14 In SIMPLE causes/ tips and tools

a simple story :: how to help someone in a season of miscarriage

a simple story :: how to help someone in a season of miscarriage
Print pageEmail page

In honor of October being a national remembrance of pregnancy and infant loss, I share with you my story…

My husband and I found out this past summer that we were to be expecting baby number 3. We were a little surprised, but SO excited.

We lost the baby around 10 weeks.

It has been a month and I’ve been feeling led to write about it for a couple reasons.

First for healing. I’ve always been a journal type person and writing is super releasing for me.

Second, because I’m hoping by opening this can of worms, to make talking about miscarriage a little less forbidden. Because I could totally write in my personal journal, and just leave it at that. But walking through the last few weeks has opened my eyes to the fact that we just plain avoid talking about it.

Why don’t we talk about it?

For some it is so hard to talk about because maybe you just haven’t “been there” and don’t know what to say.

For others, it is so hard because you have experienced it, and either you feel like no one wants to talk about it, you feel like less of a woman because of it, or you feel like you should be able to buck up and move on. Or maybe you just don’t talk because no one has offered to hear…

I wanted to write down a few things to help you help someone get through a season of miscarriage.

Because…we need help. A lot of it.

And it is a season. It doesn’t just go away. And being silent about it makes it even worse.

I am not claiming to be an expert by any means, nor am I a trained psychologist. I have had a number of people close to me have a miscarriage, and as I look back I was so unhelpful. I’m hoping to help you get into the brain of someone that has freshly gone through a miscarriage…and is still healing. I want to help you help them.

And I want to let those of you that have been there know…yep you are not alone.

This is not an exhaustive list of things that help. I understand that everyone has different personalities – and different personalities have different needs. After talking with a few people close to me about their miscarriages, however, I’ve come to understand that we all have a few things in common. And a lot of it has just about everything to do with…just being there.

If you have gone through a season of miscarriage, please feel free to comment below about some of the things that helped you through, and maybe some of the things you longed for or needed.

If you have never been through a miscarriage, please know that I am not trying to make you feel bad if you have said or done/not done some of the things I’m listing here. I think one of the biggest reasons these lists resonate with me is because I had people close to me go through miscarriages, and I didn’t do anything. My hope is to help you help the friends and family close to you so you don’t feel so lost in trying to help.

THINGS THAT REALLY HELPED ME:

1. People checking in on me (in person, by text/phone, by email).

  • I had a few sweet friends that texted me every day for at least a week or 2. Every DAY.
  • When I went into actual labor to deliver the baby, I had one sweet friend that lived almost an hour away offer to come and sit with me. Do you know how much that meant? The laboring and delivery process was SO lonely. YES my husband was there. And he was so helpful. But if you are a woman, and you know of someone that has been told they will be having a miscarriage at home – offer to sit with them and rub their back, and hold their hand. It is just as painful and scary as regular labor and delivery. But with no nurse to help you, and no baby to hold after all the pain. As awesome as husbands are, there is just something about women coming together to support each other.
  • I have another incredible friend that couldn’t be with me, but we talked and texted throughout the whole evening that I delivered. She reminded me to go get my heating pad for my back and tummy pain, to drink, and kept checking in with a text every few minutes to see that I was all right. I can’t tell you how much that meant.
  • If you know of someone going through a miscarriage – DON’T ISOLATE YOURSELVES FROM THEM TO “GIVE THEM SOME SPACE”…even if you have never been through a miscarriage before – we need you. We need to not feel like an outcast. Don’t just assume that because you have never “been there” that you have nothing to offer. Sometimes you are the closest person to them and YOU are who they want.

2. Someone helping with the girls…and life in general.

  • I don’t know what I would have done if my parents hadn’t taken the girls for the weekend we found out. I was NOT myself. The first 24 or so hours after that ER visit I couldn’t even pull myself to get out of bed the sorrow was so heavy. And taking care of them during the laboring process would have been difficult.
  • They took them whenever they could in the following weeks as well. I’ll be honest – I was not the Mama I really wanted to be during those weeks. I still am not sometimes. I just wanna curl up and cry some days. Having someone play and have fun with them was so important to me. If you know of someone going through a season of miscarriage don’t just offer to help or ask “what can I do”…just assume and DO. Call them up and say I’m taking my kids to the park and we’re coming to get yours too. Or call and tell them pack up the kids over night gear we’re having a sleep over.  Call her up and tell her you are on your way over to clean her bathrooms, or vacuum, and to make sure she has a load of laundry ready for you to put in when you get there. She isn’t going to ask for help – she is most likely feeling like since she didn’t have a “real labor and delivery and a baby” that she shouldn’t need help. She DOES need help. Just assume and DO.
  • I still get offers from my parents to take the girls for an afternoon or if I’m having a rough day. Don’t just assume that since it’s been a month, everything is all set. I’m learning that this truly is a “season”…and it takes time to get over.

