Thursday, January 17, 2008

Comfort After A Pregnancy Loss

This was taken from a journal post I had written on Cafemom. I wrote it because I had just suffered a miscarriage and wanted to let people know what they can do to help.

I'm writing this because most of you know I recently suffered a miscarriage at 9 weeks. My friends (in real life and on Cafemom) have been just wonderful. The support was amazing and it totally helped me get through a lot of rough days. While this is no fault of anyone and I hope it does not sound like I'm ungrateful, I noticed a few things that I'm sure I have even done when faced with a similar situation and you never really know what to do unless you have been there yourself.

So, with that said, here are a few tips on what to do (or not do) if someone you know has suffered a loss, whether it be a miscarriage, a child, spouse, a sibling, a parent, etc.

1. So many phone calls and emails come in during the first few days but then the phone stops and the emails stop only a few days later and you feel alone again. Don't worry about bothering us with your calls or emails, just continue the support. If we don't want to talk, we most likely won't answer the phone or respond to the email.

2. Don't just act like nothing ever happened because you don't know what to say. Just saying you are sorry is enough.

3. Don't assume they don't wan to talk about it. Ask them if they would like to talk.

4. On special occasions (or milestones if you know them) send them a note to let them know you didn't forget what they are going through and that you are there for them.

5. Don't assume that we are getting bombarded by calls and emails. If you want to call or email, just do it. It's worse when no one reaches out because they think other people are.

I've received so much from so many people but I just thought I would throw this out there because I know before this loss, Iwas guilty of probably everything on the list. I know that now I will look at other people's losses in a much different light.

86 comments:

SugarandSpice said...

I have had 2 miscarriages myself. One at 20 weeks and another at 10weeks. Both were hard and exactly 1 year to the day apart. I felt like it was a sign that I wouldn't have anymore children. But I was blessed with another beautiful healthy baby girl. I know how hard it can be and I like that you are reaching out to people to remind them to be there for others in their time of need. I think it's nice to talk to other women who have experienced it, because I'm not sure if our husbands really understand how we feel. Thank you for sharing.

The Mom @ Babes in Hairland said...

Good advice. I had 1 miscarriage but really didn't share it with too many people because I didn't want to make everyone else feel awkward, etc. It's a hard place for everyone to be. Well written. Enjoy your day in the SITS spotlight!

MrsM said...

I never know what to say or do for my friends in these situations. Thank you for your post. I am sorry for your loss.

piecemeal people said...

I don't handle death well, and never know what to say. I usually ask questions and let the other person take the lead, telling me what they want to tell me and deciding whether or not they want to talk.

Collette@Jesuslovesmums said...

Hi congrats on being FB on SITS. I have had a miscarriage too and my two best friends as well. It is awful but it brought my friends and I closer.
Collette xxx

egt said...

This is great advice, I have a friend who has had 3 miscarriages and she is currently 8 weeks along in her 4th pregnancy...thank you for the insight into experience.

Jennifer said...

What great advice and insight. Very helpful for someone like me that never seems to know the right thing to say. Thank you.

Melanie said...

i should have known your blog at more than a year ago.

i felt so helpless when my friend was going through this... i did not know how to help or what to do.
i tried to talk to her, tried to reach her... maybe i should have just done what you write so perfectly.. just tell her i am there.

{Katie Lane} said...

Thanks for the advise. I'm sorry for your loss.

Jeannie Finelli, RN said...

Your suggestions are helpful; supporting each other through tough times gives us more strength.

theselfloveproject said...

loss can be tough..

my best friend had a misscarriage in jan and just watching her was heartbreaking..

peace to everyone..

kAyE said...

i have friends who went through the same situation and i did not know how to react or what to say or do! i am sorry you lost a child. but hey, we know that God has a reason for letting things happen. He has plans for you. :)

Queenie Jeannie said...

Hugs.

And thank you for the wise words.

Yaya said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I am a recurrent pregnancy loss sufferer still trying for baby #1 and you're right, the things ppl do after a loss like this are just heartbreaking.

Becky @ Our Sweet Peas said...

This is really great advice. Good for you for putting it out there.

cat said...

Thanks for the advice- greetings from South Africa.

Trish said...

It's always nice to have a gentle reminder on how to talk to others in need. THX

Little Miss Baker said...

Thanks for the advice!

confused homemaker said...

I have also had miscarriages, the experience has colored all my pregnancies since. It was & is still very painful. I'm sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story & advice, it will help a lot of women.

