How is that for a sucky topic? Did you know that 1 in 4 women experience a miscarriage? That means there is a good chance that one of your friends has, or will, miscarry. Thinking back, I said some things that probably came off pretty bad when one of my best friends had a miscarriage. I really didn’t mean any harm. I honestly had no idea what it was like to lose a baby, until I became 1 in 4.
But what about when you want to be there as a friend and you haven’t gone through it yourself? Let me give you some ideas of how you can help out your friend. As you read through these, remember no two miscarriages are the same and no two people are the same. Use the tips as a guide, it’s not black and white, and these are just tips that I’ve learned as my friends (and now myself) have gone through miscarriages.
5 Tips For Helping Your Friend Through Miscarriage
Be There for Her
Let her know you are there. One of my friends texted me every single day for about 3 weeks. She kept it simple with “how are you today?” or “thinking about you”. I knew that I could count on her. She let me go through the stages of grief (while my hormones were completely out of whack) without telling me that it would all be okay. We knew I would be okay. But I didn’t need to hear it, not then.
Keep Some Thoughts to Yourself
Don’t tell her it wasn’t meant to be. Maybe you are the spiritual kind, in that way, and even if she is as well, she may not be at this very moment. Remember that she is a grieving parent now. The minute she learned she was pregnant her life changed and she became a mother.
Understand she might not want to hang out, or celebrate special occasions right now. Your friend is grieving and trying to reel in hormones. She might spend days or weeks in the darkness of her bedroom. She might stuff her face with brownies for weeks on end (and basically no other foods) — I did. If you, or any of your friends, are pregnant understand she may have trouble spending face-to-face time with you right now. This will pass. But right now a pregnant belly, or a newborn infant, may not be easy for her to be around.
Give Her Time
Don’t tell her she can try again or mention any difficulty you may have conceiving at this time. In the future she may be up for that conversation. Right now isn’t the time. If she has other children, don’t tell her that “at least you have kids”. She is grieving the loss, the hopes and dreams, of that child.
Respect the Grief Process
There are five stages of grief and each person goes through them at their own pace. The stages can easily overlap. Stages can last minutes, hours, days, weeks, even months. Through this process, your friend may experience an abundance of emotions, thoughts, and feelings. She may feel numb, sad, and even mad. All before she begins to come to terms with the reality.
The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing… that is a friend who cares. -Henri Nouwen
I hope you have found these five tips for supporting your friend through miscarriage helpful. Please don’t feel scared and abandon your friend. She may need time, but she needs to know you are there waiting when she is ready. She may jump right into talking about trying again, she might not want to speak of it at all, she may want to discuss the baby, and she may not. Remember how you supported her in the beginning, and continue to follow those steps and her lead.
Have you experienced a miscarriage or have you helped a friend through one? What was said or did that you found helpful? We’re a sisterhood and let’s help each other.
Till next time…
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Brooke has been helping families as a board-certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, since 2007. Prior to that, she spent 4+ years working as a Registered Nurse in both pediatric and postpartum nursing.
Brooke holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing. Additionally, she is dual-licensed in her state as both an APRN and RN.