3. Just letting me be sad and mad.

  • If you know of someone going through a miscarriage – cry WITH them. Hug and hold them. Even if you have never gone through one yourself. You don’t need a bunch of words.
  • It helped to a degree to know my baby was “in Jesus’ arms”…but I wanted my baby. I didn’t want to listen to praise music, pray, or read. I physically COULDN’T. Just BE there – hold them, hug them, make them scream, make them acknowledge they are mad, and sad, and disappointed. YES there comes a point where prayer, praise, or whatever you do to release or heal is necessary – let THEM decide when they are ready. (Obviously if someone you know is just not getting over the grief you may recommend professional help, etc)

4. People letting me be excited about their pregnancies.

  • There were about a zillion friends and family of mine that just happened to either already be pregnant, found out they were pregnant around the same time as me, or just gotten pregnant since my miscarriage.  I remember being pregnant around the same time as a friend of mine having a miscarriage. I felt SO bad. I felt guilty that pregnancy was so easy for me and not for her. I isolated myself from her, or when I did see her tried not to talk about the baby. Or tried to move onto a new subject quickly when she asked how I was feeling. I’ve come to find out that the most uncomfortable and outcast feeling in the world is someone not letting you share in their joy.  Don’t take that away from them.

5. People acknowledging that we lost a BABY.

  • From the moment we knew we were pregnant that baby was a BABY to us. Not tissue. I know, I know that when the egg and sperm came together something might not have matched up right, or the egg didn’t attach right, and from what I’m told “a baby didn’t really form right”…But from the moment that pregnancy test showed enough hormones to be pregnant, to the excitement of telling family, to the moments when I hovered over a toilet puking from morning sickness, to the moments when I delivered the baby, to THIS DAY…that was a BABY to ME.
  • It was also helpful when people would acknowledge that even though we have been blessed with 2 girls already, this hurts just as bad as if we didn’t. It might make it easier in some ways that we still had our girls – but I loved that baby just as much as my girls, and we were looking forward to loving on that baby just as much. Telling someone – well at least you have 2 healthy babies, or it was for the best doesn’t help much.

So here’s the deal.

I know we all know of someone that has been or is going through this season of life.

CALL them up. Or text them. Like now.

Check in and see how they are doing. Even if it has been a year or 10.

Because what I’m coming to learn from others that have walked through this is…that it doesn’t really ever go away. It changes. It gets “better”. But you never forget.

…and if you are walking through this season right now and even if it has been years…know that you are not alone. I hope you have someone that can check in on you. There are more women who have been through this than you think. Talk to someone you trust if you have never told anyone.

Let’s break the silence.

YOUR TURN.

Renee

the real food hippie :: renee is married to her superman and mama to her 3 busy bees. she loves soaking up the sun, real butter, and julia child. her passion is helping people take baby steps to raise a real food generation in this world of highly processed food – one with healed guts, functioning minds, and solid health. she also blogs at Raising Generation Nourished. Find more of Renee on twitter pinterest and Google+.

More Posts - Twitter - Google Plus

Next Post
Previous Post

You Might Also Like

  • Barbara
    October 3, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Your words resonated with me. We miscarried between our second and fourth children and even though it has been nineteen years I can remember all the conflicted emotions. The oddest (in retrospect) was how much I desperately needed a tangible something on which to focus my grief (I used my positive pregnancy test) but at the same time could not bear to even see the one baby gift we had already received (a blanket from my mother). Now I know and accept that grief is not logical and does not follow rules. At the risk of sounding like a cliche, grief is whatever it is.
    I love that you want to share your words. It’s one of those things that is unlikely to hurt anyone and may help more people than you can imagine in more ways than you can imagine.
    Thank you for sharing!

  • Jen @ After The Alter
    October 2, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. I am so sorry for your loss. I too have been writing about my losses and I find that talking about it helps me…and from what others have told me it helps them to hear they aren’t alone.

