What not to say to someone who has either a.) miscarried or is b.) adopting…
Unfortunately, I tend to hear comments in both these categories. Let’s start with category A… miscarriage.
- It’s God’s will. – Okay, I know that this may or may not be true, but it just isn’t helpful. God is loving and does not put His children through this just because. He may allow it for a greater purpose, because He sees what lies ahead, but I certainly don’t think He wills a pregnancy and consequently ends it. Just like a parent wouldn’t put a kid in a tree house or on a bike without training wheels and push them off just so they can learn the lesson from breaking an arm. You may allow the natural consequences, but you don’t force the pain.
- You can always have another. – Duh. This is by far one of the dumbest things. I know that. Let me go hit your dog with my car and tell you that. From the moment knowledge of that little life is growing, there’s a bond. There’s love. There’s attachment. There’s visions of curls and eyelashes and little toe nails. And demeaning that loss is grossly stupid of a supposed well wisher.
- You can always adopt.- Like those who go through infertility (read: me), those of us who lose a child (read:me) ache the loss of the ability to control our own bodies- to use our reproductive systems the way they are “supposed” to work. We hurt from the fact that something isn’t working how it is supposed to. Plus, it’s not always about the baby. It’s grieving the process. The pregnancy experience. Labor and delivery. The whole thing. Not to mention, for those of us who adopt (read: me), that comment takes a whole new level of offense. Adoption is not a lesser choice. This makes it sound like the “next best thing”- like picking Gain on the laundry aisle when you really wanted Tide. So hurtful. Adoption is different. Not the next best thing.
- At least it was early.- I don’t care how far along you are, losing a child hurts. Period.
I know that’s just scratching the surface of it, but those are the main ones that get to me, the ones that make me force a smile and walk away before I show a side I shouldn’t. Now… Category B. Adoption.
- Where’s her real mom? – You’re looking at her, Chump. I know, I know. You mean biological. But what real insinuates is that I’m fake, you know, pretend. And it doesn’t roll like that. Be factual. Biological, natural, first- those are all perfectly factual ways to describe birthparents. Use correct terms, because your words are more loaded than you can understand, and though it might just seem like I’m being sensitive, it goes so much deeper than your curious conversation.
- How much did she cost? – It’s one thing to inquire into the financial burden of adopting if you feel like it might be something you are called to do. But implying that an adopted child was purchased like you buy shoes is down right ignorant and really mean.
- She looks like she could be your own! – She IS MY OWN! See the first bullet point, please. She’s mine, I’m hers. And yes, she does ironically favor me and her father. It’s totally okay to point out the fact, in fact, we all agree- it’s cool!- but choose your words carefully.
There are many other lists like this out there, but I just needed to vent my personal peeves as conversations in my life tend to keep drudging these up. And being someone who deals with infertility AND recurrent miscarriages AND adoption… I just seem to get it all around when it comes to tread-carefully-when-discussing subjects. But, if by chance you do use one of these frustrating comments, I won’t be angry for long. Because so many people don’t get it- it’s not malice, it’s ignorance. If you’re reading this and you got married, had a baby, and life went on as typical, know that there is a very real part of me that envies that. That ability to bluntly put it, marry, conceive when you’re ready, and build a family. It is emotionally exhausting to work and work to get pregnant and have so many negative tests, so much money spent, so much anxiety on that rollercoaster, and miscarriage is like a freefall. Adoption is a similarly scary journey- like a road trip in a car with no brakes. And here we are going through ALL of it. Simultaneously. I don’t mean to be sensitive. I’m strong enough to “grow a pair” and deal with ignorant comments like the ones I listed. It just adds to the wear and tear, though, and it helps to have more build-ups than break-downs while you’re on these paths. I know it’s all going to be worth it in the end, and I know that we are supported, no matter how many times I hear those comments that make me cringe. We are still blessed. In fact, the more I type the more I feel kinda lucky that our faith and our marriage is strong enough to battle these foes, to hold on to hope, and to stay fearless. He has not brought us to something we can’t handle. He gives us fortitude to press forward, annoying & ignorant comments or not.