Last month I wrote about loosing my daughter Anna Louise, our forth child, to miscarriage. (Click here if you’d like to read my post.) I also want to share some ways people loved on us, as to help those of you who “just don’t know what to say/do” to comfort someone who has had a miscarriage.
Here’s the tricky part, no one experiences loosing a child the same way, so it isn’t a prescription. All the same, here are ways that I felt cared for in the different stages.
BEFORE I actually miscarried but was spotting and the ultrasound didn’t look good. I was at home for this stage and in my heart was pretty sure I was loosing/had lost our baby.
-a dear friend brought Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream over, served me as I sat in my rocking recliner and just listened to my fears, questions. She isn’t married and doesn’t have kids, but still entered in so gently and kindly. She prayed for me and I’m pretty sure she put our bowls in the dishwasher before she left.
-a friend who is a midwife answered my tough questions about how I’d know when to go back to the hospital, the level of pain to anticipate, how long I should rest if I did miscarry, etc. If you’ve miscarried before, you could be a good resource to answer some of the tough questions of someone who may be miscarrying. It depends on their emotional state and needs/wants– they may not want any advice or any more knowledge of what it might be like.
-a group of women who I pray with on Wednesdays at our place came over “anyways” and cried, prayed, talked about the different hospitals in the area and which are best in emergency situations.
-my husband stayed home from work. This was huge. (Men, stay put if your wife asks you to. They need you!) It would have been very difficult to care for our three little ones at that moment. Plus, when I actually started miscarrying, it was essential he was there to care for me, get me to the hospital, etc. Emotionally, though it was very important that I felt his support and presence.
DURING the actual miscarriage. I had a pretty intense experience, others don’t. It just depends.
-we needed to get me to the hospital asap and thankfully we had two friends who weren’t terribly far that dropped what they were doing and came to care for our kids. They fed them hotdogs (Jack happily ate four!). They held our Chloe who cried a long time. They took the plunge and put our kids to bed (Chloe is a bit, um, used to mama putting her to bed.) They served us and cared for our kids so Dave could care for me.
-people were praying. Dave had sent out some text messages and people responded with expressions of their love and concern and with their prayers
-another dear friend came over to help care for our kids in the morning. She brought: yummy breakfast bread, activities for our kids, sweet comfort gifts for me and her loving “mom touch” to our little ones.
-one of the most meaningful gifts I received was four gorgeous pink roses. I loved them and then loved them even more when I learned she bought one to represent each of our kids. She honored our little girl’s life in heaven but also recognised her as “one of the gang,” one of our four kiddos.
AFTER the miscarriage.
-I sent a message to cancel with a friend I usually see on Thursdays with our kids. Instead, she offered to come over anyways and keep the kids busy for a while. She wasn’t scared by the chaos of five little ones all together. She was at the house when I got home from the hospital and helped entertain the kids while I got settled in bed. This friend also checked with me ahead of time to see how much we had told the kids about my miscarriage. This helped her enter in with them.
-the food… oh the food that our friends brought! One friend stopped at Picard (a store that sells delightful frozen foods– more ice cream!) and bought us enough food for several meals. Another couple kept bringing meal after meal. Discretely dropping it off. Knowing my family was well fed while I rested was so great. I also really appreciated eating well.
-a friend went grocery shopping for me.
-I really appreciate it when people call Anna Louise by her name. She has a name. She has a place in our family. She’s our daughter. She’s Jack, Lexie and Chloe’s little sister. Lexie and Jack talk about Anna Louise often, especially at dinner and when we walk down the sidewalk in front of our house. It’s sweet. I like it. Usually I don’t tear up. It’s kind of like talking about my great-grandma. I loved her dearly, though I didn’t know her well before she died. But, I’ll get to see her again someday.
-When I said, “you probably don’t know this, but we lost a baby three weeks ago” as I walked through a food buffet with a friend I hadn’t seen in years, she didn’t freak out. She responded graciously. We didn’t rest on it long and I was actually bringing it up because I was referencing the fact that I had gained some weight and was self-conscience.
-When we were with family just three weeks later for Christmas, I really appreciated the number of people who hugged me and said, “I’m so sorry for your loss.” It meant a lot that they said it in person, even though they may have already said something via email or on FB.
-Many men and women opened up with me and shared about their own miscarriage story. Thanks to all of you who wrote me personal emails, Facebook messages and cards. Hearing your stories has helped in my own journey.
MORE IDEAS There were surly more things that were touching that I can’t remember. Time is healing. There are a couple more things that I’d add that could be helpful to offer or that would have touched me:
-sending/giving flowers on the baby’s due date. As a mom, I’ll always have July 1st in my heart. December 6th will also be a date I will remember for a long time- they day we celebrate that Anna Louise went to heaven
-sending a small bracelet with the baby’s name on it or just a pretty piece of jewellery that can remind the mom of their little one. Also, depending on the person, a Christmas ornament honoring the baby’s life could be appreciated.
-a pretty scarf or lipgloss as a gift can be sweet. Or, if there’s a special occasion (and you have the bling to do it), offer to take her shopping for a new top or pants or dress. It can be hard to still put on maternity clothes when there is no baby in you or in your arms. Yet, feeling frumpy or like you’re busting out the top of your “normal” jeans ain’t no fun either.
-if the mom opens up about being sensitive about the baby weight that is lingering, you could if it’d be helpful for you to watch her kids once a week so she can go walking or even offer to pay for a couple month gym membership. Read your friend well.
-offer to take their kids (if they have some) to/from school or to take the kids to the park
-offer to make the bed, change the sheets and you could ask if any laundry needs to be done. I laid in our bed a long time.
-if you have the strength, ask if she’d like to share the details of the miscarriage. Which parts were the hardest, what surprised her, where did she see God’s grace? How is it going talking with her husband about it? It is a hard, ugly thing, miscarriage. And, it can be hard to just keep it to yourself. It depends on the person.
-offer to come over and just watch a movie together (you could have a couple of movies/ TV shows to propose)
-check in with your friend a few months later and ask how they are doing
Thanks for journeying with me. May God help you bring comfort to those who have lost a little one.
What about you? What are ways you’ve felt loved on and cared for through your miscarriage? What are ways you’ve loved on someone who has lost a little one through miscarriage?