How to Comfort a Friend Who Survived a Miscarriage

Heartbreaking 53

Mom & BabyRecently, I suffered the biggest devastation of my life; I lost a baby. I was 10 weeks and 4 days pregnant with our third child. Being pregnant with this baby was an unexpected blessing, but one that my husband and I were very excited about. Then just as suddenly, we miscarried. Our hearts were broken; mine, possibly beyond repair.

Losing a child is every mother’s greatest fear come true. Just imagine all the overwhelming joy you felt when you first held your newborn baby, turned in on you as pain. It is crippling. The worst part is that it's a lot more common than I ever knew.

No one knows what to say or do for a mother who has lost her child. People tend to want to make it all better, but you can’t. A miscarriage is something that has to be survived. Unfortunately, the mother who miscarries has to feel her pain and misery completely before she can move on through it. There will be a period where it feels like little emotional time bombs may go off at any time. For me, every month on the anniversary of the day I found out that I miscarried, I am sad and angry and prone to crying. It’s only been three months, so it’s still a fairly open wound for me. But there are things that friends and family can do to comfort the mother, at least these are what helped me.

Let her be. When I had my miscarriage, I wanted to be alone, completely alone with my anguish. I was hurting. I was pissed. I was sad beyond what I ever knew possible. I just wanted to be in silence, alone with my broken heart. I needed to mourn for my baby and for the broken promise. I had not told our family and friends about the pregnancy but needed to tell them about the miscarriage because I could not have survived it alone, in silence. I texted them what had happened and let them know that I was scheduled for surgery. I asked them not to call me but to pray for me. I told them I would call them when I could speak without breaking down.

Be available but not in her face. Bring her water, food, and cover her with blankets when she cries herself to sleep. Show up at the hospital to sit with her husband while she has her D & E. Hug her, but don’t linger too long. Remember, she is trying with all her might to hold her shit together. Text her, tweet her, and send her cards that say you love her and are available if she needs you but don’t call her. If you do, don’t be offended that she doesn't answer. She can’t. The sound of the disappointment in my loved ones' voices, the sadness in their eyes, and them desperately trying and failing to make me okay were more than my heart could handle. When she is ready to talk, be prepared to just listen.

Let her know that you love her. Tell her that you love her. Show her that you care. Cards with handwritten words are comforting. Understanding, compassion, and silent knowing are all ways that let her know that you love her without breaching her space. She is in pain and there is only one way for her to survive it; she has to face it head on and submerse herself in it. Pushing it down and carrying on like normal will only postpone the inevitable.

Don’t forget what she’s been through. She has been through a life-changing experience. Once you have lost a baby, your perspective is altered. We don’t want to be coddled and looked at with pity. We want desperately to try to find our way back to normal. We don’t want people to be afraid to share their good news with us; we don’t want to be that person. But we want you to remember that we did lose a child. That child was part of our life and we loved it; no matter if we were 6 weeks pregnant or 6 months pregnant, we loved it from the minute we knew it was there. We planned for it and it was our baby. We will never get to hold our child, see his smile, or hear him call us Mommy. Please don’t pretend that he never existed.

Don’t bring it up constantly. We don’t want you to forget our baby, but we also don’t want to be constantly reminded that we had a miscarriage. We were there; we know it happened. We remember the pain because all it takes is a moment of introspection or to look at an empty space in the family photo where our baby should be or to feel the empty space in our heart to remind us that we miscarried. If we bring it up, that means we want to talk about it. If we don’t, please don’t feel that you need to bring it up and say that you are sorry. If you've told us once, we appreciate it and we love you for it. We don’t forget the kindness, even if we can’t gather the words to thank you.

When a woman has a miscarriage, she loses more than just her baby. She loses a part of herself. With the birth of each of my children, my love doubled, and when I lost my baby, I was left with all this extra love and a void in my arms. I have a hole in my heart that I am not sure can ever be filled. I am thankful to every person who supported me with unconditional love and by sharing her own loss with me. I know it hurt them to remember their own loss, but it made me feel not so alone in one of the loneliest times of my life.

