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What to do & not to do


Forum: Recurrent Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss

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  #1  
July 18th, 2006, 06:37 PM
beck12's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 12,330
If you have a friend or family member who has gone through a miscarriage, there is much you can do to help her (and her partner). First, simply letting her know that you are very sorry to hear of her loss is the kindest thing you can do. Letting her know that you are available to help or listen is another good suggestion. Most women who have had a miscarriage will find either or both of these quite adequate and helpful. Unfortunately, most of us feel awkward when faced with a friend in emotional pain, and we feel obligated to say something else. Sadly, what we attempt to say in these sensitive situations may not come across right and we may instead say something profoundly hurtful and insensitive.

In fact, most women who have had a miscarriage tell me that they have heard unbelievably insensitive comments from their friends and family, and in some cases this has led to permanently damaged relationships. Comments such as "the baby would have been deformed anyway," "it must be punishment for something you did wrong," or even "you can always have more" can be extremely painful to a woman and her partner. A similarly disturbing comment is "how can you be so upset; you were barely pregnant?" Women and their partners who suffer a miscarriage often have severe grief over the loss of their baby. It does not matter how far along the mother was at the time of her loss, and, in fact, many women grieve as much over the loss of a baby in the first trimester as they do for a stillborn baby or a baby that dies many months or years after birth. Grief is very individual, and friends and loved ones should try to be kind and supportive through this difficult process.

http://medicalreporter.health.org/tmr0397/...rriage0397.html

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What Not to Say

Far too often, well-meaning people add further hurt by saying or doing inappropriate things — or, conversely, by failing to show concern and compassion. Comforting in a healing, helpful way to someone who’s experienced a miscarriage is the same as with any other kind of death.

Nobody said much. Perhaps they didn’t know what to say, but I was grieving — and just wanted to know that people cared.— Lauren

[Some people] . . . said the most hurtful words but with the best intentions like, “You are young; you will have time to have [more] children” and “Maybe this is God’s way of saying your baby wasn’t healthy.”—Emily1

The doctor in the ultrasound room said to me, “You’re still young and healthy and can have more children.” Maybe I could, maybe I couldn’t. How would he have felt if his wife had just died and someone said, “That’s too bad. On the other hand, there are lots of other women out there and you’ll undoubtedly get married again.”? — Caroline

Don’t say . . .

* Gee, I know — I’m having a rough time right now, too. The last thing they need right now is to hear about your problems — unless someone you love just died, also.
* I can imagine how you feel. If you haven’t lost a child, you can’t.
* It’s a blessing. Your baby probably was deformed. No matter your motives, this is not a comforting comment — and it perpetuates the fallacy that human life is only valuable when it comes in a “perfect package.”
* It’s not like it was a full-term baby. The human spirit has no “size.” The person created in the image and likeness of God is fully there from conception — regardless of the size or capabilities of the body and mind.
* Please let me know if there’s anything I can do. It sounds nice, but it puts the burden on the bereaved person to think of something, and then have to ask for help.
* God had a purpose for this. No matter how this squares — or doesn’t square — with Scripture, it turns a baby’s death into a mere movement of a pawn on a chessboard. In fact, it makes God out to be the “bad guy” in the situation, and He isn’t.

What helps?

Pray for the grieving parent(s). Ask, “How can I pray for you right now?” Then remember to pray — and, ideally, keep up with their prayer needs on a regular basis for the first few months.

Send a personal note or card — but avoid the temptation to “preach” or find a reason for the miscarriage. If you’ve experienced a miscarriage, however, sharing that fact can communicate the message, “You’re not alone, and I understand.” A few words validating the parents’ loss can be very comforting.

My next-door neighbor brought over a fruit basket, a warm and funny novel, and a note that simply said, “I’m so sorry.” — Julie

I have a collection of mementos of Andrew. It’s primarily filled with notes and cards that people sent—which even now, almost 10 years later, are very meaningful to me. — Caroline

Think of one or two specific things that you could do — bring a meal, watch other children for several hours, do the laundry, run errands, take care of yard work — then call and ask if you could do so. Even small gestures of practical help can be very comforting.

Right before I lost the baby, we had done a lot of spring yard work — and had a bunch of leaf bags sitting on our front porch. Our next-door neighbor came over a couple of days later and quietly hauled all of them out to the curb for us. —Caroline

Make yourself available to listen. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to say something appropriate or profound. Most of the time, the gift of listening, your tears and/or a warm hug can help more than anything you could possibly say. Make a donation to a favorite charity in memory of the child. Or, if there is a burial, make a donation toward a headstone or other related expenses.

Send a note or flowers at the time the baby would have been born. This is something seldom thought of, but can be very comforting at a time, months later, that usually brings renewed grief.

Don’t forget dads and siblings

While a miscarriage naturally impacts the mother the most, the baby’s father and other children in the family (if any) should not be forgotten. They may be struggling with their own feelings of shock, confusion and loss. Simple questions like “How are you doing? Do you want to talk?” can let them know they’re not forgotten. A phone call, a note, an invitation to have coffee or get ice cream will convey the message that “I know you’ve experienced a loss, too — and I care!”

Excerpted from the booklet Permission to Grieve: Finding Healing and Hope After Miscarriage. Copyright © 2001 Focus on the Family.

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Help for Family and Friends

If you are reading this on behalf of someone else, here is some advice on how to help them.

