I don’t know if you knew this or not, but miscarriages are extremely common among women… As in 25% of women will have at least one miscarriage in their lifetime. So yeah, it’s common, but I have found that people really just don’t know how to behave when a friend or loved one loses their baby much too early. You can’t really blame anyone for that though. It’s a delicate subject, and it’s not talked about nearly enough. I am so glad that the stigmas surrounding depression, anxiety, and other illnesses are beginning to be diluted in our society, and people are beginning to talk about it. However, I think miscarriage is another one that we should work toward understanding together. This life is rough, and nobody should have to go it alone. So, I am here to give you some tips on how to love your friend who had a miscarriage.
#1 Shut up and listen
First of all, just know that nothing you could ever say or do will make this okay. Allow your friend to grieve, and avoid saying things like “everything happens for a reason” or “it’s all in God’s plan” or anything even remotely related to that. Also, avoid any kind of “at least _________” comments….. For example, “at least you have your other 2 kids” , “at least you know you can get pregnant” , “at least you weren’t very far along” , etc. Those things may be true, but they are not comforting to someone who is in the thick of it. Let your friend set the tone for how she wants to handle everything. If she texts you, text her back. Don’t call. Don’t show up at her house. If she wants to continue on with normal life, don’t judge her for doing so. Everyone grieves in their own way, so don’t force her to do anything because you think she needs to. Let your friend know that you are there for her in any way that she needs you, that you are sorry for her loss, and that you are praying for her. That’s it. No words of advice. Just love and understanding. If you have been through a miscarriage yourself and want to share that with her, do so briefly. If she wants to talk in depth with you about it, she will when she is ready.
#2 Love them anyway
This is so so so so so important. Your friend may say or do some hurtful things to you. Forgive her. Know that whatever she says or does is out of pain, not malice. However bad she made you feel, know that she feels 100x worse for doing it to you. She needs people to fight for her right now, and to love her anyway. There are a lot of emotions coursing through her, and she’s not going to know how to cope for awhile. She needs people who are going to stick by her even when she pushes them away. She will come around eventually, I promise. Also, don’t give her the added burden of making you feel good about your efforts. As noble as they may be, sometimes it’s just not what she needs, and you need to be okay with that.
#3 Pray for them
I believe that the absolute very best thing you can do for your friend is pray for her. No one can heal a broken heart like our Savior can. We, as humans, are flawed. We cannot and will not know how to comfort her in the exact way that she needs. We won’t know exactly what to say to make the pain go away. Our hugs and our love can only do so much for her. But Jesus’ love can make her feel at peace. His love can fill the emptiness she feels inside. And His love can help her heal and move forward. Pray that God comforts her, heals her broken heart, and gives you the wisdom to be her friend in this situation. I believe in the power of prayer, and I believe that the power of prayer is what got me through my own miscarriage. Never underestimate the power of prayer.
#4 Do NOT ignore the fact that their baby ever existed
Never ever EVER do her baby the injustice of ignoring his or her existence. That baby, for however long he or she existed, was so very special to her. It’s crazy how quickly you start making plans and dreaming for your baby once you see those 2 pink lines. Don’t skirt around the topic in coversation. Acknowledge that for however many weeks your friend was pregnant, it happened, and her life was changed forever. You can even give her a gift to remember her baby by. If she had carried to term and delivered a healthy baby, you would undoubtedly give her and the baby a gift. Miscarriage shouldn’t be any different. A birthstone necklace, a decorative sign, a tree to plant in rememberence… it doesn’t really matter. Your friend will appreciate you achnowleding that she IS a mother. She may be a mother with no child (or one less child) here on Earth. But she knows what a mother’s love feels like. She IS a mother. Never discount that.
#5 Know if and when she needs to seek help
Your friend needs support in all of the ways mentioned above, but sometimes you just can’t give her what she needs to move forward. That’s okay. BUT, know when to help her seek professional help. This can be tricky to determine, and even more tricky to suggest. Absolutely give your friend all the time and support she needs, but if you feel she is crossing the line from grief into depression, encourage her to talk to a professional. They are trained to help people work through these types of heartaches. However, tread carefully when suggesting this to your friend. Know that it may not be well received coming from you. If so, talk to others who love her about your concerns. Never ever tell her that she needs to “get help” or “take some medication”. Ask questions. Help her gauge where her heart and her head is at. And please, for Pete’s sake, give her more than a couple of days before writing off her grief as depression.
To the Husbands:
I want you to know that you have the right to be heartbroken. It’s not just her that lost a baby. You did too. People need to realize you are hurting as well. However, your wife needs you now more than ever. Lean into each other, instead of distancing yourselves from each other. Love on her, hold her, cry with her. You may not know what to say, and that’s okay. She probably doesn’t either. But don’t leave her alone. If she pushes you away, fight for her. The best thing you can do is just be there. Plus, you need someone to be there for you as well. Sticking together throughout all of the chaos will help you both to heal and not harbor bitterness towards each other.
A note from your friend who had a miscarriage:
I know you don’t know what to do or what to say, but please don’t be scared to reach out to me for fear of saying the wrong thing. The fact that you cared enough to try means the world. I know I’m being difficult. I know your heart is in the right place. I know you love me. I understand, even when I don’t show it. Thank you for being there. I love you.