“What do I say?” It’s always our first thought when contacting a friend who has experienced a loss isn’t it? After experiencing the loss of three babies my first at 12 weeks via D&C , second at 11 weeks via miscarriage, and then another baby in heaven after carrying 12 weeks. I wanted to share from my experience what things were and weren’t helpful.
Words to show you care. Honestly, it’s the knowing someone cares that means so much, not the specific words they use. But do say something! In person, don’t make the person who is hurting have to make YOU feel better! 🙂 I’ve seen this happen at funerals.
In writing, I appreciated the comments I received. Every. Single. One. It didn’t matter how original, just that someone cared. The most common phrases people used were: “I’m sorry for your loss,” or ” I’m so sorry.” I think they are perfectly acceptable. I especially appreciated those that said they were praying for me, and I hoped that in fact they were! 🙂
Putting words to action. During these times I experienced the loss of a baby, I had some people in my life who took caring to the next level. They also did something. I didn’t expect help, nor do I think anyone should have done more. But I greatly appreciated those acts of kindness. One friend called and said, “Please let me keep your children for an evening so you can spend some time with your husband.” This was after our first child we lost, and we felt much more devastated. After four healthy pregnancies and births, we were blindsided with the news. I cherish that one evening my friend gave us alone.
If you feel led to take someone a meal, take it too them. Don’t ask them if they need it. As long as I can walk and talk, I figure I can fix my family a sandwich. I would feel guilty telling someone I “needed” them to bring me a meal if I was still able. But I greatly appreciated everyone that did help us in this way.
Realize everyone’s experience isn’t the same. Talking about your own loss to let someone know you understand can be helpful. Letting someone know they are not alone is good. But if your friend is really grieving, and you went through a similar situation much less affected, that is not the time to tell them how spiritual you are that you didn’t take it so hard. For us, all three losses were sad, but the second and third were much easier to go through since we were at least somewhat prepared for the possibility. Emotionally, I was as ready I as could have been to hear the news when I went into the doctor’s office. I was praying when I went in, and I felt like I was carried through the whole thing. The shock factor is just harder to process. Think of it as the difference between the sudden death of a family member versus the death of a family member who has suffered an ongoing illness and declined slowly. The second is still sad, but in grieving it helps that you are somewhat prepared for the loss. At least that’s how it was for me. People process grief at different rates and in different ways and the last thing someone needs right then is condemnation for her grief.
Don’t tell her it’s wrong to have mixed feelings in a future pregnancy. Experience is a teacher. It would be impossible not to think about the possibility of losing the next one. When I was pregnant with Bobby, aftr my first loss, I went to each one of those early prenatal visits thinking the doctor might not see a heart beat. Thankfully, every time there was one. The longer I carried him the more I came to believe that I would actually be bringing my baby home. I felt the same way with this last pregnancy. I didn’t want to get too excited until I knew I was bringing him home, and this time the baby didn’t make it. Now, I’m excited to meet him in heaven someday!
I pray that my experience may help you in comforting your loved ones in their time of need. May God be praised!