8 ways to support a loved one who lost a baby
Sometimes the loss of a pregnancy and child happens. It’s common, but however common is, you’re not trained to handle the experience of loosing a baby, and not how to live through the trauma of it either.
Miscarriage is a painful experience not only because of the obvious, but also because of the magnitude of things to grieve. It’s not only the physical loss of your baby, but also processing a traumatic birth depending on how far along you were, the sudden termination of a pregnancy and physical & mental confusion that comes with it, emergency surgery, grieving a future that no longer will be, and in this life never getting to know the child you’ve longed to birth and hold. It is cancelling appointments that you no longer need because you’re no longer carrying a baby with a heartbeat. It is being bathed in medical costs that feel like they are for nothing. It’s being reminded on mother’s day, on estimated due dates and when people ask how many children you have. It’s figuring out a relationship to a sorrow that will ebb and flow and be a part of your life as long as you live.
The good thing about being a friend to someone who is experiencing misscarriage, is that you don’t need to know how it feels to be a good support. Here are a few things that might be really helpful if you want to support your friend to help heal her heart.
Help her out with her children, but ask before taking them from home. Having her children around might actually be really good for her heart, because it’s easy to feel alone when you’ve experienced a miscarriage.
Tell her you are there to talk about everything, or absolutely nothing at all.
Chocolate is a really really great thing.
Bring or buy food! Or send a gift card for take out! This will probably be the biggest thing you can do for the whole family. If your friend is a stay at home mom, helping her out by taking on some chores that she usually does and give her some time to just rest (which is almost impossible being a stay at home mom to tiny folk) will help her, her husband and the whole family a tremendous amount.
If her husband works which he probably does, team up with her other friends and family and make a schedule for visits once a day the first few weeks. This is really not a time to be alone with your thoughts, and for good healing, you need grief to be a part of your day and not be your whole life. When experiencing a loss of a loved person, you need to have good & happy things to happen your days, and that is really the most wonderful way to heal. To be allowed to fully feel the pain, but also to fully be alive. So help her feel fully alive!
Know that your friend will probably never stop grieving her child. The first few months will be all about processing and she will probably repeat and talk a lot about some things, and it is just a normal grieving process. Never use an expression like “you need to move on” or “be strong for the family” especially the first few weeks, because a mother or father will never not miss the child they thought they would one day raise and hold in their arms. She needs the first months to come to terms with their loss, process the circumstances and know how to re-plan her future. It’s a big deal. And you never “move on” from it. You simply learn how to live a happy life despite it.
Bring flowers, tea, prayers for the family. Flowers are soothing to look at, tea is a great thing for the mother since she still might not want coffee due to pregnancy hormones that don’t yet understand that pregnancy has ended and prayers are healing words that the whole family will need.
And last but not least, remember that the mother isn’t the only one who lost a child! The father has also experienced a painful loss even though he hasn’t experienced it physically. Care about the dad too <3