What words help you find comfort? (m/c & pg ment) *updated
Hi Ladies, a good friend of mine has recently had a miscarriage, it was a miracle pregnancy for them (long story), she was about 12 wks along. I am devastated for them. I myself had a miscarriage a few years ago, and I know the heartbreak and pain I felt, and I want to reach out to her and make sure I'm supporting her but I'd like some advice from all of you. My first concern is, I am currently pregnant, and I'm not sure if she's going to want to talk to me or be around me at all right now, it might be too hard. How can I let her know I understand if it's too hard for her to see me, but I still want to be here for her? I know everyone can greive in different ways, but was there anything specific someone said to you that really brought you comfort? I want to make sure I don't say the wrong thing.
**UPDATED WITH DRAFT OF EMAIL BELOW***
Last edited by Shella5478; 05-13-2008 at 11:46 PM.
Moderator of the pregnancy and infant loss support board
Does she know about your loss? If she does not...it would help her if you told her your story....
A few thoughts that come to mind...
1. Don't say you understand her loss, as you went through your own.. Every loss is different.... Saying that you can understand some of what she is going through, because of the loss that you had....may be a better way to put it...
2. Your current pregnancy? ....I am sure she may *fade away* from you for a while...I would def let her know that you understand completely if she decides to do this...That you love her, and will be there for her whenever she is emotionally ready to do so.
3. Maybe consider sending a card or email?? .... This may be all she can handle from you right now ...
I have a few links about what to say/not to say when one has suffered a loss...I know you have suffered a loss..That said..time goes by and we don't always remember what to say/not say...
I will look the links up and post a bit later..as my lo just got up.
For me, it's weird, I have a problem with some people being pg, and not with others. Then again, that could also be a timing thing - some days are better than others. Gee, that doesn't help you much...
It's hard, because everyone responds to grief differently. If anything, I'd just be open about her with everything and ask her if it bothers her to be around you or hear about your pg. I had a friend who went through infertility for well over 6 years and finally adopted a baby boy. She was THE most understanding and supportive person and really aware of how her and her baby affected those around her who were trying to get pg or who had suffered losses. After I had my m/c she emailed me saying that she totally understands if I don't want any "baby talk" or anything like that around me and to just let her know. Because I think we worry about how others won't understand if we are sensitive around babies or pregnant women. I think it might be a relief to your friend to know that you are aware.
I remember telling one woman about my m/c (she was the only one who asked and didn't know I had the loss), and I barely know her. After I told her, she felt REALLY bad, and I told her it's ok, I had to expect to get that question. But then a few minutes later she told me she had suffered a loss as well before and I almost felt a sigh of relief, like "you get it..." and felt an instant connection to her. After I talked to her, I really felt a lot better! I think being open is the best way to go myself... good luck, it's great of you to be so concerned about your friend.
Oh, and one more thing a friend said to me - was that she wasn't sure of the right thing to say, which is totally ok to admit!
yes....totally!!! i have had several people say to me, "i just don't know what to say." and, to me, that is perfect! i know they are thinking of me and concerned for me. people who just don't say anything, i assume don't care even if that is not the case at all. i would rather someone tell me they don't know what to say!
I have typed out an email to send to my friend. Does it sound okay? If you have any feedback on the wording or anything, if you think it's too long or whatever I appreciate your comments. Here is what I've got so far:
Debbie, Hey hun, how are you holding up? I am really sorry to hear about your loss. I have had a miscarriage before too, so I understand part of what you're going through. I know it's heartbreaking to find out that you are not pregnant anymore. It's hard to understand why it happened, what was the reason, maybe God just needed your baby as one of his angels.
I'm not sure if it will help you at all, but after I had my miscarriage, it did help (me) to hear other people's stories of their miscarriages. If you are not up for reading my story, please don't feel like you need to, but I wanted to offer it to you anyway. (If you want you can just stop reading now and I will understand). It was my first pregnancy. I had recently stopped taking birth control pills, and my cycle was adjusting and I was still a little irregular, so when I was late, I didn't think too much of it. I certainly didn't think I was pregnant. I did things pregnant women should not do (drank some alcohol, took some cold medication, etc). Two weeks later "the witch" still hadn't shown up, so I pee'd on a stick and was shocked to get a positive. I was on cloud 9! I was so excited to be pregnant, even if it was a little earlier than I expected I would conceive. Then at somewhere around 9-11 weeks (unsure since I had irregular cycle) I suddenly had bright red bleeding (lots) and a horrible cramp in my abdomen. I went to the ER, and soaked 3 pads in 2 hours in the waiting room. After about 6 hours, the bleeding and pain eased up. The next day they did an internal ultrasound and confirmed I had a miscarriage. I went through a wide range of emotions. After the doctor first confirmed that I'd had a miscarriage I sat in a corner and just sobbed. I was devastated. I called Pat and he came and picked me up from the hospital. He seemed a little indifferent to me, he gave me a hug and said he loved me, but he wasn't crying or anything, and when we got home he went to change the oil on his truck. I know now that that was his way of coping with his grief, but at the time, I felt very isolated, deserted, and it caused a distance between us that even now is an issue in our marriage (but my marriage is another story altogether). A few days later at work, a coworker commented on me taking a sick day and jokingly said, "oh, not feeling well, maybe you're pregnant" and I broke down in tears right there. Another friend of mine told me it was probably for the best because there was probably something wrong with the baby and this was natures way of taking care of it. That crushed me. I was so sad that I wasn't pregnant anymore, but I felt like I couldnt' share that with the people around me, that they just wouldn't understand because to them the pregnancy wasn't real yet, but it had been real for me, and my loss was very real.
