Nothing in this life is certain . . . we all know that. Unfortunately, even pregnancies are not certain to end with a perfect, healthy baby in our arms. I’ve had a lot of unwanted experience with miscarriage, but I’ve learned a lot about myself and my husband in those times. It’s not the best way to introduce yourself to the dinner conversation: “my name is Laura and I’ve had four miscarriages.”
The first time I miscarried, I was a basket case. The second, I was angry. The third and fourth, I was simply sad. In between my sorrows, I watched a few of my friends suffer their own heartbreak and was thankfully able to put my experiences to good use. If you haven’t walked in someone’s shoes, it’s hard to fully empathize with their feelings. If you know someone who is dealing with a miscarriage, there are ways to support them without overstepping.
- Listen. Just listen. It’s hard, especially as women to only listen to someone and not swoop in to soothe their hurts away, but in the case of a broken mother’s heart, being an empathetic and compassionate sounding board is invaluable.
- Take a meal. Sadness often results in comfort eating, and it’s best soothed by something thoughtfully prepared (or bought, too!) Believe me, chicken and noodles is very helpful.
- Be quiet. Hallmark cards are filled with deep sentiments suited for these times, but not everyone needs philosophy when they’re hurting. You don’t need to speak all the time. (Although, I’ll mention that not speaking is less simple if you have a friendship that spans a physical distance.) What ever your proximity, though, don’t feel the need to fill every silence with chatter . . . the quiet can bring healing if you let it.
- Ask what you can do to help. Loss can be overwhelming, the physical impact is very uncomfortable, and sometimes you just need to cry. Offer to run the vacuum cleaner or walk the dog. Simple things mean a lot in times like this.
- Be present. Be sensitive to needs and hurt, but don’t put a bubble around interactions, conversations and visits. Just because someone is hurting or dealing with a loss, it does not mean that you should avoid your friend.
Life in the scheme of things is short, and in some cases shorter than we hope for. Even if you’ve not found yourself losing a pregnancy, you can still offer the love and support for someone who needs it. In this season of our lives, support could be everything to another mother.