All grief is messy and everyone experiences it differently. Grieving a miscarriage has its own unique challenges. It’s isolating, dark, and often feels like something you shouldn’t even talk about. It often makes people uncomfortable. If you haven’t experienced a miscarriage yourself, it’s hard to relate and know what words to say. This is in no way bashing anyone who has ever said, done or not done the things listed below. The majority of the time, people’s intentions are good, but it’s hard to see that when you’re in the thick of grief and loss. I wanted to provide tips that would help both those that have experienced pregnancy loss and those around them. Here are just a few “do’s” for when someone you love goes through this traumatic loss:
1. Say something.
There are no perfect words to say. Nothing will take away the pain, anger, confusion, etc. Likely nothing you say will even help, but saying something is better than saying nothing. After three miscarriages, I can honestly say that the support I received after each one was different. People are a lot more vocal the first time around, I think because it’s easier to rationalize it as a random occurrence at that point. After two, three, four, five, six, etc…it becomes more difficult to rationalize and know what to say. If you are worried your words may sting, just say “I’m sorry” and leave it at that. Keep it simple. Don’t try to fix it or make them feel better, just let them know that you’re there and you care.
2. Do something.
Don’t put the ball in their court. Many people told me to let them know if I needed anything, and I never did. Not because I didn’t need something, but because I didn’t know what I needed or didn’t want to burden anyone by specifically asking for things. Stop by, make a casserole, send a text message, make a phone call, send flowers…whatever you are able and want to do, just do it.
3. Be understanding.
I’ll admit that I wasn’t always the best sister, daughter, friend, wife, etc. after each miscarriage. I missed events, didn’t reply to messages, and sometimes just fell silent and wanted to be alone. And I think that’s okay. It wasn’t that I wanted to be that way, I just couldn’t. I couldn’t attend baby showers or kid’s birthday parties. Sometimes hearing people talk about their own children made my entire body ache and my heart split into pieces all over again. Time passes and grief gets easier to deal with but please just be understanding (and extend grace) in the meantime.
4. Recognize the loss.
I never met, and will never meet (on this side of Heaven), the three babies that I lost but they are still so very real to me. Be sensitive to that. It isn’t always about getting pregnant again and having another chance at having a take home baby, it’s about the fact that I grew those babies inside my belly for weeks, prayed for them, thought about what they’d look like and who they would become, and then they died. The only proof of their existence is the ache in my heart and the black and white sonogram photos. Just acknowledge that this is a real loss and it is absolutely terrible.
5. Let me talk about it, if I want to.
Even though miscarriage is a hot topic in the media lately, in day to day life, that isn’t the case. There have been times that I’ve mentioned it to people (when it comes up in conversation), and just like that, things were awkward. We should be able to talk about the things that bring us pain just as much as what brings us joy. Infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, etc. shouldn’t cast a veil of discomfort when they’re brought up. These are facts of my life now, scars that I’ll carry with me forever, and that’s just how it is.
Miscarriage can be very lonely, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Let’s learn to sit with each other in the dark and painful times just as much as we celebrate together in the happiness. And, please, if I can be there for anyone going through any of this, let me know.
Please leave any comments below and share! I appreciate the support so much.