You most likely know someone who has experienced a miscarriage. Even if they haven’t shared their loss, chances are you’re friends with at least one person who has gone through this. Or you yourself have experienced a devastating loss. It’s hard to know what to do or say to help. Each person deals with tragedy differently, and you’ll have to use your judgement to determine the best way to offer assistance.
Physical stresses of loss exist as well as the emotional ones. You can offer support in many ways. You can watch other children so the parents may recover. A meal or supplies (such as paper towels or toilet paper) brought to the home are very helpful. Taking children to and from school, activities, and practices is a wonderful gesture. Some families want space to mourn their loss. Others may jump back in and move on as though nothing happened.
There is no right or wrong way to move forward. The best course of action for you to offer assistance may indeed be no action at all.
It can be difficult to know what to say. When we experienced a miscarriage, I knew everything said to me was said out of love and/or concern. While not all things were helpful, knowing I was cared for meant the world. A card, some flowers, or a plant may have induced some tears but also allowed my heart to heal. A lunch date in a quiet place with no pressure to talk about my feelings was amazing. If I was willing to talk, I knew I had several people willing to listen and not judge. That was huge. To be able to talk and not have judgement or platitudes placed on my words allowed me to mourn in my way.
My little one I never got to meet.
Years later, I still recall the kind words and gestures offered to my family. My laundry was done when I got home from an appointment, a meal was in the oven, and random mid-day playdates were offered to my children so I could catch a moment alone. A few-thumb-your-nose-at-loss gestures – including a cookie bouquet – still make me smile (I was an insulin-dependent gestational diabetic, so cookies were a no-no, but the gesture was wonderful). I was fortunate to be supported in a way that met my needs by thoughtful people around me. It opened my eyes to being aware of differences in dealing with loss among friends.
Simply put: miscarriage sucks. It’s devastating and hard. You can’t fix what your friend is going through. Remember, this is her journey and try to offer support in a manner that suits her situation and personality. And by doing so, maybe you’ll help her find the sun shining on a smile one day soon.