I’ve watched loved ones walk through extreme grief, so I felt like I had a pretty good idea of how to show love to someone walking through it. But you always gain a better understanding once you walk through it on your own. This isn’t one of those posts where I tell you all the things you need to avoid saying, or not do, so as not to upset your friend. Because really, I knew that people around me were trying their best to show me love. And I understood.
But we all want to love people well. Based on my own experience with having a miscarriage, here are some ways to love on a mom after a miscarriage:
1. Tell her you love her, but don’t expect anything in return.
Walking through grief can be overwhelming, especially in the beginning as waves of emotions toss you around. As soon as I told friends and family, the calls and texts started to flood in. And I couldn’t bear to talk to anybody. Not a one. But just having them reach out to me in my time of personal crisis helped me to feel supported. Knowing I was prayed for got me through those fits of tears. It reminded me that I wasn’t alone.
Give her room to be a lousy friend. She’ll come back when she’s ready.
2. Share your own story.
If you’ve had a miscarriage, share your story of how you grieved. One of my friends texted me almost every day and would tell me the things that she grieved over. Many were the exact same things I was crying over. I wondered if my baby was a boy or a girl. I was heartbroken that he didn’t have a name (so I gave him a name). I longed to hold him in my arms. I missed the feeling that my body was carrying life. I began to dread what would happen next March when my due date comes and goes.
Sharing your story gives your friend the freedom to share hers. Don’t share the sugar-coated version, but be real. And listen. You might become a safe person to confide in.
3. Acknowledge the loss, but don’t worry about what you say.
My favorite response was from someone at work who just hugged me and said, “It sucks.” Because you know what? IT ROYALLY SUCKS. So just say it like it is. I didn’t need to hear words of wisdom or have someone make it better. I just needed to hear people say they loved me and they loved my baby and then give me room to put on my tough face to get through the outing. I didn’t want to cry on any shoulders in public. But a quick acknowledgement and a “How are you doing?” helped my heart. Because it was still a big deal to me. The biggest deal.
4. Pray. Pray. Pray.
When you’re hurting the most, sometimes it’s hard to know what to pray for. There just aren’t enough words. Or energy. Or tears. And that’s the time when you need other people to pray on your behalf – to know that you’re surrounded by people passionately crying out to God for you. So pray for your friend who is hurting, then shoot her a quick text message or drop her a note in the mail and let her know what you prayed.
Friends who have experienced a miscarriage – what other ways were you loved and cared for? I’d love to hear from you!