3 Comforting Responses When Your Friend Has a Miscarriage
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I am not a doctor, none of the information on any of these pages pertaining to the Ketogenic Diet or Adrenal Fatigue should be considered medical advice and should not replace the care of your personal physician. I am simply eager to share the information I have learned while on my own journey to health. Before you embark on this journey, please consult with your physician.
Its always a little hard to know how to respond to a friend when she’s had a miscarriage.
The volatile mixture of sorrow, loss and hormones can make you feel like you’re wandering into a field of land mines, and one wrong move could just blow the whole thing to kingdom come.
But it’s not as risky as it seems.
And a woman recovering from a miscarriage isn’t as hair-triggered as you may think.
I’ve had 4.
6 months after my husband and I married – right on schedule – we found out we were expecting our first. But at 10 weeks we discovered our baby had no heart beat. It had been that way for likely a month or so.
It’s called a missed miscarriage.
6 months after that we said a tearful goodbye to angel baby #2.
The pregnancy hadn’t been met with joy. I was too terrified to be excited. Call it a premonition, woman’s intuition, or whatever term you can come up with; but somehow I knew it would end badly.
And it did.
I didn’t tell many people, I didn’t know how to talk about it. And yet, I needed the support of my friends.
I just didn’t know how to reach out. I felt like a failure as a woman – a failure in being able to do what a normal woman should be able to do: bear and deliver children.
However, 15 months later we welcomed our first born and his brother followed 21 months later.
We were overjoyed with our little family and so thankful to the Lord for healing my body and giving us two babies to hold and love. They are our pride and joy and I can’t imagine our lives without them. I don’t even want to try!
For some unexplained reason, my third miscarriage hit me much harder than the first two. And that’s saying a lot. I only shared it with a couple of people.
I don’t know why. Maybe it was because I’d already had two, so it didn’t seem like big news. But the comfort I needed from friends wasn’t there.
I felt like I was walking through the shadow of death all alone.
I couldn’t process alone, and I didn’t feel like I had anyone with me to help me process the excruciating pain I felt, so I buried it and drowned out it’s voice with a lot of noise and activity…
…until my fourth one a year later.
When my fourth miscarriage occurred I knew it was sink or swim. I couldn’t just coast along like I had with my third. I knew I had to open up and talk, because there was no room left to bury it.
I was so full of pain that I knew trying to stuff this would would burst the dam and only the Lord knows what could have resulted from that.
3 Comforting Responses When Your Friend Has a Miscarriage
Curiously enough, besides my mom, the ones who reached out to me were women I’d met online.
Emailing me daily to check up on me, to make sure I was okay; letting me know they were praying for me – I knew I wasn’t alone.
I think that helped me to cope and enabled me to process the pain through the post I wrote about pain.
There were three things that helped me the fourth time to walk the path I didn’t have the strength travel before.
1. Be there.
Just be there.
You don’t have to say anything profound. Actually, her heart may not be ready yet to listen to profound statements. There will be time for that, but right now she just needs to know that someone cares.
You see, if she’s had an early miscarriage – like all of mine – there will be voices (some in her head, and some from others around her) that will tell her that her loss is less significant because she hadn’t seen, heard or felt her baby yet. She battles with the intense loss she feels even though she was only several weeks along.
Because the moment a woman knows she’s expecting, an incredible and miraculous bonding occurs in her heart. A forever bond that not even the loss of her baby can take away.
But when silence occurs from those close to her it either communicates that her pain is insignificant to them, or her loss is somehow less important because her pregnancy was so early.
Simply checking in daily to let her know you’re praying for her, or asking her how she is doing is a reminder to her that you’re there, you care, and you recognize that her pain is real and validated.
She may rant and say things she really doesn’t mean.
She will likely be angry, and her anger may not even be rational. But she needs an outlet to rid her heart of the intense pain she feels.
If you truly want to be the friend she needs, just listen. Let her pour it all out and then when she’s done, let her know that you hear her, you understand that her loss is deep and painful. And that it’s okay to vent.
You may not understand what she’s facing, you may not even understand why she’s so angry.
But it is part of the healing process; and your prayers and presence in her life will help her navigate the stormy waters she’s in.
3. Avoid trite statements.
One of the least helpful things a friend can do during this time is respond with a trite statement.
Your baby must have had a disability that would have prevented it from living anyway.
There is nothing at all comforting about this statement.
When well-meaning people said this to me, it caused an even greater fear in my heart that there must be something genetically wrong with either my husband or me to have resulted in such a horrible disability in my child so as to have caused such an early loss.
It was so early, at least you hadn’t felt it move yet. That would have been a much more painful loss.
This comment almost completely invalidates a woman’s pain and loss.
It really doesn’t matter if a woman lost a pregnancy at 6 weeks or 20 weeks; her loss is real and her pain intense. The bond she felt with her baby was as real as with any other child.
Don’t be so sad. You’ll have another one.
The painful fact is that this isn’t a fact.
No woman is promised that she will ever have a child to hold in her arms.
The truth is that with each subsequent miscarriage, the chance that a woman will be able to carry a child to term are lessened.
After the 4th miscarriage a woman’s chance to carry a child to term continues to significantly decline.
Why are you so sad? You already have children to love. You need to be content with the children you have.
When a woman loses a child, even to early miscarriage, it doesn’t matter if she already has one child or six children; her loss is profound and deep.
Does this mean that she isn’t content with the children she has?
