Unfortunately, I’m part of a large club of women who have experienced pregnancy loss. During my eighth week of pregnancy, our baby’s heartbeat was gone. I had no symptoms or warning that our baby was in danger, which is referred to as a missed miscarriage. The devastation is unlike anything I have ever experienced in my entire life.
My journey of grief and healing has been long and painful. It has taken me eight months, a million tears, support from friends and family, and a strong will to survive this to get back to a happy place inside.
How can you really help someone who is going through the heart shattering blow of miscarriage?
- Be present.
I’ll never forget who was physically there to hold my hand during one of the toughest times of my life. Sometimes, you don’t even need to say anything, just be there.
- Let her just be.
Everyone handles grief differently, so don’t judge. Not only was I extremely sad, but I was also very angry. There are 7 stages of grief a person will go through before they begin the uphill climb. Remember, some people get through these stages quicker than others.
- Be patient.
Understand that she is not herself right now. Be patient with her as she will one day find her way back, but it will take time.
- Refrain from using the words “at least.”
It has been ingrained in many of us since childhood to think of someone who has it worse and to find the silver lining in the situation by using the words “at least.” During pregnancy and infant loss, these words can sting. There is no “at least” in this situation. I cannot tell you how many times I heard the words, well “at least” you know you can get pregnant. That never made me feel better. In fact, it made me feel worse because I would have rather never been pregnant than to feel the pain that had shattered my heart and world to the core.
- Do not force her to do anything she is not ready for.
When I found out I was pregnant, three weeks prior my older sister announced she was pregnant with her second child. I was ecstatic we could go through our pregnancies together, then I lost my baby. Fast forward five months later and it was time for her baby shower. For weeks prior, I had spoken to family saying I wish I could just send a gift. I wasn’t sure I could handle being there. I hadn’t been at a baby shower since I lost mine, but family insisted I be there for her. It was exactly what I expected, DIFFICULT. I left in tears, and the progress I had made regressed. I should’ve listened to my gut and no one should have guilt tripped me in to being there.
- Do not complain about your pregnancy.
The last thing someone in deep grief wants to hear is you complaining about your pregnancy. While I’m sure it is hard being sick every day and gaining weight, some of us only wish we could be experiencing that instead of a broken heart.
- Don’t put a time frame on her grief.
No two people experience grief the same. Do not rush her during the grieving process. I really had people tell me that “I should be over it by now,” which was very disheartening. You never “get over” child loss. That special baby that I carried for a short time will forever be loved and hold a special place in my heart and soul. It takes time to move forward, and a bereaved mother should be allowed all the time she needs.
- Check on her often.
The most beautiful thing you can for your friend is to check on her often. Does that mean you have to show up on her doorstep daily? No. A simple text every so often is wonderful, and a phone call is even better. Showing you care can brighten up your grieving friend’s world and it is an act of kindness that will never be forgotten.
I hope these tips can help you to help your friend during her time of need. I do not wish miscarriage on anyone, but what I do wish is that you take a moment to there for someone going through this devastating experience. Your friendship and kindness can go a long way to someone who desperately needs it.
© Wendi and Strength 4 Spouses, 2017.
For more helpful tips of do’s, don’ts, things to say and not say, check out another helpful article written by Miscarriage Support Auckland Inc, “Helping Someone After Miscarriage.”