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How to Support a Friend Through a Miscarriage

Motherhood

About a year and eight months ago, I drew hearts next to October 12, 2019 in my planner. My due date for baby #2, as revealed by a quick internet search. We were so thrilled to have gotten pregnant right away and to be expecting another fall baby–there is nothing sweeter than a newborn at the holidays! After a few short weeks of excitement and morning sickness, we were heartbroken to find out that our little saint, who we named Felicity Emilia, had gone to the Lord.

It is still the strangest feeling to love her so fiercely and to miss her so deeply, the pain often hitting me when I least expect it. It is even stranger to feel all of those things while now holding Azelie in my arms, knowing that she–this precious girl who has been the sweetest blessing to our family since the day she was born–would not exist had we not lost her sister. These emotions don’t make sense on earth. They aren’t logical. I trust that they will make sense in heaven, the one place I’ll be able to hold both of my beautiful daughters at once.

Our miscarriage was the hardest experience I have ever walked through, but what still resonates with me any time I think back to those days is how faithful and gentle God was to us through it. We chose to be very open about it, which not everyone does–something I completely understand and respect. In opening up about it, though, we were blessed by so many family members and friends surrounding us with love, prayers, and support. Inspired by those memories, I wanted to share a few ideas for how to support a friend through a miscarriage. Before I went through one, I had no idea what would or wouldn’t be appropriate and was paralyzed by the thought of saying something that would cause more pain than comfort. Every miscarriage is so, so different, physically and emotionally, so the last thing I want to do here is to offer a “prescription” of what to do. Use your best judgment and discernment, and, most of all, be understanding if what she needs changes from day to day. For me personally, though, here is what I remember being the most encouraging and comforting.

How to support a friend through miscarriage

Share that you’re sad with them. Far too often, I haven’t said anything when a friend walked through grief, for fear of accidentally saying the wrong thing. While there are plenty of “wrong” things that can be said in this situation (really, anything that downplays it), one that always felt right to me was people simply saying “I’m so, so sorry” or “I hate that this happened.” Especially early on, there’s very little words can do to heal–all I really wanted was to know that I wasn’t sad alone.

Be available to talk. A few of my friends generously offered the gift of their time, saying that if I ever needed to talk, they were there. I ended up taking a few up on it, and was grateful that I did. I am sure that many women would feel differently, maybe not wanting to talk through the memories at all, but for me, it was a helpful way to process in a safe and loving space. I was especially grateful for the chance to meet up with a friend who had also walked through miscarriage. That experience is why I try to offer that same opportunity to others when I can.

Lend a helping hand, especially with any older kids. My mom flew out to be with us for the week as soon as we found out we were miscarrying, and I really can’t imagine what we would have done without her. I almost literally never got out of bed for those few days, completely exhausted and depleted from the rough first-trimester symptoms I was still experiencing, on top of the hours and hours I was crying. From Charlie, to meals, to chores, my mom took care of everything. For the same reasons, it meant SO much when friends offered to have Charlie over for play dates with their kids or brought over meals.

Send flowers or a card. It sounds so trivial, but to me, receiving flowers or a condolence card felt like affirmation that my grief was real. It’s an incredibly strange thing to mourn someone I would never “meet” face to face this side of heaven, and I sometimes felt guilty for feeling so deeply, profoundly sad about that. Gestures like these, the same ones people would make for any other loss, somehow encouraged me that what I was feeling was valid. I had no idea that would be so meaningful, but to me, it was.

Holding any of you who have walked through miscarriage extra close to my heart today and sending so much love. If you would be willing to share, is there anything you would add to this list?

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  1. Dana says:

    Love you <3

  2. Olivia says:

    Thank you for sharing this! I had friends who sent a quick text just to say they were thinking about us and our baby on the anniversary of our miscarriage. That simple act made me feel really loved.

    • Christi says:

      Yes. I so appreciate when a friend remembers even years later and sends a quick text or prayer. When I’ve had friends ask how to help a mutual friend through a miscarriage, I often tell them to set a reminder in their phones for anniversaries and such to remember that family in prayer. I think it’s easy to think they’re “done” in their grief when another babe comes along or if they haven’t mentioned it in a while, but is something we won’t ever be fully healed from until we are united with these babies in the Heavenly Kingdom.

      • Lisa says:

        Such a great tip, Christi–I love that idea and am going to start doing that. No matter how much times passes or how many more babies we’re blessed with, I know March 7 and October 12 will always be harder days for me.

    • Lisa says:

      I love that–so thoughtful. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I’m sorry for your miscarriage…it’s hard to understand the pain of one until you’ve been there, and once you have, you wish that no one else would have to go through it. I miscarried after my first as well and had a very, very long recovery. It helped so much to hear that I wasn’t alone in my experience and to hear other women share their stories, too. I also had a few friends send me some beautiful artwork/prints, which was so thoughtful.

    I also appreciated when people didn’t leave my husband out of the picture–he lost a baby too, but so often, no one really comforts the father. I’m glad that he had people that reached out to him about our loss as well!

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, Torrie. I’m so sorry for your loss. I couldn’t agree more–connecting with other women who have gone through the same thing was (and still is) incredibly encouraging to me, so I’m especially grateful for your input.

      SUCH a great point about husbands, too. A few other dads reached out to Dave during that time and I know they were a wonderful support to him.

  4. Victoria B says:

    I had a miscarriage in April of this year and it has been the worst thing I have ever experienced. And having a miscarriage in quarantine was super strange. Unfortunately most of those tips above wouldn’t work for that. But yes the cards and flowers and gift baskets were SO appreciated! I also loved Marco Polo for talking to people as I felt like we were actually talking in person. I am just so grateful for all of my friends who listened to me tell my story and feelings and followed up with me. I think the follow up was key.

    • Lisa says:

      Oh Victoria, I am so, so sorry. I cannot imagine going through a miscarriage in the midst of quarantine. I’m so glad your community found some meaningful ways to encourage you and support you, despite all the restrictions. Sending you love!

  5. Thank you for sharing this post and some incredibly helpful action steps, Lisa – it’s so appreciated! We’ve walked with so many friends through miscarriages over the past few years (way more than I ever could have imagined, unfortunately), and I’ve found myself Googling what to do to love and support them well, both immediately and long term. While I can’t personally relate to their loss, I try my best to be there in whatever way it’s needed, to remember, to comfort, to pray, etc. Sending love and prayers to you and Dave, too! xoxox

  6. Rhiannon says:

    Such a gentle and eloquent (as always) post, friend. You have a way with words. Xo

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