* Do let your genuine concern and caring show.
* Do be available... to listen or to help with whatever seems needed at the time.
* Do say you are sorry about what has happened and about their pain.
* Do allow them to express as much unhappiness as they are feeling and are willing to share.
* Do encourage them to be patient with themselves and not to expect too much of themselves, nor to impose any 'shoulds' on themselves.
* Do allow them to talk about their loss as much and as often as they want to.
* Do reassure them that they did everything they could and that it wasn't their fault.
* Don't let your own sense of helplessness keep you from reaching out.
* Don't avoid them because you are uncomfortable. Being avoided by friends may add pain to an already painful experience.
* Don't say that you know how they feel (unless you have experienced their loss yourself, and then you can be particularly supportive).
* Don't say 'you ought to be feeling better by now' or anything which implies judgment about their feelings.
* Don't tell them what they should feel or do.
* Don't change the subject when they mention their loss.
* Don't avoid mentioning their loss out of fear of reminding them of their pain (they won't have forgotten).
* Don't try to find something positive about the loss (eg. a moral lesson, closer family ties, etc).
* Don't point out that at least they have their other....
* Don't say that they can always have another.... (they wanted this one).
* Don't say that they should be grateful for....
* Don't make comments which in any way suggest that the loss was their fault (there will be enough feelings of doubt and guilt already).


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Never say these phrases:

* "You can always have another."
They don't want another baby, they want this baby.

* "Now you have an angel looking after you."
They don't want an angel, they want their baby back.

* "It's for the best."
Best for whom?

* "At least you didn't know your baby."
Whether you held your baby in your arms or only in your mind, this baby is real.

* "There must have been something wrong..." Wrong with me?

* "Did you do something you weren't supposed to do?
Did I cause this? How could I have hurt my baby?

* "I understand how you feel."
Even if you have had a miscarriage, every one feels their grief uniquely.

* "Have you ever thought of not having children?"
Yes, I probably have.
I realize that I may never be a mother.

* "Be grateful for the children you have..."
It isn't a question of being ungrateful or not appreciating what I have.

Things to say:

* "I'm sorry."
* "What can I do to help?"
* "I'm here for you."
__________________
B - Crazy momma to my two boys
We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters. ~Gloria Steinem

If a man has been his mother's undisputed darling he retains throughout life the triumphant feeling, the confidence in success, which not seldom brings actual success along with it. ~Sigmund Freud
My mom is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune. ~Graycie Harmon
Don't wait to make your son a great man - make him a great boy. ~Author Unknown
You don't raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they'll turn out to be heroes, even if it's just in your own eyes. ~Walter M. Schirra, Sr.
A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest. ~Irish Proverb
Mother's love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. ~Erich Fromm
Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it. - Harold Hulbert
Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children. ~William Makepeace Thackeray
God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers. ~Jewish Proverb
The best conversations with mothers always take place in silence, when only the heart speaks. ~Carrie Latet




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  #2  
October 12th, 2008, 08:19 PM
beck12's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 12,330
bump
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B - Crazy momma to my two boys
We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters. ~Gloria Steinem

If a man has been his mother's undisputed darling he retains throughout life the triumphant feeling, the confidence in success, which not seldom brings actual success along with it. ~Sigmund Freud
My mom is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune. ~Graycie Harmon
Don't wait to make your son a great man - make him a great boy. ~Author Unknown
You don't raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they'll turn out to be heroes, even if it's just in your own eyes. ~Walter M. Schirra, Sr.
A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest. ~Irish Proverb
Mother's love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. ~Erich Fromm
Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it. - Harold Hulbert
Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children. ~William Makepeace Thackeray
God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers. ~Jewish Proverb
The best conversations with mothers always take place in silence, when only the heart speaks. ~Carrie Latet




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  #3  
October 14th, 2008, 09:16 PM
Jodi Dawn's Avatar Host of the Jan-July 05 P
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thanks, I post on the grief and loss boards to show my support. and sometimes it takes me awhile to post cuz I don't know what to say.
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  #4  
October 18th, 2008, 06:42 AM
missy123's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Savannah GA
Posts: 13,417
Thanks for this. I am sending it to my friends/family. They dont understand what I am going through and because I am a single mom with 3 boys now they are saying things like "Well, at your age you should be happy you dont have to deal with raising another child", and "it was for the best", and "you werent that far along"... I know they arent trying to purposely hurt me, but they are all doing a really good job of it.

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Pregnancy Loss April 2009, September 2010
CP 10/2008, 1/3/11 {missing my babies every single day}Mommy to 4 Children - 3 boys ages 22, 21 and 18 & baby Scarlett
After 2.5 years TTC with 4 losses our Family was given the gift of Miss Scarlett
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Do not ever give up hope...


Miss Scarlett... Our miracle girl still brings happy tears to my eyes.



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  #5  
October 20th, 2008, 04:43 PM
beck12's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 12,330
Quote:
Thanks for this. I am sending it to my friends/family. They dont understand what I am going through and because I am a single mom with 3 boys now they are saying things like "Well, at your age you should be happy you dont have to deal with raising another child", and "it was for the best", and "you werent that far along"... I know they arent trying to purposely hurt me, but they are all doing a really good job of it.[/b]
Awww Miss - I HATE that for you! Why do people feel the need to try to point out how something so painful to us is really a "good thing" in their eyes & then think that is nice of them??? I hope this helps!
__________________
B - Crazy momma to my two boys
We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters. ~Gloria Steinem

If a man has been his mother's undisputed darling he retains throughout life the triumphant feeling, the confidence in success, which not seldom brings actual success along with it. ~Sigmund Freud
My mom is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune. ~Graycie Harmon
Don't wait to make your son a great man - make him a great boy. ~Author Unknown
You don't raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they'll turn out to be heroes, even if it's just in your own eyes. ~Walter M. Schirra, Sr.
A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest. ~Irish Proverb
Mother's love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. ~Erich Fromm
Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it. - Harold Hulbert
Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children. ~William Makepeace Thackeray
God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers. ~Jewish Proverb
The best conversations with mothers always take place in silence, when only the heart speaks. ~Carrie Latet




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