Easy Ways To Help A Friend After Pregnancy Loss
Republished with permission from Unapparenthood an Evio Community Partner
When you don’t ask someone about their miscarriage or child-loss, you make a decision for them. You decide it’s not the right time or the right place. You decide it’s too uncomfortable to discuss. You decide they should be grieving in private. You take away their choice to share their grief.
I lost my first child at 11 weeks. I lost my second child at 24 weeks. Not many people asked what had happened to me. Most people just avoided the topic altogether. I guess they didn’t know how to react, and maybe they didn’t ask because they didn’t want to upset me, but I was upset, so their reactions felt very cold. I probably wanted too much. I wanted someone to ask me about my son. I wanted people to acknowledge that I’d had a baby.
It’s okay to feel awkward. Just know that no matter what you say, you will never make someone feel worse than they already feel, your words (or lack of) won't alter the pain that they feel regardless. Although I except everyone is different, I believe there is a power in validating people’s feelings and acknowledging them. My golden rule is to take their lead, to ask them what they would like rather than making assumptions. There is a lot out there about what not to say to both women and men experiencing such losses. I worry that it scares people to silence. I hope the following empowers you to say or do something.
Here are some ways to help a loved-one after pregnancy loss:
Acknowledge their grief, say: “I’m sorry for your loss.”
If you’re at a loss for words, try: “I don’t know what to say, but I'm sorry.”
Offer to listen or tell them you’re there if they want to talk.
Ask how they would like to be spoken to, take their lead on what is helpful for them in their grieving process and let them know you are there for them.
Send a kind text, a card, or a letter.
Give a memento to remember their loss.
Remember they are likely suffering physically from the miscarriage or birth. Their bodies need healing too. You can send them a care package (we love these essential sets from Mother Mother Shop, they’re even organized by trimester to make it easier to purchase depending on when they lost)
Drop off a meal, so they don't have to cook
Send them a text a month later or on their one year anniversary. Remember their baby/pregnancy loss.
Give them a hug.
Follow up and stay in touch. Don’t forget about their loss and their pain. It does not go away over night and can often be very lonely as time goes on.
During the difficult time that followed my loss, it was the small acts of kindness that got me through. Every day, I woke up to text or messages from family as well as friends old and new. Even people I hadn't connected with for a long time. Some sent cards and gifts. Opening the mail became a ritual that got me out of bed and in turn out of the house. It was the beginning of my healing process, and it warmed my heart to know other people cared about my baby and me.
When I was grieving, I wanted to talk about my experience. Not everyone does, but I was a proud mother to a baby I loved and lost too soon. My opportunity to open up was so often taken away. If you have the chance, please don’t let that opportunity pass you by.