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Approximately 1 out of five pregnancies end in miscarriage. It’s very likely that at some point in your life someone close to you will have a miscarriage. If you are a kind and caring friend, you may want to do or say something to show support but not know exactly what to say. Knowing what to say is often difficult. Nobody wants to be the person that says something cliché, inconsiderate, or offensive. In addition, grief affects people differently, making the task of saying the right thing more challenging. Here are a few ways that you can do to show support to someone who has had a loss.
It’s okay to say you don’t know the right words to say. It’s okay to stumble with your words, but say something to let your friend know you care. Try to choose your words carefully but don’t stress yourself out. Just do your best. If you are stuck for words, you can say something simple like, “I’m so sorry for your loss” or “My heart is breaking for you.” Try to be supportive, sensitive, and sincere.
One nice thing you can do for a friend who has had a loss is to send her a card in the mail. This will let her know that you cared enough to take the extra step and mail something out to her. During her time of grief she may not feel up to talking to anyone but this doesn’t mean she doesn’t want or need support. A card, or if appropriate flowers, that arrives at her door won’t make her pain go away, but the extra love and support may make it just a little easier.
Nothing you say is going to make the grief go away. Saying too much or offering unwanted advice may upset her and make her want to avoid you. Instead, attentively listen to her and allow her to talk as much or as little as she needs to. Ask questions like “how are you?” This gives her a chance to talk if she wants to but isn’t intrusive.
Prepare a basket for your friend. You can include tissues, a journal and pen so she can record her feelings, tea, crackers hard candy, or snacks. A grief basket is appropriate for a close friend, and should be thoughtfully put together. A poem or a hand-written note may be something you want to include as well. Some people add grief/loss books to this type of baskets, which may be helpful, but you should avoid “how to” books or the kind of books that go into the causes and treatment of miscarriage or pregnancy loss.
Offer help with housework, childcare if she has other children, or offer to bring a meal. During this time, other children may not fully understand, and she may need the extra help but not want to ask for it. Listen to her response though. If she seems hesitant, don’t push. She may just need space and want to be left alone.
You really need to know your friend and respond to her individual needs. There isn’t a checklist that you can just go by – do this, don’t do that. Some people want to be left alone when they are grieving and others want to be surrounded with support. If you don’t know how she feels or what she wants from you, you can just ask. Say something like, “I am here for you no matter what you need. Please let me know what you need and I will do whatever I can to help.”
It’s easy for the rest of the world to move on and forget about someone’s loss but for the person that is dealing with the loss, the pain doesn’t just go away. Don’t forget about your friend. You can send a follow up card in the mail with a heart-felt note letting her know that you haven’t forgotten and are always there for her.
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