Because I’m analytical, even when I’m in the middle of life altering events, I tend to make observations and file them away for later when I have time to think about them.
A lot of people I love have had miscarriages before I did. I’ve cried, and wondered what to say, and prayed for them, and wondered what on earth I can do to show my friend I care.
Some of this was in a way helpful while I was going through it. Just as when in labor it often helps to think of all the women who have given birth, who are giving birth right now, there was something about my awareness that I’m not the only one this has happened to that made it easier. That miscarriage is, in a way, commonplace, doesn’t make it any more right. But knowing that it happens, and that people get through it somehow, did help in a way.
But since I have now been on both sides of this situation, I found myself paying attention to which responses were the most helpful, because it was answering a question I’ve had for many years. What do you say when someone you love has a miscarriage?
(I want to take a second, again, to say thanks to everyone who commented. You are all good at this I guess, because your comments were great.)
- I love you.
- I’m here if you need me.
- We’re thinking/praying about you.
- I’ll watch your kids/cook you dinner/come over if you need a break/etc.
- I’m sorry to hear that.
- Talk about other things if your friend shows they want to.
What not to say.
- Any variation on the theme of, maybe it’s for the best that your baby died, and speculation as to why that might be. You may need to try and make sense of it for yourself, but do not do it aloud in front of the bereaved. It’s just not helpful.
- Don’t ask how it affects any other plans you know the family has. Even if you are dying to know.
I hope this little list will be helpful for someone.
If you have anything to add in the comments please do so. Especially if there was something especially meaningful and helpful that someone did for you.
I just remembered this to share with you. We have been going to the same store for so long, several times a week, that a cashier sent home flowers with my husband when she learned what we had just been through. I thought that was very thoughtful. Especially given the nature of our acquaintance. We might just be forming a community after all, even in SoCal.
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