Month: October 2015

How to Help a Friend Through a Miscarriage

Helping a Friend

 

I have now had two miscarriages.  I am by no means an expert on grief, miscarriage or how to help people, but I felt like it was important to write down ways in which you can help someone through a miscarriage whether or not you have had one. All people are different and something that helped me may not work for them, but hopefully you can find one thing that you can do to minister to their grieving heart. 

I think that is important to note that miscarriage is death.  Thinking through the words that you say to someone who is having a miscarriage should be just as delicate as what you say to someone who has just had a death of a close member of the family.  I have included a brief section below on what not to say to someone who has had a miscarriage, and the best thing to say. 

Here is my list of practical ways you can help a friend through a miscarriage.

1.  Prayer.  Pray for them.  Don’t just say that you are praying for them.  Set a reminder, put it in your calendar, download echo prayer for your phone to get daily reminders.  Your friend is going through something in which the only thing guaranteed to help them is prayer.  Be faithful to pray.  Also, don’t just pray the week that you find out.  Continue praying, miscarriage is a difficult thing because you never know when the grief and sorrow will hit you. 

2. Offer to bring a meal, then offer again.  When I was going through my first miscarriage it felt weird to me to have someone bring a meal over.  A friend was persistent and she brought us a delicious meal.  It felt amazing to not have to think of dinner for one night.  There is so much that goes through your brain when you are miscarrying, and thinking through what to make for dinner is sometimes paralyzing.  If you don’t cook, get them a gift card for a meal out.  During both my miscarriages we spent more money that we should have on eating out, but I just couldn’t pull myself together enough to make something.  Gift cards are always appreciated. 

3.  Send Flowers.  I received flowers both times that I miscarried and it was so nice to have something beautiful to look at during such a dark time. It was nice to get a little card from the person each time.  I actually cherish those little cards.  They are a reminder that someone noticed and cared for the little one that I lost. When you are having a miscarriage you want other people to care for the little one that you lost. 

4.  Keep texting and calling, even if you don’t get a response. I had a few friends during my first miscarriage that constantly were texting me and calling me to let me know that they were thinking of me and available to me if I wanted to talk.  I never called or texted back but each message was an encouragement and a help to me.  Have extra amounts of grace with the person if they don’t respond.  Don’t take it personally.  Just continue to love them and care for them without strings attached.  That is authentic love and you can model it here.  

5.  Send a note.  It doesn’t have to be long, but getting a note where someone acknowledges your pain and that you lost a member of your family is really nice. Notes are becoming archaic, but this is a really great way to show your care and concern. 

There are more things that I could mention, but these are my top five ideas for how to help someone through a miscarriage.  Just have a ton of grace, the person will not know how they feel from one minute to the next.  Also, this isn’t a wound that heals quickly.  The person was pregnant and now they are not.  That isn’t something that someone gets over quickly.  

With that said, there are some things that you shouldn’t say when talking to a person who has had a miscarriage.  Do not give false hope to them.  Biblical hope is fine, but false hope is not helpful.  Some examples false hope are: “Don’t worry, you are young, you will be able to have a child.” or “My cousin’s friend also had a miscarriage and then went on to have four babies.” Now is not the time for that, it is not helpful. False hope gives hope in circumstances and not God.  Remind them of who God is.  That is what they need to hear, over and over again.  God is good.  He is loving.  He hasn’t forgotten you.   

With that said, the absolute best thing to say to someone who tells you that they had a miscarriage is, “I’m Sorry.” Followed by a hug.  You can add that you will be praying and that you love them, but you don’t need to say much more than that. They want to know that people love them and care about what happened to them. 

Humanizing Miscarriage

 Miscarriage is lonely.  You often blame yourself (which is not the truth) and you feel like no one would understand.  Recently, people in the media have been talking more about miscarriage and I believe humanizing miscarriage.  One that I saw that touched me was from Mark Zuckerberg.  I felt like he perfectly explained how I felt too as a mom to two miscarried babies. 

You feel so hopeful when you learn you’re going to have a child. You start imagining who they’ll become and dreaming of hopes for their future. You start making plans, and then they’re gone. It’s a lonely experience. Most people don’t discuss miscarriages because you worry your problems will distance you or reflect upon you — as if you’re defective or did something to cause this. So you struggle on your own.

In today’s open and connected world, discussing these issues doesn’t distance us; it brings us together. It creates understanding and tolerance, and it gives us hope.

When we started talking to our friends, we realized how frequently this happened — that many people we knew had similar issues and that nearly all had healthy children after all.

We hope that sharing our experience will give more people the same hope we felt and will help more people feel comfortable sharing their stories as well.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Founder, July 31st

I truly hope that miscarriage does become something that people speak about more, not just over social media/blogs but in person.  When you start sharing it, you are able to help others as so many people are affected.  The biggest lie that we can experience is when we think that no one would understand what we are going through.  There are so many others that can understand it. We just have to be open enough to share our pain.