No, it doesn’t mean that at all.
A woman doesn’t get pregnant because she’s discontent with the number of children she has. That is an insulting idea. A woman longs for more children because God created her to with the desire for children.
She may at some point choose to stop trying for more children, but there will always be a longing in her heart to have one more because God created her for motherhood. For nurturing.
As I reflect on my journey during this month of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness, it is with a mixture of emotion.
Naturally, I keenly remember each loss. My four angel babies hold a very special place in my heart and always will.
I also feel a special affection for those who reached out to me after my last miscarriage. I will never forget them and their kindness to me; daily checking in with me to make sure I was okay. Offering a listening ear.
My heart goes out to those who feel abandoned and alone in their pain, as I did after my second and third losses. I pray no woman ever has to face that loneliness and isolation.
Because we were made for community.
We are called to support one another in times of need.
We are told to cry with those who cry, to help bear their pain and burden.
And there is no greater way we can help to bear the burden of loss than to just be there, listen, and not invalidate the pain with trite words that communicate our dismissal of their loss.
Learn how to walk through grief with the hope of Christ.
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- Learning how to find healthy comfort
- Helping a child walk through grief
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Oh, such pain! This is good advice for any sorrow or stress. Just be there, listen, and don’t use careless words like Job’s friends did.
You are right. This is just good advice in general for anyone who has experienced a personal tragey.
One of my best friends recently had a miscarriage – her second and I had no idea until months after the fact. I had no idea what to say to her. This is a great post! I have not had a miscarriage, but I had a very hard time getting pregnant with my first and so I know the pain of a secret that you need to share but feel unable to do so with others and needing support that you can’t get because of it. My heart breaks for you and the loss of your 4 angels. I’m so sorry you had to endure such great loss. Sending prayers your way today! <3
Thank you for your prayers, That means so much. You know, infertility and miscarriage often carry the same emotions. There are some similarities there – the feeling of failure because your body can’t do or wont do what it was created to do. And I think in particular when it comes to fertility there is a great sense of failure because it is so directly tied to our womanhood. The pain is deep. I am so glad this post was helpful to you.
I am so sorry when I hear of anyone having to go through a miscarriage, especially alone. When I had my miscarriage, not many people knew I was expecting. One of those that did know told me that God took the baby because our family was going through a hard time right then. It was hard to look them in the face for a long time after that. As painful as that was, God used that experience to teach me to be more careful with my own words, and to make myself more available to friends in need.
Oh Marian, I am so sorry that someone said that to you. I heard many hurtful things (directly and indirectly), and I just kept telling myself that they didn’t mean it the way it sounded. They meant well, and they were trying to be helpful. But like I said, sometimes the words of wisdom need to wait, and sometimes words are just not appropriate at all.
Thanks for the helpful suggestions. Listening is often the most loving thing we can do. That and pointing people to Christ!
Yes, listening an pointing them to the ultimate Healer of our souls.
Four miscarriages…mercy! I am so sorry for you, Rosilind, even as I rejoice with you over your precious boys and over how you can minister to other women because of what you have been through. I appreciate the wisdom you share here, because when I lost my second baby to miscarriage, the few people who did what you suggest were ministers of comfort to me. Mostly, people did and said nothing. Now, I encourage others to simply say, “I’m so sorry.” This conveys that something valuable has been lost, something hard has been experienced, and that what grieves another person grieves you, too. Thank you for this coaching…stopping by from Coffee & Conversation.
Yes, you are right. Just conveying sympathy and that your grief matters to them goes a long way. I am sorry for your loss as well. God is so good to use our losses to aid another person’s healing. I am honored to be able to share my story.
Thank you for this post. I have had friends and family in the same situation, and I never know what to say so I tend to avoid the topic altogether. As with any kind of grief, though, just making a gentle presence can be enough. Thanks for sharing your story.
I hope this post was helpful. Sometimes we just don’t know what to say or do.
Three great tips. My husband and I have gone through four miscarriages and one stillbirth, it definitely doesn’t get easier. How thankful I am though that God’s grace is sufficient and hope for healing can be found in Him! Thank you for sharing!
I am so sorry for your losses, Wendy. But yes, God’s grace is sufficient, even for this.
I feel your pain, literally. I have had just as many miscarriages, all early 11 weeks or sooner. Some before kids, and others after. It is never easy, and your advice for people who haven’t gone through it is wonderful. I wonder about my angel babies quite often and have hope that one day I will be able to truly meet them.
Oh Catherine, I am so sorry for your losses. It is so hard. And you will meet them one day in heaven. I am 100% sure of that!
My best friend had a miscarriage and the things you say here to do, I did. But what about now? It has been over a year since the miscarriage and she has had a baby since then. Do I bring it up ever? I know she must think about it even though time has passed. I had one myself long ago, but no one ever talks about it. Sometimes I WANT to to talk about it because the baby was very real!! What are thoughts on this?
I think a very kind and thoughtful gesture would be, somewhere around the anniversary of the loss of her baby or in October, which is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, to send her a card or message letting her know that you remember and that you are thinking of her. You might even let her know that if she ever needs a listening ear, that you are there for her. It can be tricky because while sometimes we want to talk about our loss, we don’t like to be invaded. It’s tender, as you say – even after many years have passed. So, while bringing it up out of the blue may not necessarily be the best way, choosing an appropriate time to let her know that you remember I am certain will touch her deeply and may open the door for the two of you to share this common pain.