Julie McKay, FCP
Supporting a Friend after a Miscarriage
We've discussed healing after a miscarriage, husbands' perspectives on infertility and loss, early miscarriages, and pregnancy after a loss. But what if you aren't the person experiencing the miscarriage? What can you do to support someone after a loss? This will of course be very individual as each person grieves differently. Here are some things that people did for me or that I wish I would have had during and after my miscarriage.
1. Providing a meal train. In the aftermath of losing a baby I didn't want to do much of anything. As much as I enjoy cooking, I didn't have the energy. A meal train was a huge blessing to my husband and I. If you don't have the time to cook a meal or aren't local, a restaurant gift card is great too. It was nice to have the ability to go out to eat and spend some quality time with my husband as a distraction from all the sadness of that time. You could also be the organizer for the meal train.
2. Sharing your experience. If you have had a loss yourself, you are uniquely equipped to walk with your friend. Just being there for questions she might have is huge. I had someone who was willing to answer my questions, and it made a big difference for me. The information I got from my doctor didn't cover all the details of what I would go through physically and emotionally.
3. Lending an ear. Most people in my life seemed afraid to talk about my miscarriage. A wise friend said in regards to grief, not bringing up the person you lost doesn't make it better. We're thinking about them all the time, and trying to avoid the subject doesn't change that. Offering to listen and asking open ended questions are great ways to offer support.
4. Offering choices for help. I've seen some great advice to not ask "how can I help?" A person who's grieving is already overwhelmed and may not know what help to ask for. Instead, offer options. Say something like, "Hey, I want to help and support you. What would you like me to do? I can pick up groceries for you, take the kids for a couple hours, or come over and clean for you."
5. Help with logistics. If your friend is planning a burial, you could offer to help figure out logistics and make calls for her. All those calls can be tough, and she may appreciate the help.
6. Assist with costs. There could be some costs associated with a burial. If you know your friend is having one, you could offer assistance. Someone helped us with the cost associated with a grave marker, and that allowed us to purchase one for our baby.
7, Remember their little one. I really wanted others to remember the baby I lost. The couple of times I've heard someone say my baby's name have helped me realize how much I wanted that, people who would say her name and remind me she mattered to other people, too. I'm not the only one who remembers her. So text your friend when her due date was supposed to be and on the anniversaries. Remind her you haven't forgotten.
You don't have to be perfect and have all the answers to support someone through a loss. Any amount or type of support you can provide can have a large impact.