It is never easy to know what to do when a friend is experiencing pain or a loss of any kind. And miscarriage is particularly hard to discuss openly because it affects each of us who experience it differently and it is a tragically taboo topic. It is the loss of someone we didn’t get the chance to know, the loss of a dream for the future family we imagine, and a loss of innocence for future pregnancies. As we approached the due date for the pregnancy we lost, I wanted to reflect back on the things that other people did for me that really helped during that tough time. I felt so unbelievably supported and cared for because of the outpouring of love from my friends.
Here are some ideas of things to do for your friends if they are going through a miscarriage, taken directly from what my kind, generous, thoughtful and funny friends did for me:
Send a note, email, text, telefax or telegram.
It is so hard to know what to say when a friend experiences a loss like this, and it may seem easier to do or say nothing out of fear for saying the wrong thing. Not sure what to say? Then say, “I don’t know what to say. I’m so sorry.” No matter how eloquent or ineloquent, every single letter, text, note, email and voicemail meant so much.
I was just settling into the second trimester when I miscarried, so that meant most people in my world knew that I was pregnant. I was so grateful when a dear friend volunteered to tell our nearest and dearest about our loss so that I didn’t have to do the talking. This may be a job best suited for a sister or bestie, so if that’s you, volunteer to be the bearer of bad news.
Drop by food.
I was emotionally out of commission on the days following the no heartbeat news, and physically out of commission for a few days following my D&C. I so appreciated the simple meals and sweet treats dropped at the door for our family when cooking wholesome family meals was the last thing I wanted to do.
Share your story.
After I shared my story about my miscarriage, so many people reached out and said “me too.” It is at once heartbreaking and comforting to know that so many of other women have gone through this. Hearing their stories helped me know that I wasn’t alone.
Give a gift certificate for something your friend likes.
A thoughtful friend surprised me with a gift certificate for a pedicure with a note that said treat yo self. It was such a treat, and definitely in tune with the be gentle with myself mindset I adopted as I healed physically and emotionally.
It’s certainly not an occasion for champagne, but a bottle of wine is always divine. A sweet neighbor dropped off a bottle of wine at my door with a simple note basically telling me that she would totally understand if I drank it all by myself that afternoon. Flowers are nice too.
A best friend who has been there before sent me a sweet care package with a cute tea-cup, the makings of a vodka cocktail, ridiculous Jessica Simpson brand negligee, cozy socks, and an awesome sticker book for my daughter that prompted hours of independent play. Getting mail always puts me in a good mood and this particular package made me feel especially known and loved.
Get out with the kids.
Having a miscarriage sucked. But it was made better by the fact that I had two precious children already. That said, it is hard to be an emotional basket case in the fetal position and continue onward with perky parenting protocol as if nothing is wrong. Sweet friends took my oldest daughter on adventures, ice cream outings and playdates while I was out of commission. If a friend of yours is going through it, tell her that you are coming by to take her child on an adventure, outing, or playdate. I’m pretty sure that my oldest daughter had the best few days of her life while I was feeling low…which made me feel a little better.
Remember the dad too.
It takes two to tango, and the baby’s father experiences his own grief. It was amazing to see how supportive my husband’s friends were to him.
Sometimes tell, don’t ask.
In some cases, it is best to tell, don’t ask. So often we say no when someone offers to do something kind for us or offers to help us in any way. Instead of asking, “can I bring you dinner?” “Can I come get your big kid?” Tell. “I’m bringing dinner. I’ll leave it on the back porch.” “I’m going to pick up your daughter and take her to the park. I’ll have her home by 6.” Your thoughtful initiative will be appreciated.
Check in a week later, a month later, and around the due date. Knowing that we were due in September, my nearest and dearest asked how I was doing, or simply told me that they were thinking of me.
Odds are that someone you know has had or will have a miscarriage. So if one of your friends experiences a miscarriage, take a page from my peoples playbook and show you care. Any little word or deed will go miles to make your friend feel loved.