How to Help Someone Who Had a Miscarriage
I wish that I didn’t have the ability to write this post – because that would mean that we wouldn’t have lost our sweet Lucy, but unfortunately, this is my story…this is our story. (Read about it here.) Every time I face something difficult in life, a small part of me wonders if God is allowing (not necessarily causing…different convo for another time) this to happen so that I can share His glory and can help others when they face the same battle.
So, with all of that said, I decided that it might help others to share what has brought us comfort in the last several weeks. I have had many people tell me that they just don’t know what to say or what to do – and I don’t know a magical fix-it answer…spoiler there’s not one. However, these tips/suggestions below have brought me comfort and peace. Also, I would like to say that EVERYONE deals with loss and how to mourn differently there is no one-size-fits-all answer. So, these might not work for your situation, but I hope this gives you a starting point.
1. Message the person/family
For me, I will admit when I knew of other people had lost a child or someone close I always hesitated to reach out. I thought “what if they’re having a good day and not thinking about this loss, and then, I go and mess everything up by bringing up this sad situation.” Now being in this position, that is not the truth. I have found great peace and comfort knowing that people are thinking of me and specifically praying for me. It means so much to know that YOU have thought of me in your daily, crazy life, and YOU took the time to message me. For our family, the loss of Lucy will always be with us. So if someone decides 10 years from now to message me and say – “Hey, I hope you’re doing well. I thought of your sweet Lucy today.” I would literally melt right there – how thoughtful, how considerate. Of course I might start crying, but it would only be because I was feeling loved, important, and validated.
An event/occurrence has never been “too far gone” or “happened too long ago” for you to reach out. There are people that I never reached out to and it’s eaten me up inside. Some I have decided years later to tell that I just didn’t know what to say, but I was praying for them. They’ve told me that they appreciated me saying something.
“What if they don’t respond?” or “They didn’t say anything when I messaged them, now what?!!” Keep praying, and keep reaching out (in moderation 😉 ). There were several people that messaged me right after we announced that I literally didn’t have the energy or drive to say anything. I did try to go back and find everyone I missed (it is possible I missed some!), but please know to not think you’ve done something wrong. Everyone processes things differently, and if you like it, maybe even include in your message “no need to respond…just thinking of you” or “praying for you friend – I’d love to chat when you feel up to it.”
2. Talk about their child – and say their name
Lucy was real. She was a real child growing inside of me. It already makes me happy (and emotional) when others say/write her name. I’d love to encourage you to do the same. I know everyone grieves differently. This is honestly a great question to bring up with your friend. You could say, “hey, I don’t want to make you uncomfortable, but would you like to talk about her?” If your friend enjoys that I would try to bring up their child in a normal conversation here and there. We’ve told our family that we want to talk about Lucy and what she’d be like. We don’t want this miscarriage to be a taboo topic in our lives. We’re proud of our second pregnancy, we’re proud of Lucy, and we’re sad at the same time. It’s hard to understand and put into words, but we want to remember the JOY she brought us while she was here – and the HOPE she’s giving us while she’s in Heaven.
These next few suggestions are not needed, but if you feel called to do more…here are some steps you can take.
3. Send Food/Care Package
I first want to say – this is NOT a tally against anyone if they didn’t send us anything. In my own life, I understand that it is sometimes not possible to do everything you wish you could. If you are able (both physically and financially), I would suggest bringing food, dropping off a gift card, or sending something to help take care of the family. In the days right after our miscarriage, I emotionally and physically felt like I couldn’t do anything. We are beyond grateful for our family staying with us, cooking us meals, and helping to make sure we were taking care of ourselves.
Yes, it is very kind to offer food – “let me know if you need anything,” but honestly, when you’ve hit rock bottom, you don’t have the energy to ask. Some of my amazing friends here have constantly reminded me that you don’t need permission to give (of time, money, or food). If you’re thinking “hey JoAnna could really use a meal, I bet that would help her out right now…” Go ask JoAnna if she’d like option 1 or option 2 – or drop off a gift card for her favorite restaurant. I’m working on this myself. If we’re physically and financially able, I want to give whatever I can to help my friend. I’ve been re-reading Love Does by Bob Goff, and it’s reminded me that when you love, you don’t just say things…you DO things. I personally need to get better about this – if I think it… I should do it.
4. Item to Remember
If you feel more inclined to give a gift, some of my favorite things I’ve received are jewelry. I’m honestly not that big of a jewelry person, but it’s so different with mourning the loss of Lucy. It means so much to have Lucy’s ruby red birthstone near me. It makes me smile every time I wear these different pieces, and I find myself wanting to wear items that would go with them. Maybe it’s silly, but it brings me joy – and it reminds me of my girl.
Another few gift suggestions would be anything with the child’s name on it. We had a piece of art made, but you could always go with a monogram, a crest, a blanket, a bracelet/necklace or anything that can be seen around someone’s home. For me, seeing her name written out is just another reminder that she was here. I love it. I hope to add her name to some pieces of home decor in the future.
Lastly, a few memory items could be a pregnancy journal (this one makes me emotional, but I’m SO grateful to have a place to write down her life), a memory box, a shadow box, a photo album for the ultrasound/pregnancy photos, or even a shelf to keep everything together.
I hope that this post is an encouragement to you whether you’re looking at this for yourself or someone you love. I am so, so sorry you’re experiencing this horrible loss. My heart breaks to know that you’re reading this – that you’re likely struggling. It’s hard to know what to do, and the BEST thing you can do for someone is just to be. You just need to be there – be available, be open, be loving…BE. Being doesn’t meaning buying or saying the right thing. Remember: you can’t fix this. However, you can BE there – as humans we ALL desire to feel united, connected, and loved. You have the power to do that without spending a dime.
As always, I am an open book. If you have any questions or are needing prayer, please, please reach out. I’d be happy to talk with you. Please contact me via my form or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Links to suggested gifts:
Please note all opinions are my own. I make a small sale off the links above – thank you for supporting my family through this blog.