Understanding How To Support A Friend In Their Miscarriage, And How NOT To (Part 1)
A Raw Perspective of First-Hand Experience: What They Wish You Understood After Their Miscarriage
*THERE IS CONTENT IN THIS ARTICLE THAT MAY BE TRIGGERING FOR THOSE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED MISCARRIAGE. *
They lost a close friend, a family member…..
They found out they have cancer……
They announced they’re getting a divorce……
They found out they were cheated on…..
……This time… it’s a miscarriage.
These topics; they’re situations that we dance around. We’ve all experienced them in some way. Whether it is first hand, or with someone close to us.
AND WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO HANDLE THEM. When I say “them” I’m talking about the PERSON in pain. We don’t know how to approach their pain.
Do we tread lightly?
Do we just rip the band-aid off?
Do we pretend it didn’t happen?
Do we avoid the topic, thinking we are being considerate of their privacy?
What if it gets really awkward?
These are valid questions that I, too, can struggle with at times.
But, NOW THAT I HAVE EXPERIENCED TWO MISCARRIAGES OF MY OWN….. I have some insight. How SHOULD you support a friend in their miscarriage, and how should you NOT?
I know the things that hurt, that things that sting, the things that anger, even.
In this post I hope to:
- Help you feel confident and less uncomfortable while supporting a friend through their miscarriage
- Help those hurting ladies out there who will benefit from your new confident support
- Keep you from unknowingly damaging your relationship
- ALSO…. If YOU are “the friend”, and you need a little help communicating to others what you need, or how you would like to be supported after your loss, then share this article with your friends or family members.
Here are……. 9 WAYS TO UNDERSTANDING HOW TO SUPPORT A FRIEND IN THEIR MISCARRIAGE, AND HOW NOT TO:
#1: They’re not doing as good as they act like they are
It’s been a little while since their miscarriage, you see your friend out and about like normal. Maybe it’s at church, or a group event…. the grocery store even. They’re posting on social media like normal, about random, daily things.
“They seem to be doing pretty good now,” you think to yourself.
True, it’s not controlling their every thought anymore, but that doesn’t mean it’s “in the past”.
There are still the triggers, that set them off. There’s still the due date coming up that they should have had. The baby shower they never had. And, likely, there’s still a very large wound in their marriage that affects them every day.
Don’t treat your friend like a wounded invalid…. But also, don’t just assume they’re okay and move on with life. You may likely be leaving them behind, unknowingly.
Which brings me to my next point….
#2: They WANT you to ask them how they are doing with it; don’t avoid the topic and act like it didn’t happen
Praise the Lord that we have all been in those awkward situations. Something tragic has happened to someone in our close circle, and we uncomfortably tip-toe around the topic, not knowing what to say…. What NOT to say…. How to act….how to treat them.
“Seriously? Praise the Lord?,” you’re probably asking yourself…… I say “praise the Lord” because this common perspective that we all share as human beings can give us great understanding when it is happening TO US.
As much as it sucks that people are acting like they have no idea they just had a miscarriage, they understand that the majority of those people are doing it out of a sincere heart. They DO care, they just don’t know how to show it.
But, once you have been through something really tragic in your life, it forces you to have to confront the uncomfortable. There is no other choice; you can’t pretend that you didn’t have a miscarriage. And, as a result, you learn how to show up in others pain in a new way…..
…..The way you wish someone had shown up for you.
As uncomfortable as it can be to ask someone how they’re doing since the loss of their pregnancy, DO IT ANYWAY.
They understand that it’s awkward for you.
They understand that you don’t want to bring it up in case they weren’t thinking about it at that moment.
They understand that you don’t want to poke their wound.
Here’s the thing…..
Even if they WEREN’T thinking about it when you brought it up….. it’s a 100% chance they are going to think about it later. It’s going to come up again and again for them, for a very long time. And it’s going to come up when they’re ALONE.
It’s better that they get the chance to talk about it some with you at an unplanned moment, because that will give them some love, support, and encouragement to hold on to when they’re dealing with it later, all alone.
It hurts worse for them to feel like everyone has moved on with their lives, that their pain is being ignored…. Than it does for you to remind them of their pain at an unexpected time.
Just bring up the topic and let them lead. You can say, “I don’t know if you want to talk about this right now, but I want to know if you’re okay today.”
No pressure, no forcing, just an open opportunity.
#3: They don’t want to talk about your pregnant friends
Life goes on, right?
Well, maybe for you. But at the moment your friend probably feels stuck on a merry-go-round. Sure, things are moving; life doesn’t stop for them. They have their work, their chores, their commitments.
But it all feels pointless. It all feels like a blur. It feels like they are doing, doing, doing, but really going nowhere. Because their mind….. and their heart….. is left is the past. Left at this point of trauma. And they can’t move on from it, not yet.
So…..when Lucky Linda, and Blessed Betty find out they’re pregnant….. are having their baby showers…. are posting about they birth story….. are sharing newborn photos….
It’s likely they don’t want to see it or hear about it.
The number of times people said things to me like this:
“Did you hear so-and-so is pregnant?”
“Did you see their photos on FB of their new baby?”
Or better yet…. They just started showing me the photos out of nowhere…. *cringe*
And obviously I smiled. I nodded. I was happy for so-and-so. I wished no ill-will on them.
But the lack of awareness from friends and family hurt. And made me feel like crap. I want you to be aware of this, and not make your friends feel like crap and have no idea that you did so.
If there are circumstances in your family or in your circle of friends that cause this to be particularly hard…. DON’T IGNORE IT. JUST ASK your friend how they would like you to handle the topic with them at this time. Everyone’s response will be different. It’s important to know how to help YOUR friend.
But ignoring it and acting like life must move on, and so must they….. is definitely not the way to go about it.
#4: They deserve for you to tell them Happy Mother’s Day
I can’t remember exactly, but 3-4 Mother’s Days passed in between the time of my first miscarriage, and finally having a baby in my arms.
I still had a mother of my own to celebrate. I had a sister of 4, and many friends with young children. I would never take away from their day, or make them feel guilty for having children and being a mother!!
Definitely not. I would send the cards, the texts, the gifts…..
But inside I wished and hoped that they would say it back to me…..
….That I would get a card….a text…. A thoughtful glance my way.
And I did not.
And there are many hurting women out there secretly longing for, and hoping for, the same thing.
If you believe in the Bible, God’s word, heaven and hell…. Then we know that the baby in our womb, who had a heartbeat between 5-6 weeks gestation ALSO HAD A SOUL.
And just because they passed, that doesn’t make their soul automatically poof away. It had to go somewhere. And that somewhere is heaven….
A mother who loses their child who is 40 years old, and the mother who loses her child at 39 weeks gestation and under….. still has a child. There is no difference in the soul of that human being.
Your seemingly childless friend, has a child….in heaven. And they deserve a “Happy Mother’s day” recognition.
Or it feels like the world is slapping her in the face and saying, “your baby didn’t count.”
For the sake of shortening this article, #’s 5-9 will be continued in another blog post. You can find that post here: How To Support A Friend In Their Miscarriage, Part 2
If you are someone who has suffered a miscarrige and is looking for a friend to relate to you, I can be that friend. Check out this blog post I wrote: If You Feel Alone In Your Miscarriage- Read This
Lastly, I have lots of helpful material on pregnancy:
I will talk to ya soon!
Until next time, take each day one day at a time.
Her Life In Season