If your friend has miscarried, you might not know how to react. However, you can make a difference in this time of loss. In the way you speak to your friend, show up to support her, and offer to help her, you can show a vulnerable mother that she is surrounded by love.
Saying the right thing — or at least, not the wrong thing — to your friend after her miscarriage
Knowing what to say to a woman who has miscarried is challenging. Whatever you say, the important thing is to acknowledge her pain, validate it, and respect it.
Acknowledging your friend’s pain as a death in the family is key. Tell her you are sorry for her loss and ask if she needs anything, whether that be someone to talk to or just help with her grocery shopping.
Validate your friend’s pain. Affirm that, as a mother who has lost her baby, she is allowed to feel a wide range of emotions. Today’s culture encourages women to bottle up their miscarriage and return to “normal life” within two to three working days. If your friend feels like she shouldn’t be upset, remind her that this experience is a big deal and it is good to grieve for as long as she needs to grieve.
Finally, respect your friend’s pain. Sometimes, our instinct is to “fix” a situation like a miscarriage with our words. We can’t qualify or belittle the pain of a woman who has miscarried by, for example, reminding her that she has other children or commenting that the baby was only a few weeks old in utero. When you’re speaking to any mother, remind yourself and others to avoid using phrases about her family that start with “at least”.
Be there for the woman going through a miscarriage
Sometimes, grief mutes people. Your friend who has miscarried might not be able to tell you that she wants people to check in on her or be with her at a time when conversation won’t help her pain. In these cases, don’t assume that she wants to be left alone!
Showing up for your friend may mean a daily or weekly check-in text, even if she can’t respond. It may be a message once in a while to ask what she needs or to remind her that she is supported.
Grief is a long process. It may take more than a week to miscarry, and a woman processing the loss may need weeks or months longer to recover. Throughout that time, rest assured that your messages to your friend are helpful.
Offering your help to a woman after her miscarriage
Bringing a meal to your friend might be exactly what she needs after her miscarriage, but your opportunities to offer your help don’t stop there.
You might be able to serve your friend by spreading the word about the miscarriage so that she doesn’t have to tell people the sad news by herself. You can also bring your friend a physical gift or offer the gift of your time and watch the kids for a couple of hours while she gets a coffee or takes a nap.
This week, Held in Hope co-founders Amber and Kenzie joined the Fairest Love Podcast to give their thoughts on the best way to support your friend through her miscarriage. Hear their stories and advice here and visit the Held in Hope website for more information.