Do you have a friend who has suffered a miscarriage or infant loss? Studies have shown that the grief one experiences after losing a wanted baby at any number of weeks is equivalent to the grief of losing a close friend or family member.
So what can you do to help? How can you bless your friend during her loss?
Ways to Help a Friend Who Lost a Baby
Send a card.
Finding a sympathy card and writing a short note inside doesn’t take much work, but it does mean a ton. For me, I love receiving mail and every single card we received after my miscarriage I cherished. I kept all of them. It’s such a small, simple, easy gesture that can really show how much you care.
Give her an iTunes gift card.
A friend of mine sent me an iTunes gift card during my loss. I thought it was so thoughtful! For many people, music is very healing. This simple gift gives her a chance to find new songs that will help her heart heal. You can even send her a link to my post Healing Music: Songs for the Miscarriage Survivor.
When she needs to talk, when she’s ready to open up, let her. She doesn’t need any advice or words of encouragement. Those words will fall short, because nothing you say is going to make her feel any better or bring her baby back. So just sit with her. Listen. Let her cry. Let her question. Bring over a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, grab a couple spoons, and just sit and chat. She’ll talk when she’s ready, so you just need to be ready to listen. I suggest reading How to Help a Grieving Friend if you are wondering what to say during her loss.
Some women want you to ask how they are doing. Some women wish you would really ask. She’ll say she’s fine, but if you ask again — if you really ask — she knows you really want to know. It gives her permission to truly open up. This isn’t the case for all women; some don’t want to talk about, and that’s OK. So how do you know if she wants to talk about it or not? Ask. It’s that simple. Be honest with her that you don’t know whether to ask or what to say, and she will be honest back about what she wants/needs.
When someone experiences a loss of a parent or grandparent, oftentimes people send flowers. Why would it be any different for the loss of a child? Flowers are a great reminder of life in the midst of death. They are colorful, pretty, and smell good. My parents sent us flowers, and I kept some of them — pressing them for keepsakes. If you don’t want to send a bouquet, you can also send a plant for them to keep (if they have a green thumb!).
Send a small memorial gift.
Necklaces, bracelets, keychains, prints — there are so many sweet memorial gift ideas out there. You can personalize them with the baby’s name or nickname if he/she hadn’t been named yet. You can include the due date. Or if you don’t know all that info, you can include a sweet quote or scripture.
One of the best things you can do is learn about miscarriage and what your friend went through. I felt like no one understood and it made me feel so alone. If you haven’t been through it yourself, try to understand better by reading more about this type of loss. I suggest these posts:
- How to Help a Friend Survive the First Year After Pregnancy or Infant Loss
- Difficult Days for Miscarriage Survivors
- What to Say (Or Not) to Someone Who Has Had a Miscarriage
- What I Didn’t Know About Miscarriage … Until I Had One
One of the things that scares me is that I will be the only one who remembers my baby. I know that I had more of a connection with that child than anyone else because I was carrying him, but I don’t want others to completely forget this life that meant so much to me. I suggest sending her a card or getting together with her a few months after the loss — this is when most people begin to move on while your friend may still be grieving. It can also mean a lot for you to remember your friend on special dates like Mother’s Day or her due date.
- Bring a home cooked meal
- Don’t forget about her husband who is also grieving
What other ideas would you add to this list?
Do you know someone going through pregnancy loss? I encourage you to order my book Miscarriage & Mourning so you can better understand what she is going through. I share tips on how to help her through this time.