If you are wondering how to respond when someone has a miscarriage, let us help you. In this article, we will share a few personal details as a background for 6 ways to help someone you love to navigate through this difficult time.
A little background
I remember it like it was yesterday. The first one. The second one. The miscarriages. I can talk about them now without the pain. But back then, well, that’s a different story. At that time, the sense of failure, despair, and profound feeling of “lack” seemed to permeate every single pore of my body. Lack of answers. Lack of ability. And most of all, the lack of my beloved children.
The first miscarriage was hard enough. It happened at the end of my first trimester. I’d carried our child long enough to weather through the sickness, the fatigue, and the mood swings that come with pregnancy. I had also had time to experience many of the joys of loving and bonding with our little one. Then a year later, halfway through the next pregnancy, I found myself again confronted with the death of our tiny person with whom I had already fallen in love. I’d felt her move (I believe she was a girl even though that was never confirmed), and I had seen her perfect-looking self on the ultrasound. She was beautiful. But her heart had stopped, and she was still, lifeless. My world crumbled in ways that I had never known possible.
After the second loss, our pastor performed a memorial service. Another woman in our congregation had lost an infant to miscarriage and another to SIDS. I wanted our baby’s service to touch them also, so I asked that we have a time when moms and dads who had lost children could take a flower from a large bundle, to lay on the altar. My pastor readily agreed. When the day of the service came, and he announced my offer, I remember being immobilized at what happened next. Woman after woman rose from the pews, filed down the aisles with tears in their eyes, and placed a white carnation amongst all the others, memorializing all the little lives who either never drew a breath or did not live long enough to reach their first birthday. My heart was broken for them, but suddenly, I did not feel so alone. We could see and hear each other. Women of all ages – young and old. One woman who was well past retirement approached me at the end of the service and said, “This meant so much to me. We were not allowed to talk about it in my day.”
How to respond when someone has a miscarriage
The road to healing was long, but it came. And as I look back, I can see how the service was the beginning of that road. As I consider those who volunteered their time and love to aid in my healing, I realize there were specific roles they played. I share these roles hoping they will be a compass for friends and family who love women who have lost their children.
1. The gatekeeper – She organized meals and kept others informed. She let people know when I was up to seeing visitors again and kindly guarded my privacy when it was needed.
2. The chefs – This group of women kept us fed for a couple of weeks while I recovered physically and emotionally.
3. The encouragers – These friends sent cards and called to say hi. Some cards had personal notes; some already had the perfect Hallmark words. But every attempt said love, no matter the form.
4. The listeners – These closest allies let me rage on or cry myself out when I needed to. No judgment. No attempts to change my mind or force me to look on the bright side. Simple acceptance was needed, and simple acceptance was what they gave.
5. The spiritual comforters – One dear woman served as my “older, wiser, other.” She prayed with me, helped me search for meaning, let me ponder out loud what I knew, and thought I knew about God. She was able to hold space when I did not understand. Like the listeners, she did not try to change my mind. She didn’t scold me for spicy words or incorrect theology. She just loved me.
6. The long haulers – These were a mixture of ladies from those already listed. They were there at the beginning of the trauma, and they were there every time later when the grief hit me unexpectedly. They were steady and unwavering. They were solid. And they will forever be dear.
If you have a friend, a sister, a cousin, a colleague who has lost a child, don’t be afraid to reach out. Just love her while she heals.
Should you seek grief counseling for miscarriage?
If you or someone you know has experienced a miscarriage and need a miscarriage counselor in Woodstock, Georgia, Family Renewal Counseling can help. We are always here to serve you and help you navigate through these difficult times.