Miscarriage is hard. It’s painful physically and emotionally. It’s confusing and messy and can be temporarily debilitating. It’s lonely.
Although it seems that nothing anyone does can alleviate the pain, there are ways to ease the burden of those suffering from miscarriage. Here are some ideas from my readers and my own experience.
Allow for grief. This is a baby we’re talking about! Dismissing the event as “these things happen” undermines the intense emotions the couple may be facing. It’s lonely to think you’re the only one who cares about your child.
Don’t be afraid to talk about it. Don’t avoid the parents or the topic. The parents will guide the conversation; just be open to it. It’s hard to know what to say, but saying something is better than saying nothing.
Unless you have suffered a miscarriage at nearly the same gestation, you do not “know exactly how you feel.” Please don’t say you do.
Send a card or small token of remembrance. Something with a birthstone for the baby’s due date is nice.
Offer specific help. What time can I pick up your kids for the day tomorrow? When can I bring dinner tonight? It’s difficult for anyone processing a miscarriage to think of those things, but they are much appreciated. Most sufferers won’t ask.
When we miscarried at 11 weeks, we were blessed by my brother and sister-in-law who had been there, done that. She thought of things I never would have thought of! They brought us supper that very evening that we had our sonogram, and on the phone she asked “What can I bring you? Do you need anything? Do you have enough pads?” Enough pads?! Who thinks of that? I’m glad she did and that she brought me some, saving my husband from an uncomfortable emergency run to the store the next day.
Our other blessing came straight from our doctor. He fit us in his busy schedule immediately after that sonogram and assured us that we did nothing wrong, to never doubt the existence of our baby, and that they (his office) would be praying for us. A few days later we received a letter of sympathy and encouragement from him! It was truly comforting to know our doctor cared.
No matter what you do or don’t do, say or don’t say, it may not feel right. It certainly won’t remedy the situation. That’s okay. Do something anyway.
For more on miscarriage, visit Jen’s series: Death Before Birth.
If you have other suggestions for support and comfort during miscarriage, please add them to the comments.