struggle and loss, because I’ve found that it’s only in articulating and expressing my grief that I’ve been able to move forward and find hope and healing,’ she explains.