Susan said...

Thank you for sharing this. For someone whose never experienced it myself, and my friends are just now starting to get pregnant and have children, this is something I think I might need to keep handy.

isarose said...

One thing I recently learned was to put a reminder on the calendar six months from the date you heard the news of a traumatic event. That way, your calendar reminds you to call that person and say. Sorry for your loss again and is there anything that you need now.

Lisa Mom of 2 Boys said...

I remember my first miscarriage like it was yesterday. It was horrible. I was alone (with no family) in Florida with my new husband (now my ex-husband, but that is another story). I've had 14+ since that time, but I have 2 miracle boys....fighters to have made it through.

glenna said...

Great post!!

Jules said...

It's always interesting how you look at things after you have been through them. I also learned not to try to relate to what that person is going through unless I have actually been through exactly what they are going through.
Even the good times in people's lives... the way you handle and react to things changes once you have been in that happy spot.

Well written!

CCW said...

Stopping by from SITS, and just had to say how this hits me on so many levels. Your advice applies to anyone going through a trial or tragedy. My husband's battling cancer & we are in aggressive chemo treatments right now, and every time I hear, "I've been thinking about you, but I don't want to bother," it breaks my heart. Send a quick message, leave a voicemail; if I can pick up, or respond, I will. But I need to know you really are there.

And then there's the issue of miscarriage. I had one 5 years ago. I didn't even know I was pregnant until it happened. My husband & I had already decided not to have children, so we were overwhelmed by the intense loss we both felt. All I could think was, "I didn't even know you were there or I would have protected you," even though I knew there was nothing I could have done.

The worst part? Hearing "well, isn't it a blessing? you didn't want this anyway?" or "how could you let this happen?" The best was a friend just saying, "I am so,so sorry," and holding me while I cried.

Kara said...

Thanks so much for this post. I am one who is never quite sure what to do, and I really appreciate your advice.

Robin said...

great advise....

so sorry for your loss.....

((hug))

Life of a Stepmama said...

So sorry you had to go through that. Great advice because it is hard for people to know what to do in those situations. :)

Jen said...

I had 3 one of which was a DEC I understood it was God's way of saying "there is problems with this child"

Ronnica said...

Thanks for this. I've not been through anything like that, so I need help in how I can minister to others.

ItsKelly said...

Hi! Visiting from SITS.

This list is great. Four months ago I lost my pregnancy at 18 weeks. Your list is right on. No one knows what to say or do, and the way friends and co-workers handled it made what I was going through so much harder. Nothing can make the pain go away, but something as simple as saying "I'm sorry, I'm here for you if you need to talk" can make a world of difference.

Laura said...

I've had two miscarriages and before that time, I never realized how hard a miscarriage can be on the mom and dad, but now I have been blessed with two girls. But I always wonder what those two babies would have been like.

Creative Junkie said...

Very good reminders - I never know what to say in these kinds of situations.

Rose said...

I am sooo sorry for your loss....
Great advice. A friend just had a miscarriage 1 month ago. I have not said anything else to her. I was afraid to bring it up again. guess what? I am going to email her right now and tell her I am thinking of her! thx!

Amy said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I recently miscarried and it was so awkward when people would still come up to me and ask when the baby was due. They never knew what to say when I told them. Very awkward. Thank you so much for posting this!

Sara said...

I think this was so helpful for people like me, who have no idea how to help/support/reach out to someone who has been through something this traumatic.

Thanks for the thoughtful reminders!

Rbarakat said...

Thank you for sharing - I would not have known what to say myself. Sorry for your loss.

B.o.B. said...

So sorry for your loss. Thanks for posting this. I just had a friend go through this awful experience as well and I didn't know how to act.

Bella Crafts said...

Thanks for the "Show You Care" wisdom.

Happy SITS day :)

Scrappy Girl said...

I have never experienced this, but I did go through it with a close friend. Your tips are great! Happy SITS!

Mighty M said...

Thanks for writing this - a lot of people out there just don't know what to do (or not do). It is nice to see the list. I hope your SITS day is wonderful!

Elizabeth said...

Gosh, I wish I'd seen this when my sister had a miscarriage last year. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Tonya said...

Great advice...and I too am guilty of not staying in touch.

tommy said...

