Thursday, May 6, 2010

Loving someone through a miscarriage.

It's been 4 weeks since my D and C. That is crazy. It's been painfully slow and fast all at the same time. I was talking to a sweet girl today who miscarried two weeks ago, tears were filling our eyes and overflowing as we talked. The hurt is still so raw. One minute I'm fine, then I see an ultrasound picture on facebook or hear of another friend announcing their pregnancy. Then I feel like the air has been sucked out of me and that someone has pierced my heart.
Please don't get me wrong. I know life goes on. People get pregnant, people have babies. I'm not mad at them, I'm sad for me. I also don't want to people think that they need to not tell me about their joy over a pregnancy, or that sort of stuff. But it hurts and it's something that can't be helped.
In talking with this girl I was reminded of things that didn't help in my time of intense grief and things that did. So I wanted to share. I don't want to share this and have friends feel like they said the wrong thing or didn't do the right thing. I just want to share because I know that I felt completely at a loss for what to say when friends miscarried and now I know what to do.

*These are my opinions, and it is different for every person.

Things to do:
1.Bring that person some food.
(In this area, all I can say is DO it. Just do it.)
I was so emotionally empty and so desperately sad that making a meal was the furthest thing from my mind. But I was so hungry. I remember the Tuesday I found out that the babies were gone, I had like 5 people offer to bring me dinner. What a blessing! The only thing was I was too tired to say yes. I was too tired to coordinate. So I said "No thank you." All the time kicking myself because I knew I needed it. Then my friend Monique called me and said, "I'm bringing you spaghetti right now." Just like that. She did.
I had 4 different friends just drop by food without giving us even the option to say no, and that was the best.

2.Look that person in the eyes and say, "I'm so sorry."
That is all we want to hear.

3.Say something.
I can pretty much tell you every single person who wrote even the smallest comment on my facebook. Every single text, call, facebook post was encouraging. Just because a million people said the same thing, doesn't mean your words wont matter.

4.Go over to that person's home and watch a movie with them.
I was so lonely and so brain dead. So even though I craved company, I didn't want to feel like I had to entertain someone.
My friend Bethany came over twice to watch movies with me. She brought ice cream both times. It was exactly what I needed.

5.Don't forget.
Just because the physical healing is over in "two weeks" doesn't mean that we have gotten over it.
It had been two weeks and I thought every single person had forgotten about it. No one asked me how I was doing in that empathetic, concerned way. Everything seemed back to normal...for everyone else.
I just was sick inside and I felt like screaming, "I'm so not over this! Someone care!"
My pastor's wife took my hand that night and with such care in her eyes, genuinely asked how I was doing. I cried and it felt so good to not pretend to be "right".
6.Who cares if it has been a day or a year, ask someone about the baby they lost and I guarantee it will mean the world to them.

What not to do/say:
1.Do not say, "Well, it's probably best, there was probably something wrong with that baby."
Even though it might be true, that just doesn't help anything.
2.Do not say, "There was never really a baby."
This is not true. I believe the moment an egg and sperm meet, there is a soul.
3.Just don't try to lessen the pain. It's a sad thing. Don't try to make it less sad.
4.Don't talk about it all working out in the end. Or God's plan.
Again, even though it's true, it just seems like you are trying to lessen the pain.

And do not do this:
When waiting for my DandC to be scheduled, I asked the receptionist at my midwifery if we could do it that day because I had a baby sitter for Barclay. She looked at me and said,
"You have a baby?" (With a very condescending look on her face)
"Yes, a 14 month old."
"You must be SO relieved that this pregnancy isn't working out!"
(WHAT?!?! What is your problem lady? Why would you ever say that to someone?!)

And to make it better after seeing the state of shock my face was in...

"I have a friend with two babies under 2 years and it is CRAZY."

Thanks lady, but I would take crazy over nothing any day.


  1. I came across your blog and am so sorry for you. I agree with your things to do list especially about not forgetting.

    It has been 2 months for me and people want/expect me to be back to "normal" by now. They don't understand the pain doesn't go away, and I'll always love and miss that baby. Time does not change that.

  2. I discovered that despite someone's best efforts to be supportive, there really isn't much they can say after losing a baby. The best thing they can say is, "I'm here to listen". Anything beyond that is unnecessary. And yes, people expect you to have forgotten after a period of time. And you never forget. So sweet of Monique and your other friends to bring you food and lend a shoulder. The sweetest thing she offered me after my loss was to help me plant a garden for my angel. I was sad that I didn't have anything tangible to remind me of the baby besides a positive pregnancy test, so that was her suggestion. We never got around to it because life happened in the meantime, but it remains a sweet idea. And who knows, 2.5 years later, I may still do it.

  3. Also wanted to add that I can relate to the paralysis that comes with grief and stress from a situation. I was also too drained, emotionally and physically (people also forget there is a HUGE physical component to miscarriage) to accept help. Or acknowlege well wishes. It made me look cold and unappreciative, but I was just in the depths of despair. Even when I delivered Ben, while it was largely a happy occassion, it happened under very stressful and not optimal circumstances, so I very much felt the same way after that. Anyway, still think of you and your family daily, HJ.

  4. Hey Helen Joy!
    I admire you for writing your post today. I would have to agree with you, and I do know and understand the feelings you are going through. It doesn't matter if it happened just yesterday, a month ago, or a year ago, the hurt is still there and I don't think you can ever forget! I do think and pray for you often. If you ever need to vent or remember, feel free to give me a call. Love you.

  5. I almost wrote on your other post about Barclay that I was sure you were thinking of your sweet babies today but didn't for some reason. I guess for those of us who aren't mothers, it seems kinder not to remind you if you're not thinking about it. But it's always there. I know this Mother's Day is bittersweet (and that that word doesn't even come close to describing what you're feeling), and I'm thinking about you and Noah and your sweet family today. Love you!


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