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How to Comfort a Friend With a Miscarriage While You're Pregnant
Acknowledge the Loss of the Pregnancy
When you share a pregnancy at the same time as another woman that you know, there seems to be a special bond that forms. Even if you are at different gestational places in your pregnancy, the idea that both of you are carrying a life within your body is exciting. You somehow expect that your children will share a special bond as well.
To learn that your "pregnancy partner" has lost her pregnancy can be a shocking loss for you to accept.
The first thing that you should do as a friend is to acknowledge the loss of the pregnancy. Do not do this via a text, even if your friend shared her loss with you via a text. She knows that you are pregnant as well, and she probably does not want to scare or worry you. Call your friend and express how very sorry that you are for her loss. Ask if she is okay, or if she needs any emergency services.
If your friend mentions or asks about your pregnancy, tell her that you are fine. Ask how she is doing, feeling or needing. She may be reluctant to share with you details because of your current position of being pregnant. Explain that it is okay to share with you, but only offer this if you truly can handle hearing about her loss.
Acknowledging the loss of a pregnancy when you are pregnant is very tricky. You want to make sure that your friend is well, but you also want to let her know that you are there for her as a friend.
Ask How Much Involvement She Wants in Your Pregnancy
A loss of a pregnancy is devastating. When you and a friend or family member are pregnant at the same time, it can be a deeper shared loss between the both of you.
Your friend or family member may be ashamed of what happened to her. She may feel sad that there is no longer a perception of the life of her child in front of her. You need to remain healthy and strong for your pregnancy.
If you and your friend are close, ask her if she still wants to know about your pregnancy as it progresses. Offer to not speak about your pregnancy if she cannot bear the thought of it.
If your friend still wants to be a part of your pregnancy, be sure to include her in group emails to friends and family that you mail things out to. Don't edit a special version for her, just send it along with the group. By not treating her with kid gloves when you mail things out, your friend will feel like you are respecting her wishes to be treated as normal.
If your friend does not want to know about your pregnancy or your baby, respect her wishes. Maintain your contact and your friendship. Know that her grief is individual and that she needs time to heal and grieve the loss.
Send a Condolence Letter
The hardest letter to write to a friend is the condolence letter. It is best if you mail it in an envelope and not via email. It is tangible proof of the child that was never to be here.
Here is an example letter that a friend was kind enough to share with me after the loss of a pregnancy that her pregnancy partner endured. I have changed identifiable parts.
I write this letter with a heavy and sad heart. I am just crushed about the loss of your pregnancy. I cannot imagine how this loss is for you and Jeff. I want to let you know that right now, I care and I am thinking of the both of you.
I was so grateful to hear that your doctor has said you are okay. I know it does not lessen the blow, but I was concerned for your health.
Since we shared our pregnancy due dates so close together, I do not want to say or do anything that would make you uncomfortable during this sad time. If you need some time away from me for a bit until you have had time to pull yourself together and heal, I understand and do not hold that against you in the least. I will make every effort to respect your wishes.
Juliette, we have been friends for a long time, and this pregnancy of yours and mine at the same time allowed us to become closer friends. I do not want to lose your friendship and closeness that we created. I cherish the times we have shared and am here for you if you want me to be.
My heart is torn apart at your loss, and I long to know what I can do to make your recovery easier. Please let me know and I will be there for you to hold your hand figuratively or literally or step back while you mend.
I close with so much love and admiration for your courage in sharing with all of us this sad time.
When Your Baby Arrives
When your baby arrives, it is very hard to think of your friend who lost her pregnancy. If your friend has asked to not know anything about your pregnancy, you should ask if she wants to know when your baby arrives, and also if she would like to visit or see a photo of the baby.
When your friend does not want to know about your labor, childbirth and baby. If your friend says that she does not want to know about the baby, respect her wishes. Continue to email or phone now and then to make sure that she is okay.
When your friend does want to know about your labor, childbirth and baby. If your friend wants to know about your pregnancy and your baby when they arrive, make sure to include her in all of the information that you send out to others. If your friend and her partner come to see you, offer to have a special time set aside for her and her partner to meet your baby alone without other friends and family there. Seeing a newborn baby may be very overwhelming for them at first. Their reactions may be unexpected by them. It is possible that they will bring things for your baby that had been purchased for their baby.
Thank your friend for coming to see the baby if they come out. Your friend may mention her lost pregnancy during this time. She may speak about her lost due date and talk about how old her/their baby would be now. Let her speak about her feelings and observances. Share how sad it is that her baby is not here. Express how grateful you are to have your baby, and how brave she is to come and see your baby. Express how sad her loss is for you as well.
If the Friendship Ends
Sometimes a pregnancy loss can cause such a rift in the friendship that your friend may tell you that she does not or cannot be friends with you right now.
Be supportive of your friend. "I understand. Perhaps in time, you will change your mind. I will be here if you do" is a good thing to offer. Don't become defensive, abusive or angry in your statements to your friend. She is grieving a loss.
If Your Friend Says or Does Something Inappropriate or Cruel
A client of mine had a friend who lost her pregnancy in her second trimester. She and her friend were pregnant at the same time. They were about the same place along gestational age speaking. Her dear friend made a phone call from the hospital to share that she was losing the pregnancy and that there was nothing more the medical staff could do to save the fetus.
Sadly, the pregnancy was lost and everyone was saddened and shocked. My client went to go see her friend. Her friend looked at her and said that she wished my client had lost her pregnancy instead. She then said a lot of things that were mean spirited and angry.
My client told her friend "I know that you just lost your baby. I cannot imagine how that feels. I am so sorry that this happened to you. You did nothing wrong. You are not being punished. I know that you do not mean ill will on me or to me. I cannot stay and listen to this kind of sentiment, though. I won't bring it up again, but I won't let you speak to me like that."
Sometimes in grief, we say and do things that we would not normally do. Remind yourself of this if your friend seems to be doing things that are mean spirited. You don't have to physically see your friend to still be friends with her.
If Your Friend Needs Help
Grief is very personalized and individual. If you feel like your friend may be ready to harm herself or others, please look up help resources in her area.
If you believe that your friend is going to take her life, please do not hesitate. Phone their partner, other friends and if needed, local police or emergency lines so that she can be safe and get the help that she needs. Explain why you feel she is in danger. Be prepared to share that you and she were pregnant at the same time. Give your information so that contact can be made with you if needed. Be there for your friend in this dark time.
If you are wrong, you are wrong. If you are right, you may save your friend from doing something very harmful.
Have You Experienced a Pregnancy Loss of a Friend?
Have you had a friend who lost a pregnancy?
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