I've always been the person that says the sorries or anything that I'm honestly feeling about a situation, whether it be mine or someone else's--but have a deep fear that one day it will bite me in the rear end...(and it has a few times.) Everyone is different and not all people greive the same, that is for sure. Thanks for this post...it validated how I handle myself most times...its easy to get deterred when you are scared of "stepping on someone's toes."

jori-o said...

Excellent advice. I suffered a miscarriage a few years ago and I was surprised at how devastating it was, especially because it was so early on in the pregnancy (7 weeks). Great reminder of how to be kind and compassionate to those who are suffering.

BlogBaby said...

Great advice. When my BabyMama lost her "WombBoom Baby" (her third miscarriage), she did feel terribly alone without much support from friends and family who didn't know what to do or say. Hopefully we can all grow in our compassion for each other in these kinds of difficult situations.

BlogBaby (yes, A BABY who BLOGS)

Multiple personalities.. said...

I'm so incredibly sorry for your loss. And your very brave and inspiring for sharing your story and sharing advice on how to help you loved ones or dear friends cope with loss. It was very lovely meeting you via SITS!

Michelle said...

thanks for sharing that.

It's really hard to know what to do sometimes.

Tara said...

good advice to pass on....thank you! ♥

Melissa said...

Thank you for sharing this. I'm always unsure of the right way to respond to someone who's suffered a pregnancy loss, and you've given some great advice. I'm sorry for your loss!

Faith Imagined said...

I have had a few and this list is right on!

{leah} said...

It's a nice reminder. Our very first child ended in a miscarriage. The husband was in bootcamp, and I truly felt alone.

I have since had friends that have lost babies and I feel like I can understand a little better.

For me, I wish someone would have said "It's ok to hurt, and this is a crappy thing that happen"

I'm sorry for your loss sometimes life isn't fair. {at least the Lord knows better than we do}

Melissa said...

I can relate to this post. I suffered three miscarriages. It got more difficult with each one. The toughest thing for me was being invited to baby showers and getting news about someone's pregnancy. I got very angry when I heard of teenagers getting pregnant and acting as if it was no big deal.It wasn't until I decided to give up on having another child that these things stopped bothering me.

Sarah said...

This is really good advice. So many people just don't know how to handle stuff like that. One of my best friends' dad died last year and I talked to her about it a lot and made sure to tell her I love her on big days, like the 6 month point, holidays and the one year point. He died exactly one month before her wedding.

Joy said...

Very well said and a good reminder for us all.

Congrats again on your SITS day. :o)

greedygrace said...

I've also had a miscarriage. The hardest thing for me was that we had announced the pregnancy to everyone, but we weren't shouting from the roof tops when we lost it, you know? And because they didn't know, people were still asking about my pregnancy weeks, even months later. That sucked.

Pricilla said...

Thank you...

Say Anything Notes said...

Thanks for this post. It was very sweetly written, and to be honest more needs to be written on this subject. I lost my brother in a car accident one month after I got married, and many of those things happened. What I learned from them was how to try to respond to others in their loss! I agree with everything you wrote and I appreciate you speaking out from your heart on the subject. It's a difficult one to talk about and for loved ones not know what to do, I think if they just had a list of what TO do it would be much easier for them. Because it's not that they are not willling, of course. My husband was my lifesaver. I am so sorry for your loss. I pray that God continues to bring you peace. Always, Sarah Elizabeth

Robbie S. Redmon, LPC said...

I am a grief therapist. It's great you took the time to formulate this list. like you said, most people just don't know what to do.

Mindy said...

Thanks for sharing! Been there with my last one biological child... the pregnancy started out as twins. We lost the second twin at about 12 weeks, after knowing for almost two months. Although we came out with a baby, it hurt nonetheless. After the example of some great friends, I learned that I really do not need to say anything when someone I know miscarries... just "show" them you love them, not just tell them.

Congrats on your SITS feature!

Mindy
Adopt a 'Do - Cute Girls Hairstyles

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

These were good tips. I have a friend who suffered a loss, and I wasn't sure exactly what to say.

Katie said...

I am so sorry for your loss.

Thank you for this insight. I agree that sometimes people (myself included!) say nothing when they aren't sure what to say. Its good to know that sometimes "I'm sorry." is enough.

Marrdy said...

It's always nice to have support after a miscarriage and very nice that people actually acknowledge your loss. No matter what you were pregnant and that baby was already a part of you. Great post.

Bitter Sweet Moments said...

This is an amazing post. I too had a miscarriage at 13 weeks. It was the most trying time of my life. Thank God for good friends:)

Jessica said...

