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When Your Friend Has a Miscarriage

Remembrance jewelry from RoseCreek Cottage on Etsy.
Remembrance jewelry from RoseCreek Cottage on Etsy.

It’s happened to so many of us, yet seemingly to no one at all. “Miscarriage” is a dirty word for the isolating, sad and confusing experience that happens in approximately 1 in 4 pregnancies. If you haven’t struggled with pregnancy loss, chances are very good that a woman dear to you is quietly grieving. Here are a few ways to support your friend through a miscarriage.

Acknowledge her loss. Every mama knows that a fierce love for your child begins long before you even feel that first kick in the womb. Miscarriage is an instantaneous loss of the dreams, hopes, plans and excitement for a baby who was no doubt already very loved. This is not just a weird reproductive blip or a missed opportunity that didn’t work out: for many women, it’s a very real bereavement.

Take your cue from her. Cry with her, listen to her or distract her. If she’s still trying to sort through her feelings, she may want to just act “normal” for awhile.   Everyone processes painful events differently, so try to make the support all about her. Do not compare what she’s feeling with your own struggles to get pregnant, miscarriages you have experienced, and situations of other friends you know.

Say this… I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m sorry you’re hurting. I hate that this happened to you. This is so unfair. I know how much this meant to you. How are you feeling right now?

….not that. At least you know you can get pregnant. You can try again/will you try again? It’s God’s plan. Do you know why it happened? At least you already have one child. You’re young, you can get pregnant again. I don’t know how you do it, I could never deal with something like this. Be grateful for the child you have. Maybe it’s just not meant to be. Have you thought about adoption? At least you weren’t farther along.

Take charge. If she’s your friend, you don’t need to ask if it’s okay to drop off a meal, take her out for a pedicure or bring her a stack of trashy magazines. Just do it!  “Let me know if you need anything” conveys good intentions, but it may take some time for your friend to know what she needs (or to admit that she needs some extra love). Make the effort to reach out first with a kind gesture.

Check in. Ask her every so often how she’s doing. She may be feeling better, she may be struggling. Either way, she likely still has many unresolved and tender feelings about the loss. Checking in lets her know it’s okay if she’s not “over it.”

If you’ve lost a pregnancy or infant, The Nurturing Nest offers a safe place to grieve. The Northern Nevada Miscarriage, Infant-loss, and Stillbirth Support (M.I.S.S.) support group meets there with parents who have  experienced the loss of a child from early pregnancy to early infancy.  This support group provides bereaved parents with a supportive atmosphere where they can come to give and receive support by sharing their feelings about their loss and keep the love and memory of their baby alive. By sharing common experiences, families will be able to learn about the complex grief process and to not only work their way through their loss but also to resolve it, in a safe, non-judgmental environment. Visit The Nurturing Nest to sign up for the group’s next meeting on Thursday, August 15.

Reno Moms Blog readers, have you experienced a miscarriage? What helped you feel most supported?

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About Annie McFarland

Annie McFarland
Happily married to her former neighbor, Annie is mom to three kids age four and under. She (mostly) balances life at home with working full-time in brand and media licensing. Off the clock, you can find Annie on the couch with her nose in a book (or pressed up against the Kindle), thinking about maybe doing some scrapbooking, or listening to NPR podcasts (she's what you call "indoorsy"). If it's football season, she will faithfully support her Southern husband by cheering on the Auburn Tigers and Atlanta Falcons.

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