The first week was hard. I spent a lot of time on the phone. I took naps when I needed to and I pretty much only thought about the miscarriage. It consumed me.
The next week was about trying to get back into my normal routine. I took Cameron to the park by the beach and I did my best to put on make up. It was strange to feel okay about starting to move on.
The third week I was back in my normal routine. I went grocery shopping and prepared some dinners. This made my husband happy, even though he was fine with my soup-in-a-can dinners and sushi take-out for the past couple weeks anyway.
It’s been three weeks since the miscarriage. The world is still spinning. People are still driving to work. This is both comforting and disturbing. My heart is healing, but having a miscarriage changed me. In what way, I’m not completely sure. I just know that it did.
I’ve been fortunate though because people in my life have been truly supportive. The best kind of support in times of tragedy looks like kindness from warm people and not like solutions, because there are no good solutions.
Since people often have no idea what to do or say to someone who has just experienced a miscarriage, here are 5 helpful rules to go by (in my opinion, of course)…
5 Rules To Go By:
1) Don’t compare the situation to any other.
Wrong response: “I know what you mean, when my grandma died…” or “My brother’s wife had a few miscarriages…” It’s not the appropriate time to share. Each situation is unique and deserves to be treated as so. Plus, this takes the focus off the person who experienced a loss and creates a situation where the person now feels obligated to offer condolences to you.
Correct response: “I’m so sorry you’re going through this,” or “I can’t imagine how difficult this must befor you.” It’s okay to relate to the person if you want by saying, “I had two miscarriages myself. If you ever want to talk to somebody, I’d love to listen.” If the person wants to know more about your experiences, they will ask.
2) Don’t feel the need to explain the ‘why.’
Wrong response: “I’m sure it’s for the better.” There is no explanation sufficient for explaining why tragedies happen. Plus, it’s unlikely that you know the reason anyway.
Correct response: “Let me know if you need anything.” “Can I bring you dinner?” Or bring flowers or a card. Just don’t try to explain the why.
3) Don’t tell someone that their pain is common.
Wrong response: “Lots of people deal with this.” Even though millions of people may have experienced the same situation, this may be the first time that THIS particular person has had to go through this kind of pain (even if it’s their third miscarriage, it’s still the first time this person has experienced their third miscarriage and each loss is a singular event. Each time, they lost a different child; a unique member of their family).
Correct response: “I wish you could have been spared this pain,” or “I’ll be praying for you.”
4) Don’t pretend that nothing has happened
Of course, no person is the same in how they deal with death. I found myself wanting to talk about it a lot. For others, it’s the opposite. I think this is why people feel awkward about saying anything at all when things like this happen. Nobody wants to be the one to make a difficult situation even worse. But acting like nothing happened (if you are close to the person) makes the situation more awkward and uncomfortable than it already is.
Correct response: Simply ask the person how they are doing. If they mention the miscarriage or that things have been hard, it is a sign that they are open to talking about the experience. If they respond by talking about the weather, their latest activities, etc. then they probably don’t want to bring it up, so you can just let it go too.
Of course, how you respond also depends on your personal relationship with the person and what you already know about them and how they tend to deal with things. If you’re simply acquaintances, then saying, “I’m so sorry for your loss,” and possibly offering a hug will probably do.
5) If you feel compelled to carry out an act of kindness, do it.
After going through this myself, I can say that the small gestures from people mean so much and can be so comforting.
-Two days in a row, a neighbor brought me a plate of fresh, sliced fruit because she said it would be good for my body
-Another neighbor brought me flowers in a cute mason jar, donuts and a card
-A friend from church brought me flowers
-A family member sent me a care package
-Another family member sent me the booties she had been crocheting for the baby (after asking me if those were something that I would like to have).
-A friend sent me a small stuffed animal and a card
-A friend from church brought us dinner
-A few friends offered to watch Cameron so that I could have some time to myself the week following the miscarriage
-A handful of people wrote me kind Facebook messages sharing that they were available to me to be a listening ear if I wanted
Of course, none of these things are required or expected, but each of these things really touched my heart and made me feel so loved. So if you feel compelled to do something kind, then just do it.
I guarantee it will be appreciated and probably needed.