  • Dinah
    April 25, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Thanks. You have hit the nail on the head. Why ARE we so reticent to be open about miscarriage- as well as the early weeks of pregnancy? The last thing I wanted to do when I found out I was pregnant was WAIT to share the news. I was happy THEN, and I wanted to share that joy during the moment of initial excitement. But it just ‘isn’t done that way.’ We wait until the highest risk of miscarriage is over to make sure we don’t have to follow up with an announcement which will bring sorrow. So for three months in public we pretend not to be pregnant, all the while bracing for ‘failure’ instead of rejoicing in every day that our BABY is granted life inside our womb. The Lord was pleased to call our baby Home to His arms (the safest place) when I was about 8 weeks along, and the biggest regret I had was that I hadn’t shared my joyful news with MORE people. I’m in my first year of marriage living in a foreign country, learning the language, but all my peeps are back in the U.S. So not only is there a major time zone difference, but sharing my news with only family and closest friends meant I was sharing via such superficial means as facebook and Skype- not natural! No hugs and shouts of delight when they found out we were expecting, no hugs and tears (at least no tears up close and in person) when I shared about losing the baby. But through the course of this short season, my husband encouraged me to go ahead and share with people I trusted if that’s how I needed to process first the joy, and then the grief. Let me rejoice! Let me grieve! There’s nothing shameful in telling the world we ‘made a baby,’ and nothing shameful in telling the world we lost it. We CAN still rejoice that we were granted those few weeks of new life- a precious gift from God. Returning to church after our miscarriage, I decided that this whole event could be a catalyst to forming potential closer friendships with some of the ladies. Up to this point there has been enough of a language barrier that my interaction with them has been limited. But who’s going to turn away from a cry for compassion, even if it is in faltering Dutch? Instead of replying with a blithe “I’m doing just fine” when they asked how I was, I told them the truth. They cried with me. That spoke to my soul in a way that Skyping with my family just can’t do. In this land the people at church ARE my family, and they can’t help me unless they know what I am going through.
    My husband and I rejoice that we were able to conceive. We look ahead to the possibility of trying again, and next time I will have more confidence to share openly from the beginning, not suppress the joy, or any subsequent grief that may follow.

  • Cassie
    April 17, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    I am so glad that you wrote this Renee and I wish I had seen it sooner. We had a miscarriage last summer at about 10 weeks. We had been trying for close to a year to get pregnant and the loss of our first baby was very difficult to deal with. I remember just thinking I wanted someone to talk to… all the time. I especially wanted to talk to someone who had been through it. I have 3 sisters and had no idea if any of them had a miscarriage in their past and I knew of very few friends that did (because most people seem to want to keep it hush hush, much like you mention). I called a friend that I did know had a miscarriage and we talked every day after I found out until after the physical process was done. Then she called or text me at least weekly for the next few months. It meant the world to me to have someone to talk to, especially someone that had been there and I find that we are even closer as friends now than we had been in the past. I am not sure how many people are even aware that I had a miscarriage and looking back, I regret that at some point I didnt open up about it publicly. If I hadn’t known my friend had a miscarriage my recovery process may have taken much longer as I wouldnt feel like I had anyone to talk to. If people know that I have been there then they might feel like they have someone to talk to if they ever go through it. I am so glad you are willing and open to share your experience with the world and it has given me the confidence to be more open about mine. Perhaps I can be a blessing to someone in the future because of what I have been through. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Renee
      April 17, 2013 at 12:37 pm

      Oh Cassie thank you for sharing this. I think I spent about a whole day before I could actually push the “post it” button on this post 😉 It IS hard to come out and talk about. Why do we make ourselves feel like such failures for something we probaby could have never prevented? Silly. And the more of us that open up and speak up about it the more it will help other mamas know they are not alone. It isn’t too late to speak up – I’m coming to realize the healing process is much longer than I thought it would be for me and it helps not to stuff it. As my original due date came around I found myself trying to keep myself SUPER busy with this and that and until my husband brought it up to me that that was what I was doing I didn’t even realize it. I actually sat and thought about the fact that my due date was here and man those feelings just came rushing back – and I had been trying to avoid them by keeping busy. Dumb. Just embrace it and acknowledge it 😉 I hope you can bless someone with your story as well. You have blessed me just by sharing similar stories. It is what bonds women and I think it is ashame our society today doesn’t let women just come together and be there for each other. No more super woman here. No more super mama. I need my women friends. Desperately 😉 Blessings!

  • Colleen
    January 4, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    When my daughter lost hers at about 8 wks. she told her sister first who in turn told me. I was in my room crying when she called to tell me she was ok. When I heard her voice, I burst into tears again. She assured me that she was ok. She said this is very common and it wasn’t really a baby yet as it failed to form. So I pulled myself together and I have tried to just focus on all the wonderful blessings in her life. She says they will try again soon, but now she gets to “have a fun summer”. I didn’t know it would be so painful, like a real birth. I wish I had been there for her. I wonder if I should bring it up and ask her how she’s doing or just let it go.

  • Staci A
    October 29, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. We miscarried two years ago and I still feel the heartbreak from it. As you mentioned, it was helpful that people acknowledged that losing a baby hurt even if you had other little ones at home. I absolutely hated when someone told me, “well, at least you have a child already.”

    We really need to learn to support one another in moments like this, rather than minimizing another’s pain. This is a wonderful post with suggestions that can really help those of us grieving the loss of a little one.

    • Renee
      October 29, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      Thank you Stacy – and I’m sorry to hear of your loss as well.

      I love that way of looking at it – supporting instead of minimizing the pain. Gosh ignoring it sure doesn’t do much huh? I think once I acknowledged how hurt I was I could actually deal with it and start to move on.

