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.
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?