what to do if a friend has a miscarriage
Thinking of my miscarriages I did a usenet search from back when I was active in misc.kids.pregnancy, and I found this wonderful post, written just three weeks after my first miscarriage, where I wrote about how my friends had helped me and hurt me. It’s a really good post. People seem to be better at helping friends through breakups than through miscarriages – I think because breakups are less taboo, and so many of us have actually experienced them.
From: Jill Walker (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Re: question: what 2say?
Here’s what you SHOULDN’T tell your friend:
– Well, I guess it was for the best.
– Maybe it wasn’t the best time to have a baby, anyway.
– Well, it was very early.
– You’ll get over it soon.
– It looks as if you’re taking it well.
And don’t talk about the intricacies of the tiny jumper you were knitting for her
baby – she probably doesn’t really want to hear about that.
Oh, there are heaps more, but I can’t remember them all. I miscarried three
weeks ago, and almost everybody managed to hurt me by saying well-meaning things. Even though I knew all these people meant well, what they said still hurt.
What did help was people just listening to me. So many comments seemed to either minimize my grief, or to tell me how I should feel. I know that its very hard to know what to say, especially knowing that “everything” hurts. What helped me was friends who told me they didn’t know what to tell me, but that they cared, and that they would listen to anything I wanted to say. One friend told me to phone her if I wanted someone to scream at or cry to. Although I didn’t end up screaming at her, I felt better knowing I could.
Another thing – at first I didn’t want to talk about it with more than a few
people, it hurt too much to explain everything all over again. I cut people off
when they started talking about it, or saying how sorry they were (that didn’t
hurt, by the way). But now, when I’m ready to talk about it, nobody asks – and
how do you say “lets talk aboout my miscarriage?” Those few people who still ask me how I am when I meet them mean a lot to me.
The main thing is not to push ready-made ideas of how she should feel on to her. That was what I hated most – whether people told me I’d get over it in a matter of days or if they seemed surprised I wasn’t drowning in tears. Everyone’s grief is different, so let her tell you how she feels, not vice versa.