Early this year one of my best friends, Lydia, lost her little boy at 15 weeks. It was so heartbreaking and as a friend to Lyd I have been at a loss at times to know what I can do to be there for her. Lydia and I (mostly Lyd as I am unqualified to say what helps and what doesn’t), have put together some ways that you can support a friend after a miscarriage and also some things to be aware of.
Before reading any further I highly recommend you read Brittany Lee Allen’s blog post 3 things Christian women need to know about miscarriage. If you’re fortunate to have never experienced one yourself, Brittany’s blog post will help you understand what women may go through if they suffer a miscarriage as not all miscarriages are the same.
Anyway, without further ado:
Practical ways you can help
Let them talk about it. Ask them about their baby (only if you’re comfortable doing so. Not everyone is comfortable talking about someone’s baby who has died).
Just take action to help. People often find it hard to ask for help so jump in (in non-invasive ways). Meals are a big help.
If your friend has other children already, you could offer to look after them for an afternoon or do school drop offs/pickups.
Let them know you are thinking about them on mothers/fathers day, the due date, the date of loss and holidays. It can be as simple as sending a text to say they are in your thoughts or you could send a little card or pampering gift in the post.
Check up on them. Remember your friend after the hype has dropped off. Send a card or a text six months later, a year later or even further out. Most people forget and move on but the parents of that baby never forget.
Things you can say
- I’m really sorry
- I’m here for you if you need to talk
- Acknowledge their baby’s life and importance
Don’t feel like you always need to have the right words, just letting your friend know that you are there for them and giving them the opportunity to talk if they need to can be a comfort.
Things you shouldn’t say
While people don’t mean to be insensitive, there are certain things people sometimes say that can be very hurtful to someone who has had a miscarriage.
- Your baby probably would have been an unwell child and it’s for the best. (This would not necessarily have been the case)
- Maybe your baby was never going to accept God and it’s for the best. (Also not necessarily true)
- Lucky it was an early loss. (No matter how early, that was their baby)
- Oh well, at least you can get pregnant. (Not everyone can get pregnant again after a miscarriage)
- It’s okay, you will have another one. (They wanted that baby)
- You’re lucky you’re not up all night with your crying child like I was last night. (They desperately wish they were)
- Oh my children are such terrors, you can have one of mine if you like! (They want their baby)
- When you’re a mum you’ll understand… (They had a baby, they are Mum)
- Any statement that begins with “at least…”
- Everything happens for a reason.
And finally, If you have to tell them that you or someone else is expecting a baby, let them know in a sensitive way (perhaps over text or email so that they can process it in their own time).
We hope that these suggestions will be of help if you ever find yourself in this situation. And remember, everyone is different but you know your friend and will be able to work out what may or may not be helpful for them.
Lots of love! xx