Another thing NOT to say is, "Hey! At least you can drink now!" My poor sister got that one a few times and it nearly killed her.

Lisa said...

Thanks for the advice. I'm never sure what to say or do. This is very helpful.

La Belle Mere UK said...

A very emotional post. Sorry to hear about your loss.

B xxxx

C. Beth said...

That is fantastic advice. My miscarriage was very early but it definitely gave me a greater understanding of what other moms go through. A friend said it's a huge club with lots of moms in it, even though none of us wanted to be in it!

Adrian's Crazy Life said...

Been there, done that. I had 4 miscarriages in a year. I never received a card, a flower, or a condolence from anyone including my own family. It was just swept under the rug and that was so hurtful to me. I guess people just didn't know what to do. I wish they could have read something like this.

The good news is that I finally got my youngest son several years later. He's 11 and off to summer camp this week!

Helen McGinn said...

Thank you for your good advice and I'm sorry.
x

K said...

I has a miscarriage too. It's a very hard time.

Excellent advice.

Mel said...

Thank you for sharing this; I too am guilty of using the "Everyone else is probably showering them with so many calls" excuse. I'm truly sorry for your loss too.

Kris said...

I can't imagine going through this. Thank you for sharing. Have a wonderful SITS day!

Ali said...

So sorry for that loss.

Days of Whine & Noses said...

my oldest daughter and I are in the midst of the grief process and feel isolated at times.

visiting from SITS

Holly Noelle @ Domestic Dork said...

I knew a lot of this already. But the advice to ASK if they want to talk was helpful for me. Usually I'm afraid to bring things up in case people don't want to talk, but that's such a better way to handle it.

ungirdledpassion said...

This is really helpful to folks who haven't been through it but want to be helpful. Thanks and I am so sorry for your loss. Glad that through SITS so many will benefit.

The Redhead Riter said...

I am sorry for your loss. I'm glad you were able to write about it and share it. I'm sure your posting has helped others who have experienced the same tragedy.

Tell your daughter that the middle school years are HELL and that the girls are EVIL LITTLE WITCHES...LOL. Really, those years are supposed to be the hardest for girls. Their hormones kick in and their bodies changes in so many ways while their personalities also change. She needs to find a few, and I mean a few good friends, then she should be involved in SO MANY ACTIVITIES that she is exhausted. Several reasons...she will be too tired to get into trouble -- if she is shunned by one or two girls, she will have so many other girl "friends" that it won't matter so much -- it will help develop her personality. Whew...sorry I wrote so much. I lived through those teeter totter years with Alyssa and know how hard they are for the girls. Good luck.

Stopping by from SITS today!

...and everything nice said...

What great advice. Thank you so much for sharing.

Rachel said...

Good post. I, too, have suffered miscarriages. It is hard to feel ignored and left alone because people don't know what to do or say.

Cindi @ Moomette's Magnificents said...

I'm sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing.
Visiting from SITS

J said...

I'm so sorry about your baby. My first child was miscarried and I was very messed up about it for a very very long time. It's one of the rare occasions that I can actually say that I feel your pain, although that doesn't really make either one of us feel better. You are so right about the reactions of others too though. Everyone around us, including at the hospital, acted like nothing had happened and it was like rubbing salt in the wound. God Bless.

Mariel said...

Great advice! It's true that a lot of people just don't know what to say or do when their friend has a loss. It's also true on the other end of the spectrum that the person who has had the loss needs to be understanding of the weird things people say or do and know that their intentions are what matter. It's not worth taking offense. Great thoughts and post!

Single Mama NYC said...

I was told for 13 years that I wasn't likely to conceive, then at 33 I got pregnant. I was so joyous, my family so thrilled. Then at 7 and a half weeks, after watching that little heartbeat from within me on the sonogram monitor, I lost her. I don't know why, but I still feel in my spirit that it was a "her". I was devastated beyond comfort. I felt as if that was my one chance at being a mother and it was ripped from me.

2 months later I was pregnant again, and I refused to allow myself to become attached to him. I also knew, this time it was a "him", but I refused to get attached. I almost lost my Theo in childbirth, but he's here and healthy as an ox. My gratitude for him could fill oceans.

Thank you for this post.

simply bryant said...

im the worlds worst about "not knowing what to say". i often forget "sorry" is better than nothing at all. thank you for sharing. i am so sorry for your loss.

Alicia said...

i'm so sorry for your loss...i hope you and your family were able to find comfort