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Ways to Help a Friend After a Miscarriage

Updated on December 30, 2012
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How can you help someone who has gone through a miscarriage? I have never had a miscarriage, but I have many friends who have. My heart just aches for them, and I want to make sure I am doing things that are helpful and encouraging to them. These suggestions come from my friends who have gone through the trial of losing a baby, a speech I heard on the subject, and also from a dear lady who leads a Grief Share Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss group.


What is my friend feeling after a miscarriage?


This obviously changes from person-to-person. Don’t assume that everyone will be devastated. On the flip side, don’t assume that everyone will overcome the loss quickly – or ever. Each person grieves differently. And it is never wise to set a time limit on grief.


What should I NOT say to my friend after a miscarriage?


If you don’t read anything else, I hope you’ll read through this section; that is why I am putting the "what NOT to do"s before the "what TO do"s. My friend who had a stillborn baby said (sadly) that the things she remembered the most were the hurtful comments. Our friends have enough pain without us adding to it by saying thoughtless things.

  • Don’t ask questions that imply that your friend had anything to do with the miscarriage. Chances are really good that she is already questioning every single activity she participated in since she got pregnant and feeling extreme guilt. One lady wisely said, “Healthy babies are born to crack mothers in 3rd world countries.” Your friend’s guilt is not based on reality, but questions like, “did you take your prenatal vitamins?” or “do you regret taking that overseas trip?” or “maybe you shouldn’t have run that 5k” just are not helpful.

  • Don’t say, “at least you have other children.” This may be true, but it undermines the value and preciousness of the child who was lost.
  • Don’t feel the need to add stories about yourself or others you have heard about. Let this time be about her sharing.
  • Don’t say, “Call me if you need anything.” It puts the burden on them to call you, which is not an easy thing to do.
  • Don’t say, “Four kids in such a short time are too many anyway.” Does the value of a child decrease if there are more children? What if we, or one of our children, were eliminated for convenience’s sake? Any flippant attitude should be avoided.
  • Don’t belittle the loss with words like: Losing a parent is harder than a miscarriage or a little child.
  • Don’t say, “You’ll have another child someday.” There is no way you can know this.
  • Don’t say that miscarriage is very common. Many hard things in life are common; it doesn't make them less hard.
  • Don’t ask if she is going to try to get pregnant again. This is a personal question. If she wants to venture into this topic, let her be the one to bring it up
  • Don’t say, “Something must have been wrong with the baby and this was God’s way of taking care of it.”

One other note: if your friend had a stillborn baby, please be careful not to say anything about a miscarriage or compare her loss to someone who has experienced a miscarriage. The two losses are apples to oranges.


What can I SAY to my friend after a miscarriage?


You should definitely say something! Maybe you feel awkward or don’t know what to say, but please put your feelings aside and let these moments be about how your friend is feeling and her needs. Don’t pretend that nothing has happened. Your friend has lost a little part of herself. Saying something communicates that you care and that the baby is important. I will list some things my friends have found useful, but please don’t say these things unless you mean them. Fake conversations are not helpful.

  • “I’m sorry.” You don’t have to know how to answer all of her questions or meet her every need. Sometimes it is better just to be simple. Don’t forget Proverbs 10:19: When words are many, sin is not absent (NIV). There is nothing you can say that will immediately remove her pain.
  • “How are you doing?” If she doesn’t want to talk, she will change the subject, and you will too :). Many of my friends work through hard times by talking about them. Be available to listen. And don’t be afraid of tears. If she needs to cry, that’s okay! You didn’t make her cry; she was already sad.
  • “I’m praying for you.” And then really do it. Pray that she’ll have the strength she needs for each minute. Pray that she’ll be encouraged by her family and friends. Pray that God will reveal Himself to her in new and sweet ways. Pray that her body will heal physically. If you run out of things to pray for her, ask her for prayer requests.


What can I DO to help my friend after a miscarriage?

  • Send a card. It is really fine to say “I am at a total loss to know that to say. I can’t begin to relate to what you’re going through, but I just wanted you to know how sorry I am for your loss and that I care and love you and will be praying for you.”
  • Give a hug.
  • Send flowers.
  • Remember the due date. Mail a card or take over a little gift on that day.
  • Visit her if she is in the hospital (don’t take your kids with you - bring something like a Good Housekeeping magazine instead).
  • If she has been invited to a baby shower, offer to buy a gift from both of you and take it. She may not be ready to be around babies for a while.

Call and offer specific things:

  • When can I bring over a meal (or a pan of brownies)?
  • When can I watch your kids so you can have a break?
  • When can we go out and get pedicures (or a cup of coffee) together?
  • What can I help you with? (returning library books, picking up groceries, washing laundry, driving kids to soccer, etc.)

The skill of listening cannot be rated too highly in a friendship. Good friends know how to listen to each other, especially during tough times. Just simply listening to your friend is likely the best way to support her as she grieves.

Sadly, miscarriage is relatively common. I have no doubt that many who read this article will have experienced one. If any readers would feel comfortable sharing ways that others were helpful during your hardest times, I would love to learn from your suggestions.

