Miscarriage: It’s a topic that’s so closely guarded and often kept “hush, hush.” So when it happens to somebody you love, chances are you’re not quite sure what to say. In hopes of opening up the conversation, we reached out to a dear friend who was willing to share what personally helped her through the trying time. Here, a few great things to say when you’re feeling powerless to help.
‘I’m so sorry for your loss.’
“A friend of mine got me a sympathy card and strangely that meant so much to me because it meant that my grief was real and validated. Rationally, I know I lost something that was merely a group of cells, but it’s the dreams and plans you have for that little child that you grieve over. Knowing that she also saw that made me feel less irrational,” says our friend.
‘You’re not alone.’
Many times, women haven’t even had the chance to tell their friends that they are pregnant before they miscarry, so going through the process can feel extremely isolating. “Hearing stories from other women who have gone through the same process helps, a lot.” As does approaching the topic in a more casual manner. Our pal remembers one woman telling her that she—and all her friends—had miscarriages, that they all have kids now and that it’s such a common occurrence. “It made me feel like it wasn’t this awkward thing that I shouldn’t be talking about,” she explains.
‘It’s not your fault.’
Pregnancy comes with a list of dos and don’ts, and doctors like to emphasize the responsibility we have for our bodies. So when you miscarry, it’s hard not to feel like you did something wrong. “Your child is something you’re supposed to protect in every way and failing at that is extremely difficult,” says our friend. Hearing again and again that this is just something that happens—and not a result of anything she did—helped with the guilt.
‘Go ahead, I’m here to listen.’
Still don’t know what to say? The good news is she may need you to listen more than talk anyway. Ask her if she wants to discuss it. If she says “no,” sit with her on the couch and binge-watch Stranger Things. If she says “yes,” follow up with questions like “How are you feeling today?” and “What’s on your mind?”
Because it does. Most importantly, don’t tell her “Everything will work out” or “You can try again next month.” She doesn’t need you to look on the bright side. She needs you to validate her grief and be her ally. In other words: She needs a friend, not a cheerleader.