Miscarriage: How You Can Help


I'm now on this side of 3 miscarriages. This doesn't make me an expert but it does give me some experience to draw on. Many people wonder "What can I do when my friend experiences a miscarriage?" It's a great question and I wanted to share a few thoughts.

This is a simple idea but is powerful. Let your friend know you are praying. If you can, commit to pray daily. Ask your friend for specific needs. For example, right now I am hearing lots of lies in my head related to my relationship with God or my guilt (or non-guilt) in causing the miscarriages. I am asking friends to pray for me, to combat the lies, to pray for protection over my mind right now during my grief. Pray for each family member, since each one experiences the grief in different ways. My 4-year-old is dealing with the loss of a baby brother in a different way than I am, than my husband is, or than my 9-year-old daughter is. Pray for each one. If you can, commit to pray for at least a week or two or three. Grief is long-lasting.  Share scripture verses with your friend to encourage them. Contact them often (email, phone, mail, or a combination) to just let them know that you are praying. Above all, just do it. Don't just say you will, but truly spend time in prayer for your friend!

 Practical Helps
Miscarriage is a physical event. There is physical healing that needs to take place. Providing practical help so that your friend can rest is a great show of support. Offer to watch her other children for a few hours so she can rest. Offer to spend some time cleaning her house or just being a "mother's helper" and doing whatever she needs done (laundry, especially if it requires up-and-down stairs; meal prep; cleaning the bathroom - all are difficult to do at this time). Delivering a meal or two is a wonderful way to help your friend get some extra rest too. 

Listening Ear 
If your friend wants to talk, be there to listen. She may NOT want to talk and that's ok. Or she may have lots to share about the experience, how she's processing it, all of her emotions at this time. Either way, let her share whatever she needs to without lots of commentary, suggestions or rebuking. She needs a friend right now. She needs you to listen, to give a hug, but mostly to just be there for her. She doesn't need to hear lots from you. She simply wants to know you're there for her. 

One of the most meaningful gifts we were given after one of our miscarriages was a beautiful flowering plant.
Giving a plant or other living memorial to your friend can be a wonderful way to show your support and help your friend remember beauty during sorrow.

Encourage Marriage
The divorce rate is higher than average for parents who lose children. Do whatever you can to encourage your friend's marriage. Give a gift card to a local restaurant for a date night. Ask your friend specifically how the grief process is going for both spouses. Is the grief separating them or are they sharing it, going through the sorrow together? Pray for their marriage and ask if there is anything more specific you can do to help in this area.

Mark your calendar and remember important days with your friend. The day of the miscarriage will forever be etched in your friend's mind. The baby's due date will also be an important day. Make a note on your calendar and be sensitive to your friend during those times. One of the ways we show we cared about loved ones is to remember them on those special days. To not talk about them or to think that everybody else forgot tells your friend that the miscarried child was not important enough for others to remember. It hurts.  

Give Grace
Losing a child is a life-changing experience. Give some grace to your friend. She may want to back off her involvement in some activities. She may be weepy often. She may seem distant to you. She may simply need time to process through her grief, to gain perspective on life. It's been my experience that God uses grief experiences to teach us realities about heaven and how short this life is, to give us an eternal perspective, to show us what is really important on this earth. Give your friend grace as she goes through her own process of grief. 

Don't Be Afraid to Ask
Most people will say very little to your friend about her grief, especially after the initial "I'm so sorry." Yet most people who are grieving WANT people to ask how they are doing, WANT to talk, WANT someone to show they care. Ask your friend often how she is doing. Ask what she is finding most difficult at this point. Ask if there is one or two practical things that she is finding it hard to keep up with - and then offer to help her! Even if there are tears as she shares, don't let that stop you from asking, showing you care, and supporting your friend. 

Do More
The honest truth is that most "friends" will do very little to help your friend during this time. I challenge you to do more than just say "I'm sorry." Find some other practical way to show your friend that you care. Words are cheap when your friend is hurting. She needs something more - a hug, a card with something hand-written in it, a friend who truly wants to hear how she's doing, a meal, a flower to remember her baby, someone to remember after 1 month (6 months, 1 year) has passed and acknowledge it

I've experienced miscarriage three times now. Once I felt very little support and couldn't believe how few real "friends" I had. It was discouraging and probably was part of the reason the grief lasted much longer. I felt alone and isolated. Another time, there was more support shown - more meals delivered, more follow-up. It helped to not feel so alone in my grief. 

Eventually, everybody experiences grief. We all love and we all will experience the loss associated with love. Do what you can to show you care. Live out "do to others what you would have them do to you" and show you are a true friend. The time will come when you need a friend and are in a time of need. You would want people around you to be close, to show they care, to help carry you through. 
Be that kind of friend now!      


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