Are you at a loss when it comes to knowing what to say or do to help a woman who has miscarried? Often, we don't know what to say or do and opt for either saying, or doing, nothing. To make matters worse, we make the mistake of dismissing her grief. I'm here to help you by offering a few simple support tips if you find yourself with a friend or loved one who has miscarried.
- Don't say:
- You're young, you can always have another.
- It was meant to be, or It was God's will.
- At least you have other children.
- Miscarriages are common.
- Why don't you just get over it and move on? (That was said to me.)
- At least you weren't that far along.
- There must have been something wrong with the baby.
- You can always try again.
These words, although often said with the best of intentions, do nothing to help a woman who has miscarried. Actually, they do the opposite- they hurt. Why? Well, when you say things like You can always have another, or, It was meant to be, you are essentially saying her loss wasn't real. You're not taking into consideration that she lost a REAL BABY -- a baby she had love, hopes, dreams, wishes and plans for. When she lost her baby, she lost all of those dreams, too. If she were to lose a child after birth, I'm quite certain people would treat her differently because a baby was seen, held, loved. Remember: A pregnant woman usually forms a very strong bond with her unborn from the moment she realizes she's pregnant. Her life changes immediately as she begins planning a brand new life. After all, there was a very alive, beautiful and real baby inside of her. A baby who died.
- Do Say: There are six simple words for you to say to a woman who has miscarried, and they accomplish several things.
- They acknowledge her grief and loss.
- They show compassion, sympathy and understanding.
- They make her feel less alone and not crazy for feeling like her world's been ripped out from under her.
Those words are: I AM SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS.
By simply saying you're sorry for her loss, you are comforting a woman who has miscarried. That's what she needs to hear. You're letting her know her pain is real and she has every right to feel, grieve, cry and heal. A miscarriage should be viewed just like the loss of a loved one. A miscarriage IS the loss of a loved one.
- Other Suggestions:
- Use your empathy. If you've lived through the pain of miscarriage, you're in a position to relate to how a woman's feeling after miscarrying. Let her know you've walked the painful road and you understand how she feels. Reach out.
- If you're at a loss, the art of listening is tremendously helpful. When you take the time to listen to a woman who has miscarried, you're essentially saying her feelings matter. That's critical in a world which is often too quick to brush miscarriage and its fallout under the rug.
- Send her a card of encouragement -- a small gesture, but one packed with meaning.
- If she really seems stuck in a rut of depression or despair, gently suggest she talk to a professional or find a support group. Go with her if it feels appropriate.
- If you live with a woman who has miscarried, realize she's on an emotional roller-coaster ride. Her hormones are out of balance. Her body still feels pregnant even though she's not. There may be baby clothes or other items around the house that serve as constant reminders of her loss. Her body, mind and spirit all are hurting and need time to heal. She may be questioning God, and herself. Many women blame themselves for their miscarriage. If you find this to be the case, please let her know it's not her fault. If she's crying a lot, please let her be, or give her a hug. Don't suggest she stop crying. Her tears need to flow. It's part of the healing process and remember, she's grieving. Most of us cry when we grieve.
- Please be patient with her.
I hope these suggestions on what to say, and what not to say to a woman who has miscarried are helpful. I know it's difficult to find the right words. As you can see, there's nothing complicated here. You don't have to dig very far to find those six, simple words I mentioned earlier: I AM SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS.
Ellen DuBois is the Author of
I Never Held You: A book about miscarriage, healing and recovery. Available at Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1932014209?v=glance
Miscarriage Support: http://miscarriagehelp.com
Author Site: http://ellendubois.com