CAN WE PLEASE STOP TELLING PREGNANT WOMEN “EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE”

I’M currently 25 weeks pregnant and I’ve lost track already of the amount of times I’ve been told by people “everything will be fine.”

In early pregnancy, when we chose to share our news with immediate family, I was told by one person “everything will be fine!

After our first scan, when I told someone when our baby was due, quickly followed by an ‘all being well’, I was told I was past the dangerous time now and to relax because “it’ll be fine.

All will be well.

Everything will be fine. 

But as well meaning as people are, to be honest I’m getting a bit tired of hearing it, because the truth is not everything is fine for many pregnant women.

None of us want to think about it, but deep down we all know that every day excited expectant women are losing their babies and with them, a lifetime of dreams, hopes and happiness.

Every. Single. Day.

And whilst yes of course, pregnancy should be a happy and hopeful time and whilst no one wants to add to the anxiety that all pregnant women feel to some degree already, personally I think it’s about time that some people stopped being a little too flippant about it.

I have friends who have sadly lost their babies. Some in early pregnancy. Others much later.

One of my friends who was expecting around the same time as me, lost her daughter just over a week ago. The news broke my heart. I’ve struggled to find the right words to say to her since but still as her friend, I’m trying to find them.

Because I know she is not fine. Far, far from it. Her pregnancy dream has turned into a hellish nightmare whilst so far, mine is continuing.

Why am I so lucky to date?

Why was she not?

These two questions have rattled around my head since I first heard the news. I’ve been angry. I’ve been upset. But there is no answer of course. When it comes to mother nature, when it comes to pregnancy and motherhood, life throws the dice and all we can do is take our chances.

Many women experience baby loss and yet still pregnant women are told “oh, it’ll be fine.”

Why do people do this?

None of us know what is round the corner. We don’t have a crystal ball to see into our futures or that of anyone else. We have no idea what is coming. And that’s not to be doom and gloom about it all. But that’s the truth isn’t it? We don’t.

Which is why when someone tells me not to worry or that everything “will be fine” it takes me every fibre of my being not to scream at that and say, stop bloody saying that!

At 22 weeks pregnant, I was admitted to hospital after having a little pregnancy scare. On a Saturday morning I woke up in agony at home with severe abdominal pain and a few hours later when it was still lingering, I knew that this wasn’t normal.

Tearful and worried sick, I rang my midwife who advised me to ring the maternity department and a few hours later, in I went into triage to be thoroughly checked over.

I was one of the lucky ones. My severe pain turning out to be caused by a nasty and bothersome fibroid. But you know, for a while I didn’t think “everything would be fine” and I felt totally sick to my stomach.

I was terrified, anxious and incredibly emotional at the thought that I may lose my baby and today as I sit here typing this just a few weeks later, I still quite can’t believe my lucky stars.

Because I know it could have been so different. I’m well aware of how fortunate I am to still be carrying and growing my boy.

Yes pregnancy should be a happy, joyous and hopeful time. Yes, it should be full of excitement and anticipation and planning. That’s all any of us can hope for and pray that we experience.

And I certainly don’t wish to frighten anyone or make anyone more anxious, myself least of all. But it’s a topic we need to talk about. It’s a subject that needs approaching more carefully.

At 25 weeks I’m now tentatively beginning to consider shopping for my baby boy, something I’ve been longing to do for weeks. But I also know I still have a long way to go.

Such is the dilemma we all face when pregnant. When is it the right time to buy things? When should we tell people? Will it jinx us if we share our news online? etc, etc.

That anxiety, even for those of us that have experienced happy endings before, is always there at some level.

 

So today, to mark Babyloss Awareness Week, I’d like people to please stop telling pregnant women “everything will be fine.” I’d like people to stop being so flippant and casual when it comes to pregnancy and baby loss. I’d like people to say things with a little more caution and sensitivity.

Of course we should be happy for people when we find out they’re having a baby and hey if you ever see me or chat to me, please do ask me about my dreams and hopes for my pregnancy and child. Feel free to share your own happy pregnancy stories and endings with others too. All of us need to hear these tales.

But let’s not forget the many women who have experienced baby loss.