I wanted another baby very badly, but we decided to wait 3 months before trying again. We had two reasons for doing this. First, I wanted to let my body heal completely from the m/c and do everything I could in those 3 months to get as healthy as possible for my next pregnancy. Second, I wanted to have 2 or 3 cycles so I could keep track of dates so I would know better for the next time when I was ovulating, when was the best time to conceive, and then when my expected due date would be. Five months after my miscarriage I became pregnant with Nolan. I still think about the baby I lost, and I still cry over it. I wonder what he would have been like (probably sounds dumb, but I'm convinced it was a boy). I'm sad that I never got to hold him, never got to watch him grow. But I believe that he is in heaven, and he is happy because he never knew any pain in this world, all he knows is the beauty and peace of heaven. And I know I loved him as much as I could have while he was with me.
I am really sorry for your loss. I'm not sure what else to say, and maybe I would be a better friend if I didnt say anything but rather just listened. Anyway that I can help you, I am here for you. If you want to talk, email or call me. If you don't want to talk, that's ok too. After my miscarriage I had a hard time being around other people who were pregnant, and I want to let you know its okay if you feel that way, just know that I am thinking about you and sending you ((BIG HUGS))!
Last edited by Shella5478; 05-13-2008 at 11:49 PM.
I think it's really lovely that you're going to so much effort for your friend -- you are a kind and compassionate friend.
Everyone's an individual so we can't really predict how Debbie will react should you give her this email. I know I personally would have REALLY appreciated it because I was so very lonely when I first m/c'd (Dec. 2002) -- I searched in my community, etc but didn't find anyone, no support group, etc for people like me. It wasn't until Apr 2006 that I stumbled across this board, and finally found 'sisterhood' in loss. One of the best things you can suggest to Debbie is that she 'have a lurk around' this board, and hopefully joins us too.
And I'm really glad that you've written in.
My feedback on your email is that it is largely wonderful. I especially like how you caution Debbie -- ahead of time -- that you're about to detail your story. I also really like how you empower her at the end -- letting her know that it's up to her, when and if she replies/ sees you. Pregnancy loss is such a powerless nightmare, that it's good to feel like you, once again, have some personal power back -- i.e. decision making. The respect you're showing Debbie is such a priceless gift, especially at this horrible time in her life.
So that's all really good. But what I honestly would change is:
1. take out the statement (first paragraph) of "maybe God needed your baby as one of his angels". I know you mean well, but it's easy to take that the wrong way.
2. that "it caused a distance between us that even now is an issue in our marriage" -- this is quite normal, but it might make her feel frightened -- she already feels so low, and this statement might cause her fear as well! Ooops!! For so many of us on this board, the whole process has actually drawn us closer to our DH's than ever before -- I really hope this happens for you too, one day. Relationships are work, but they can be so worth it!
That's all I would take out of your email, if I were you. But that's just my opinion -- we're all different. Maybe some other posters will have other suggestions than mine, and I would totally value them.
On a final note, I'd like to congratulate you on the birth of Nolan and on your current pregnancy and I wish you every happiness. I'm also very sorry for the loss of your baby a few years ago. Big hugs to you.
That sounds great. I wish I had such a good friend! I think the worst thing you could do is pretend that nothing ever happened and that everything is normal. Instead, you are going to the trouble of addressing her pain and grief. I also like the warning you give her before launching in to your story. She is lucky to have you!
Moderator of the pregnancy and infant loss support board
I am gonna echo what Nicole said....
A few additional thoughts...
Where you state that you are really sorry to hear of her loss?? I may add that you are *really sorry to hear that she lost her baby*...
To most that have suffered loss...It is very important to have that fact validated...
Where you talk about your decision to wait 3 month to ttc again?? This is true, that many doctors will suggest to wait 3 months...But in all honesty, the other two are for emotional healing, (I know this as most docs are brutally honest with me due to being the ripe old age of 43...no time for the emotional healing... ) unless one had a later loss...I may consider rewording that area....She may feel that you are suggesting in some way that she wait 3 months....Even though I know you are not!!