      Thanks for the feedback 🙂

  • Leslie
    October 28, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Thank you for writing this, Renee. I have never experienced a miscarriage but if I do and/or if a close friend of mine does, I really appreciate hearing firsthand what I can do to love and support them through it.

    • Renee
      October 28, 2012 at 11:03 pm

      Thank you for your encouragement Leslie! I appreciate your feedback – that is exactly what I was going for!

  • kelly
    October 28, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    A week and a half ago I had my second chemical pregnancy. In a row. So I have my good days and bad days and this post is what I needed. So thank you. I’m linking to it on my blog also.

    • Renee
      October 28, 2012 at 7:26 pm

      Hi Kelly,

      I’m so sorry to hear of this rough time for you. I have a friend that has had multiple chemical pregnancies as well and it is so difficult. I pray you can let your body heal…and your emotions. Keep us posted in your journey. Thank you for sharing 😉

  • Judy
    October 28, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Well said. I admire you for even knowing what to tell people about how to react/respond after this experience. It’s been 24 years since the miscarriage of my twins, but I still think about them, wonder what our lives would be like if we still had them with us. My husband & I had been trying to have a baby for a little over 5 years, so I don’t have to tell you the joy & excitement we felt after all of the disappointments, infertility tests & treatments, & wondering if it would ever happen. At about 11 weeks I began having some spotting. Because of our years of infertility, we were considered “high risk” so I’d been monitored carefully, but all had been well to this point. When I went in to be examined to see about the spotting, the nurse had difficulty finding a heartbeat in the sonogram, BUT that was when we found out it was twins, & she said that sometimes in the case of multiples, those things aren’t detected quite as early. My HCG level hadn’t gone up since my last visit, but hadn’t gone down either. So I was sent home to rest with instructions to keep them posted about things. My husband & I went from sorrow & despair (I think we knew in our hearts that the outcome was not going to be good, but didn’t want to let ourselves go there), to total excitement about the prospect of having 2 babies to love. We talked about how we’d never have to share — there’d always be one for each of us to hold and cuddle. On the drive home from that awful appointment we almost stopped to get another crib mobile — one of our early purchases when we found out we were finally expecting. I think it was kind of a desperate attempt to make it not true. But we held off. Within a week, the inevitable happened. At home. Just me & my husband. There was no one to talk me through it. No one to tell me what to expect (other than the instructions to save everything so the lab could determine what went wrong). No one to tell me how to handle the pain. It was a long, painful, heartbreaking, sleepless night. When it was finally over, I felt the full range — sorrow, guilt, cheated, but mostly empty. Completely empty. And I remember thinking how wrong it was that my babies (I, too, ALWAYS thought of them that way), were now in a cold plastic container awaiting unspeakable things that would allow the drs. the ability to figure out what the problem had been. For me, I found that it didn’t always matter what people said to me, but more that they said SOMETHING to acknowledge our tremendous loss. I think some people shy away because they don’t want to bring it up and make us sad. What they don’t understand is that we’re always thinking about it anyway, and when our friends reached out, they were acknowledging that we lost our children, and not just a pregnancy. The most memorable comment came from a woman at church. I had so much trouble getting through it that first time after our loss, and she had noticed. When we told her what had happened her response was, “How wonderful!” We were puzzled at first, but she explained that she’d been praying for us to be blessed with a baby, and that the “wonderful” was not for the miscarriage, but that I could actually become pregnant. That was the first time I allowed myself to feel any hope. Just the tiniest glimmer, but it was there. And the healing began. Very slowly, and it was not an easy road, but my husband & I went through it together. Today, we have a beautiful 22 year old daughter, & a wonderful 19 year old son. We have been blessed. But I often think of my first 2 babies. At our church we have a special prayer service at the cemetary (we have a special section for all of our special unborn babies) every year in October on Celebrate Life Sunday. I will be praying for you & your family as you go through this journey, as well as all families who are also struggling trough it.

    • Renee
      October 28, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      Hi Judy 🙂

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. I got chills as I read how your loss happened. That “empty” feeling you describe. I remember that lost feeling of not knowing what to expect. When I went to to the Dr the next day they asked for the “tissue” I “passed” – I didn’t even know I was supposed to save it for them. I had saved some in a tissue because I just couldn’t bare to “flush” it down the toilet. I didn’t have a clue what I was supposed to do.

      I am hopeful in hearing your story of having 2 healthy children as well 🙂 In those first weeks after the miscarriage I completely swore off every “trying ” again – esp since we already have 2 kids. I just couldn’t bare to chance going through what I had gone through. My thoughts have changed since as I have always wanted a larger family. I know it will take time to heal – and it gives me strength to hear of others going through the same thing and still having other babies 🙂

      Thank you!