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    • ExpectGreatThings profile image
      Author

      ExpectGreatThings 18 months ago from Illinois

      Thanks Charito1962 ~ I hope you won't have a situation to use anything from this hub ;) But if you do, may God's grace be with your words and actions. Thank you for commenting.

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 18 months ago from Manila, Philippines

      These are great suggestions, Ginger! I’ve met women who have been through a miscarriage and in those times, I didn’t know what to say. (It made me feel so awkward!) But after reading this hub, I know now what to do!

      Great advice! Thank you.

    • ExpectGreatThings profile image
      Author

      ExpectGreatThings 4 years ago from Illinois

      Billie, I cannot even imagine what you have gone through. I really can't. I'm sitting here trying to comprehend the pain of losing even one baby. This had to have changed your life forever. And yet somehow you have such a sweet perspective on life. I'm glad for that for you. I'm glad to know that flowers and coffee would have meant something special. I will do both of those things for a friend the next time I have the opportunity.

      Thank you for drawing my attention to divorce also. I had never considered divorce as an event of immense loss, but you must be right. I am so glad to "know" you!

    • Billie Kelpin profile image

      Billie Kelpin 4 years ago from Newport Beach

      This article made me cry - especially at the "send flowers" part. I've had 8 miscarriages after my first successful pregnancy - always shortly after 3 months, so it felt as if I didn't deserve sympathy. But like divorce, "no one sends flowers and no one crys, it's hard to see hurt behind hiding eyes." It's the loss of a dream, the loss of hope... I can't describe the hurt. I doubt if I told everyone after a while. One miscarriage happened in the hospital while I was holding the hand of a dying friend. But all that was very long ago and far away. It seems quite surreal to even say that now. I would have loved the "going out for coffee date". I do think that your caveat that not everyone will want or need the same thing is very important. I feel incredibly grateful to have had my one daughter and learned to take joy in what I have, not in the losses. You are very perceptive to have understood the need for this article and are a sensitive soul to have presented such meaningful suggestions. Cheers, Billie

    • ExpectGreatThings profile image
      Author

      ExpectGreatThings 4 years ago from Illinois

      Thank you Billybuc! I often wish I had the superpower of knowing the exact right words to say in every situation. Instead I usually fumble around. But at least my friends know I love them :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Excellent suggestions! Such a hard and painful time for someone, and the last thing you want to do is say the wrong thing and add to the pain. Well done my new friend.

    • ExpectGreatThings profile image
      Author

      ExpectGreatThings 4 years ago from Illinois

      Rcote, it is nice to meet you. I'm so sorry for what your friend is going through. And your position is not an easy one either. I hope that you will know just the right things to help her. Thank you for your compliments.

    • rcote profile image

      rcote 4 years ago

      I find it mysterious that I felt drawn to your hub (your profile name says it all) after you thoughtfully answered a question I had posted and you had this article! A very dear friend of mine is in the process of having a miscarriage and I have found myself stymied on how to help and tongue tied. Thank you for these suggestions!

    • ExpectGreatThings profile image
      Author

      ExpectGreatThings 4 years ago from Illinois

      I Am Rosa - it really touches me that you think those things for your little daughter. She will grow up knowing that she has an incredibly loving mother, even loving to a child she never got to raise. It also pains me that you did not get any support during such a painful time in life. I so appreciate that you shared your experience. It is much easier to get a good picture of the depth of grief from someone who has experienced miscarriage firsthand. May God bless you.

    • I Am Rosa profile image

      Rosa Marchisella 4 years ago from Canada

      Excellent advice. I got a lot of those stupid comments and little support after my miscarriage. Some jerk even suggested that it was God's way of making His feelings known about me being pregnant out of wedlock.

      I think that if someone - ANY one - would have done even one thing on your suggestion list, I would have been able to move forward sooner.

      I'd gone to the hospital and they sent me home with heavy-duty so that I lost the baby at home in the dead of night while drugged out of my mind. I didn't even know I'd lost it until the next morning ... I was pretty devastated for years and for a while just the sound or sight of children sent me into depression. I counted every year, imagining what my child would be doing at that age ... And contrary to what others have told me, having other kids does NOT make that pain go away or replace the one you lost. In fact, I hold my daughter now and think, "Her older brother would have adored her" or "Oh, the things he could teach/show her" ...

      Thank you for posting this. So many people *want* to help and comfort, but just don't know how.

    • ExpectGreatThings profile image
      Author

      ExpectGreatThings 4 years ago from Illinois

      Prektjr, thank you for sharing something so personal. "Never moved past it, just forward" - you have captured the experience beautifully. I'm confident you are a sweet blessing to your friends going through trials.

      Simoninikid, those are really powerful words. I hope I will remember them! Thank you for reading. As always, I love your insight :)

    • SimoniniKid profile image

      SimoniniKid 4 years ago from Beautiful Glen Ellyn, IL

      Recently someone very close gave me great comfort by simply saying "I'm with you through this". The thought of someone close, willing to ride the waves with me, meant I wasn't going to be alone in my pain. It was really helpful to me.

    • prektjr.dc profile image

      Debbie Carey 4 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA

      Very nice. I have experienced a miscarriage and I was able to move forward. Notice I never moved past it, just forward. That was many years ago, but when I hear of someone experiencing it....it becomes new again. Thank you for your hub, well done. God Bless!