One of the things I have noticed from having gone through tremendous loss is that people will often say something along the lines of "I just don't know what to say". I sometimes wonder how many people don't reach out for that very reason. It’s very understandable. We don’t have all the answers. Unthinkable things happen all the time. And though miscarriage happens so much more often than many realize, the fact remains, many have never experienced it. The whole situation is sad, and uncomfortable, and on top of that we all handle loss so differently.
What to say (or not say) to someone who has just had a miscarriage…
It's okay if you don’t know what to say. Really, it's okay. We don't expect anything. We don't expect profound words on the situation or perfect words of encouragement. We don't expect it and honestly, we don't need it.
We don't need you to try and understand why these things have happened. Or try to explain why it happened. Never start off a sentence with “at least” or “you can always” or say “it’ll happen when the time is right”. We also don't need Christian words about God's will or God's timing. Personally, in the years of loss and struggle that my husband and I have gone through, those "Christian" words were often the most hurtful or painful to hear. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the prayers and if you are a praying kind of person, please keep it up. But we don't need to hear reasons why our losses might have happened or that God has a plan in all of this.
Here's what we do need...
To know that we are not alone. That you care. That you are thinking about us. That you are here if we need anything yet also understanding and patient when we don’t necessarily know what we need. When one of my losses left me stuck on the couch for over a week, people brought us meals and I remember being so grateful. And I always knew that if at any point we needed something, we had so many people that would be there in a heartbeat. That’s what we need.
Don’t forget the men…
The other thing I would encourage is to not forget about the dads. They not only are experiencing a loss, but they have to watch their wife or girlfriend hurt and be strong for them. Many times, they still have to go to work and are hardly asked if they are okay. Just because it wasn’t his body doesn’t matter. It was his baby too. Maybe emotional connections are different, but he still matters. His feelings still matter. Don’t forget to check on them too or make a point to acknowledge them.
I feel like I could go on and on about how to support people as they are going through devastating loss. I could probably write a book about it. For now, these things will go a long way in making a difference.
So, if you are struggling to know what to say to someone who's going through something difficult... it's okay. Just let them know you're there. You see them, their struggles, their hurts. There are no words for you to make it better, but they know you are there, and you love them. That's enough.
I hope that this helps in some way. Do you have any thoughts or comments you would like to share about this? Feel free to comment below. And if you, yourself are going through a difficult time and would like to talk to me privately, feel free to email me at email@example.com.