My most asked question online? “What do I say to someone after they’ve had a miscarriage?”
It can be a tricky situation – one I’ve been in myself prior to my own losses. You have a friend who has just lost their baby and you have no idea what to say. As a friend you want to make them feel better but the words don’t come easily – you don’t want to say the wrong thing or say anything deemed offensive.. so perhaps saying nothing is easier?
It might feel easier, yes.
But, it’s not right.
In certain situations, silence can be deafening and if you say nothing at all, your friend will always remember this.
I think what’s important to remember here is that baby loss is extremely lonely and even when surrounded by loved ones, you still feel incredibly alone. So having a friend simply say nothing just adds to that feeling of loneliness. No one will be expecting a full-blown motivational speech (and no one wants that either!) so don’t overthink it.
Some simple words such as “I’m so sorry, how are you doing?” “I’m here if/when you need to talk” is a good place to start.
Give Your Time
Offering your time is so important. Your friend needs to know they can talk to you if they need too. I found it so helpful when a friend would ask how I was doing – I knew I could talk to them if I needed too and it definitely helped me feel less alone. Checking up on your friend every now and then shows you are there for them. Even if it’s been a while since their loss it’s still good to check in regularly.
Small gestures can also be a nice way to let your friend know you care, especially if they’re not up for visitors just yet – sending a ‘thinking of you’ card or a bunch of flowers can make a huge difference and add a little bit of joy to a not so nice time.
Don’t Forget the Partner
If might be your friend that’s experienced the loss physically, but in most cases there’s a partner that’s going through loss emotionally too. If you are friends with the couple, it’s always a nice gesture to check in on both of them – even if that’s through your friend. “How are you both doing?” “I’m here for you both” will let them know you’re thinking of them both.
What if I’m pregnant?
If you are pregnant, things might feel more difficult, but you still should say something. I think the key here is accepting that your friend may need some space, so try not to take offence, as it’s not personal. Your friend doesn’t want to avoid you and probably feels guilty that they can’t feel happy for you right now but space and time can be a huge healer in this situation.
Alternatively, they might not feel able to talk to you about their losses right now because of your situation. I know that I didn’t want to speak about my miscarriages to those who were pregnant at the time because I didn’t want to make them anxious about their own pregnancy. Of course, you can still check in on them, but you might have to be a little more sensitive to the situation.
If you have a friend that is going through recurrent loss, you should still try to acknowledge each loss. The first, second, third.. are all just as painful and even though you may feel like you are repeating yourself – that’s not the case. I recently read that people going through recurrent loss often felt that the support becomes less and less with each loss (which is actually when they need it the most!)
Your friend might feel different emotions after each loss and will probably need you more than ever, so it’s important that you try to offer the same amount of care and love after each loss.
Of course, everyone is different and please remember that these are my own views. I personally needed space for a while and felt more comfortable talking about how I was feeling via text message than in person, but everyone is different. If you’re not sure what your friend needs from you – simply ask them. Don’t act differently, don’t be awkward, don’t avoid them, just be you.. that’s all you need to do.
Did your friends do anything special to make you feel better after loss? Write them in the comments below, let’s discuss..