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How to support a friend who just had a miscarriage two days ago?

By Anonymous March 17, 2009 - 1:17pm
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I am so sad for my friend, who is devastated. She has been trying to conceive a child with her husband for a while now (they have one child already), and for several reasons, her pregnancies are high-risk.

She went through some fertility treatments, and nothing. Then, out of the blue, she found out she was pregnant from intercourse with her husband...yeah!

She was about 10 weeks into the pregnancy (almost at the "safer" 12 week mark), and her last OB/GYN appointment, they no longer heard the heartbeat.

Words can not express the devastation and shock.

As a friend, what in the world can I do for her and her family? Of course, my instinct is to be there for her when she wants to talk...which she does not want to at this time (with me; she has closer friends, her family, etc...a good support system). I'm a friend who can offer to babysit her other child (who is the same age as mine), bring her dinner one night.

Is there anything else I can do?

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Expert HERWriter

I also agree with what everyone has written so beautifully so far and I agree with all of my heart that you are a wonderful friend to want to help your friend so much during her time of need.

I think that all of the suggestions above are great. The only other thing I wanted to add was that your friend may have a very difficult time again when the baby was due. With her pregnancy being 10 weeks along she certainly had the due date etched in her mind and once she reaches that point it may be very hard for her and having you remember that and recognize that for her may help her feel very validated and loved. Like Kristin said, oftentimes when we are ready to talk our friends think we're certainly doing okay and so they don't want to ask us about the sad event anymore, and in 7 or so months her friends may not recall that this baby was to enter the world. But she'll remember, and she'll appreciate having you there for any needed support. Bless you for wanting to help her. Big hugs, M

March 17, 2009 - 11:33pm

I agree with Angelica that you are an AMAZING friend to want to figure out the best ways to "be there." Simply being there is the best. And especially as time passes. I've not experienced a miscarriage, but I have lost a one-day-old baby boy named Clyde. By the time I was ready to talk about him and the experience of losing him, which was well over a year afterwards, my friends had gone on with their lives and assumed I had as well. I think they also didn't want to bring up my lost baby because they feared it would make me sad. Plus, I'd quickly become pregnant and given birth to a baby girl within a year after losing him. I think my friends felt that she replaced him in a way. So I felt incredibly alone, with a huge hole in my heart, and like I had no one to talk to about my baby boy who I missed so desperately. Fortunately, I did join a support group for moms who'd lost babies, and it helped tremendously to have other women ask me questions about my baby -- simply allowing me to remember and recognize his existence. That was HUGE for me -- recognizing that I had another baby, even though he was no longer physically with me. One of the other moms in the support group knitted some tiny blue baby booties and gave them to me as a little something to add to a remembrance box that I'd created for my Clyde. (He never had clothes of his own, other than the gown I buried him in, so this meant a lot.)

I have a friend who miscarried three times -- each time around 12 weeks, and I've cried with her over her losses. At about the time that she lost her third baby, I read an article in The New York Times about a special and extraordinarily beautiful cemetery in Japan just for miscarried babies. The article was so incredibly touching, and I shared it with my friend. It seemed to help her to know that she's not alone in her grief and that moms on the other side of the world were doing something beautiful, and public, to remember their babies. I think remembrance is huge, as well as validation.

Continue being there, and when she's ready, allow her to have a voice.

March 17, 2009 - 9:58pm
EmpowHER Guest

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. I've also experienced a miscarriage, and so did one of my younger sisters. Like Angelica, I was floored by responses from other people - well-meaning, but a bit misguided.

All you can do is continue to be the friend you are. It will likely take her a long time to get through her grief, and she will likely never forget her loss. There are some things time really doesn't heal, but does make more bearable.

March 17, 2009 - 5:23pm

Hi Anonymous,

I'm so very sorry to hear about your friend my heart goes out to her. I can honestly say I've been in her shoes. I also went through fertility treatment and nothing then I gave up… but to our surprise I got pregnant a few months later (on our own). My pregnancy was coming along just fine then at 9 weeks I started bleeding and had a miscarriage at 10 weeks. I was beyond devastated and it did take me a while to get over my loss. My husband, family and friends helped me get through it by simply being there. Letting me cry and letting me go through the emotions I needed was very important and helped me heal. And all the things you suggested to do are wonderful ideas (cooking dinner, taking care of her other child, listening when she's ready, etc.). The littlest of things that others did for me during that time were very much appreciated. I know I didn't want to talk to anyone after the miscarriage – I needed time to let it sink in, so don't feel bad if she doesn't want to talk about it just yet, she will when she's ready.

In addition to the emotional roller coaster I carried a lot of guilt after the miscarriage and wondered – what did I do to cause this? Even though doctors told me I did nothing wrong and that the fetus was not healthy, I still felt like I could have done something better to save the baby. As the years have passed the guilt isn't there but I often wonder if I had done this maybe I'd have my baby. I don't think that every goes away.

The one thing that drove me crazy is when people told me…You got pregnant this means you can get pregnant again, you should start trying right away. It made me feel like the loss I was feeling was no big deal and I wasn't coping well. And sadly for us we haven't been able to get pregnant again and my miscarriage was in 2002.

You are an amazing friend for asking and reaching out to others for some suggestions. I hope this helps you in some way.

March 17, 2009 - 4:47pm
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