- Be there.
Reach out. Text them, email them, send cards, let them know you’re thinking of them. It really, really helps.
Having said that – only be there if you can be there. Don’t ask someone how they are if you don’t have time to reply. It’s not fair on the person who has just poured their heart out in response to a text asking “how’re you doing?” to then wait 48 hours before replying. Only text if you actually have time.
- Don’t forget.
Continue to be there for them. Try to understand that for the lady who has had a miscarriage, life does not return to normal. Their experience seeps into every part of their life from then on, and the most hurtful thing is when people forget.
Imagine you were supporting a friend who had lost a limb. You would understand that for years to come, that person’s life would be immeasurably more difficult. Watching other people do things they couldn’t would be torturous. Simple tasks such as going to the shops, going to appointments, meeting up with friends – these were all things which were easy before but which have since become physically and emotionally draining.
Continuing to be there for someone doesn’t have to be a huge commitment from you. Just a text now and then, maybe a letter or a card in the post to let the person know they’re still in your thoughts. Understanding that certain events may be hard, and asking your friend if there is anything you can do to make it easier. Check in with them, even if you think they are fine.
- Check in on your friend on days which are likely to be especially difficult.
Here are some examples of days which are likely to be difficult for someone who has had a miscarriage:
-anniversary of the miscarriage
-Mothers day/Fathers day
-other peoples pregnancy announcements
-the arrival of other peoples babies
- Acknowledge what has happened.
Your friend was pregnant. She was expecting a baby. This fact alone was monumental for her. People who have had a miscarriage want their pregnancy and their loss acknowledged, and talking about it is the only way of doing this.
It’s understandable that you don’t know what to say, or are scared of hurting their feelings. But your silence will be louder than any misjudged comment. Try saying “I really want to talk about this with you, but I don’t want to hurt your feelings. If you’re not ready to talk that’s fine, let me know when you are. But if you are ready, I’m listening.”
Don’t assume that you will be “guided” by how your friend is dealing with it. She has enough on her plate.
- Pregnancy announcements.
One of the most painful triggers for anyone who has experienced loss or difficulties conceiving. Alas, the world keeps on turning, and pregnancy announcements will keep on coming. The best you can do is be as sensitive as possible, and acknowledge that this will be incredibly difficult for your friend. Here are some tips:
- Avoid surprise announcements, particularly in a big group
- If possible and appropriate, try to tell your friend before other people, particularly before the news leaks via other friends or colleagues
- While instinct tells you that face to face is better, consider whether it would be kinder to deliver the news to your friend via text, so that she has time to deal with it on her own, in the safety of her own home.
- Remember that your friend is allowed to experience conflicting emotions all in one go. Just because she is desperately sad for herself does not mean she is not happy for you.
- With this in mind, try to understand if she is not able to join in with various celebrations. Even better, tell her from the offset that this is OK.
- If you are planning on announcing your pregnancy on social media, try to give your friend warning of this, and don’t be offended if, to protect her own heart, she needs to mute you for a while.