You may or may not have been there….but when a friend, family member or someone you know has had a miscarriage it can be so difficult to know what to say or do. If you’re reading this right now on the back of someone in your life having just had a miscarriage and you’re worried about saying or doing the wrong thing, or not doing anything at all, please join me with this Q&A with my good blogging friend Laura from Five Little Doves who works tirelessly to raise awareness of baby loss having had 15 miscarriages of her own.
Every person is different, but firstly could you perhaps share some of the thoughts and feelings someone who has just miscarried might be experiencing?
I think with your first miscarriage, the main feeling is of complete and utter disbelief. You go through such a range of emotions, having been so excited and expectant for a baby you had hoped and planned for, to suddenly having all of that taken away from you. It’s utterly heart breaking, it’s disappointing and it all feels so terribly unfair.
I personally experienced 15 miscarriages, and I know that every time I went through another loss, the anger and despair crept in. I think anyone experiencing multiple miscarriages goes through times where you question whether you can continue to put yourself through so much pain.
It can be so hard to know what to do or say when someone we know has had a miscarriage….what are your words of advice for trying to figure this out?
My advice would always be to be honest and open with your friend or family member. Don’t try to second guess what you should be doing to help them, don’t avoid them because you don’t know what to say, don’t crowd them because you don’t want them to feel alone. Simply ask them, “How would you like me to help you?”. Be there for them, in whatever way they need you to, every one is different.
It might be tempting to avoid the issue because we ourselves feel uncomfortable – how can we move past that?
This is something that I experienced countless times. Some of my friends felt very uncomfortable due to not knowing what to say, and unfortunately they handled it by avoiding me altogether. At a time when I needed my friends more than ever, I took it very personally when they avoided visiting or changed the subject if I mentioned my miscarriages.
With hindsight I think it’s only natural to feel uncomfortable, especially when it’s something that you may not have been through personally, but educating yourself is a great starting point in moving past that.
What are, in your eyes, some of the dos of helping someone after miscarriage….?
The main one for me is simply being there for them. Whether that’s in person, over the phone, sending flowers or a thoughtful little gift.
I also think that acknowledging their baby is so important as, to a Mother who has miscarried, that baby still matters.
And the don’ts…..?
Don’t try to act as though it hasn’t happened, you’d be amazed by how many people try to do just that. Also don’t take it personally if your friend or family member pushes you away in the short term or needs time to themselves to grieve. Remember that miscarriage is such a personal experience and allow your friend or loved one to do whatever it takes to get through it.
What are some helpful things someone who wants to be there for someone who has miscarried can say?
If there is anything that needs to be said it is simply, “I am here for you.” Those five words meant the world to me after each loss, just to know that no matter what, whether I was sad or angry or struggling with just how unfair life was, someone was there for me regardless.
And what should they avoid saying at all costs?
“You can always try again.”
“At least it wasn’t a real baby yet.”
“It could have been worse…”
“At least you have a child already.”
“You need to move on.”
“You’re lucky it happened now and not later.”
“It just wasn’t meant to be.”
I could go on and on, listing the insensitive things that I heard throughout my miscarriages, all of which devastated me and added to my grief. Don’t ever imply to somebody that their baby didn’t matter, nor that another baby will take away from their grief. I always say to others, if you’re not sure what to say, a hug will speak volumes.
Anything else you would like to add?
From a mother who has lost fifteen babies to miscarriage and our son Joseph at full term to the one who has miscarried, you will survive your loss. It may not feel that way in the moment, and nor will it be easy, but you will find a way to get through it. There are some amazing websites out there that I would recommend for more information on miscarriages and baby loss including Kickscount, Tommy’s and SANDS, all offering excellent support and advice.
I really hope the above Q&A has been helpful to anyone who is concerned about what to do and say to a friend after miscarriage. If you have any questions or concerns please do feel free to share them in a comment below and please visit Laura’s blog Five Little Doves for more on miscarriage and baby loss.
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