The best way to comfort a friend who has experienced a miscarriage is to just be available when she needs you, and in the meantime, give her all the space she needs to feel her pain.

 

Image via Deborah Cruz

1st trimester, miscarriage & loss

53 Comments

To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

nonmember avatar guest

I'm sorry that you are not able to have more children, Kelly, but what a truly deplorable thing to say to someone who is grieving a loss. "Be thankful for what you have"??? I'm sure that Deborah is beyond thankful for her two beautiful children. Being thankful for what she has doesn't take away from what she lost, another child. I myself have one beautiful child and she is such a blessing, but I still feel the void of where my child I lost in January should be. My due date would have been in two weeks. Am I thankful for my daughter? Beyond words. It doesn't take away the pain from a lost child.

Aunt_... Aunt_ning

Kelly, she's not saying she isn't thankful for the children she does have, she is just saying that she lost a child too and it takes time,understanding and patience to deal with it.  My sister passed away 17 years ago when she was 16. My parents and my whole family ache for her every day. It doesn't mean we arn't grateful for what we do have, we just blatantly know that something is missing that was and should be there.

nonmember avatar Em

Kelly, the pain of a miscarriage in no way indicates how "thankful" one is for their living children. That kind of empty dismissal/ meaningless platitude is the exactly wrong thing to say to someone in pain and is incredibly insensitive.

nonmember avatar Tonya

@Kelly



Be thankful for what she has?? Sort of like, what, maybe YOU should do? Are you so blinded by your own issues that don't see the hypocrisy of your statement? Could couples who never had ANY children not say the same to you?



People like you sicken me. Grief is not a pissing contest. Your grief over being infertile is no more than hers over her loss. You remind me of someone who told me as my 59 year old father was dying of cancer that I should be thankful that it wasn't one of my children.



Don't be such an asshole.

Lulu425 Lulu425

Can I add one to your list?


Be discreet. It's your news to share when you're ready. Telling everyone "so-and-so had a miscarraige" is nobody's business unless you're explicitly asked to tell someone else. That means no tweeting, no Facebooking, nada. Shut your mouth.

Lulu425 Lulu425

@Kelly - If you're infertile, why aren't you thankful for the one child you do have? You're grieving for something you never had. The author is grieving for something she had and lost. These are two very different things. Be thankful for what YOU have, instead of telling other people what their priorities should be, because yours seem to be way off.

Angie Lambert Miller

I suffered many miscarriages. Imagine getting pregnant miscarrying and finding out years later that you will never be able to have a live birth. That is heartbreaking, I know because I am now 45 years old and I will never be able to give birth to a child.

nonmember avatar Jackie

I was told to be thankful for what I had as well-though at the time of my two micarriages, I was childless. It seems like a good thing to say, but until the mother (and father) has truly gone through the grieving process, its pretty insensitive. I was told numerous times that there are worse off people... blah blah blah... let the woman feel bad for herself for a while.

I have two wonderful girls now and I always tell them that they have two siblings that we will all meet in Heaven someday!

Angie Lambert Miller

Be thankful for thechildren you have because I suffered many miscarriages with the knowledge that I will never have children.  I always wanted to have kids and tried for 7 or 8 years and miscarried everytime. I know you're heart is breaking and it's normal but you do have 2 other children where some of us do not and will not ever have any.

jalaz77 jalaz77

Be greatful for what you have...that is one thing you never say to a parent who has lost a child, unborn or not. It sounds dismissive. I remember in nursing school they say silence can be a god send. There were parents in the NICU that watched thier baby die and a RN student said "at least you can have more". Big big no no along with that the professor stated to never tell a parent to be thankful for what you have, ex. other children, husband who loves her, a support system of family...which is why science can be the best medicine with a simple, I am sorry. Kelly you may want to take this advice. And Kelly I am sorry you are unable to give your son a sibling, it still sounds as if it hurts since you are losing sleep over this but really, how would you like it of someone kept saying to you, "be thankful for what you have." That to me says, get over it. You can grieve and appreciate the love around you. It just takes time. Sorry for your loss Deborah...

1-10 of 53 comments 12345 Last
F