A dear friend gave me the inspiration for this post. Many women suffer through miscarriages alone because they are afraid of what their friends and family will do or say. And for good reason! Some people said the most outrageous things to me after my miscarriages, like, “maybe you should just go ahead and get your tubes tied,” or “when are you going to just get over it?” Or the worst one: “At least you didn’t lose a real baby!”
Before I begin on how to comfort someone dealing with miscarriage, let me first describe to you how she might be feeling about the whole thing right now. As anyone who has been pregnant knows, you feel an instant connection with the little human in your womb from the instant you see that positive pregnancy test. You love him/her (them!) already. From the moment you realize you’re pregnant, it consumes 99% of your thoughts and feelings. And when you realize you are miscarrying, you feel like one of your children has died. Probably because one of your children has died. And I’m not comparing it to when someone has lost a child who had already been born because that is ludicrous. You don’t see mothers who have lost 20 year olds trying to compare their grief to mothers who have lost 5 year olds. It is incomparable other than the fact that they are all grieving. My point is that mothers who have experienced miscarriage should be allowed to grieve too. Which brings me to my first bit of advice:
1) Be a sympathetic listener and allow her to grieve. Don’t try to pass off her miscarriage as no big deal. It is a big deal to her.
2) Bring dinner, flowers, or some treats. Some people did this for us and it helped so much. A miscarriage is a trauma to the body, and she will probably be bed ridden for a while.
3) Send a nice note of condolence. I still have all the sweet notes that people wrote us and will cherish them always.
4) Dedicate a mass (or church service) in the baby’s honor. This was honestly the best one to help me cope. My Mom let me know that the Church has masses every year in honor of all the babies lost to miscarriage and still birth. We added the babies we lost to the list and invited all of our family to the mass. It really helped us to mourn our babies and feel closure about their passing out of our lives and into the next one. It was a lovely reminder that we would rejoin all of our children some day.
5) If she is religious, the Elizabeth Ministry is an invaluable resource.
Hopefully, together we can eliminate the taboo on the subject of miscarriage, so that women won’t be afraid to lean on their family and friends during this difficult time.