Let’s not forget that things sadly can and do go wrong in pregnancy.

Let’s not forget the babies that didn’t make it or the heartbroken mums and dads who have lost a much loved and longed for child.

When you speak to a pregnant woman, allow her to chat about her anxieties and fears. And if you don’t know what to say, just listen.

Wish pregnant women and their partners well. Be happy for them. Delight in their news.

But please, if you’re one of those “everything will be fine” people, STOP saying it.

Because it may just not be. And for that reason alone, it’s time we all thought of different words to say.



 

 

 

 

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10 Discussions on
“CAN WE PLEASE STOP TELLING PREGNANT WOMEN “EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE””
  • I totally agree! As you know, I’m a week behind you in the pregnancy journey at 23 weeks and I’m so lucky to already have a beautiful 1 year old boy, but before him I lost a baby girl to a genetic brain condition at 16 weeks. Both my subsequent pregnancies have been under close scrutiny for obvious reasons, and I have also had my share of ‘everything will be fine’ both times! In fact, I also had it in the horrific month from 12 to 16 weeks of waiting to find out what was wrong with my baby girl. I think people just say it to be reassuring, but to me, it sounded too flippant under the circumstances. It also took us 10 years to get to the stage I’m at now, and I could write you a list of things not to say to someone who’s trying for a baby. I got to the stage where, if someone said ‘it’ll be your turn next’ I’d reply ‘I’m sorry I didn’t realise there was a queue!’ xxx

  • I didn’t buy anything for Luca until late on in pregnancy and was always saying “all being well”. I think everyone thought I was being really glum about the whole thing but just because everything is fine at your scans doesn’t mean everything will be fine. There are so many things that could happen between conception and your child being born and even after that means I was worried the whole way through. I was very fortunate and have been very fortunate not to have been through the emotional rollercoaster so many women trying for babies do but my mum wasn’t. I’ve counted my lucky stars since I found out I was pregnant until now and just hope if we ever have another we will continue to be so very lucky. X

  • Thank you for writing this, Katie. As you know I’ve lost two babies from two pregnancies – Hugo, and this summer’s miscarriage. I think people say ‘everything will be fine’ because they don’t want to think of the alternative, it’s too horrible. But the alternative DOES happen, and these meaningless platitudes help no one – especially the bereaved parents who can be left feeling as though they failed or did something wrong xxx

  • Oh honey, you always seem to perfectly capture my own feelings when you right. I admit that before I started trying for a family this was something I said. But now everything is different. Since writing about my miscarriages and pregnancy after baby loss I have had many women contact me for advice and support. I really wish I could see into the future and tell them everything would be alright. But I now that it isn’t always true. Even my best friend told me she has a good feeling about one of my pregnancies. Only for me to miscarry a week later. When I announced my pregnancy with Little Mister I didn’t want congratulations. I was still terrified and anxious. And until he was born I still believed that I would lose him. But I was fortunate. He was a fighter. But even with his birth everything still wasn’t fine. I have still miscarried four babies. And that means I will never fully be fine again. Thank you so much for writing and big hugs. Lucy xxxx

  • Thank you for this, having lost 4 babies to miscarriage and being 13 weeks in to pregnancy number 5 I don’t want to tell anyone at all for this very reason, I don’t want people constantly telling me everything will be OK when I know the harsh reality is that this is not always the case, it’s an awful place to be when you can’t enjoy pregnancy one little bit!
    Wish you a happy and healthy pregnancy.x

  • Admittedly, it’s one of those situations where you don’t know quite what to say or how the other person will react. But what else can you say to a friend who is voicing her fears about pregnancy, other than “everything will be fine”? It’s what we say to our friends everyday in other situations when they are feeling anxious but there is nothing we can physically do to help, why should it be any different for pregnancy? I personally say those words out of affection and, in my view, to help promote positive feelings in the expectant mother about her pregnancy- offending someone or causing them to worry even more is the last thing I would want.

    Isn’t it worse to not offer any reassurance? Or to encourage to friend to dwell on everything that might go wrong? Or to say nothing at all?

    I would value any advice on what the appropriate response would be to someone who is fretting about her pregnancy. What would you like to hear in this situation?

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