How do you help when someone has a miscarriage? This support for pregnancy loss is from a mother of two who had two miscarriages. She shares some “do’s” and “don’t’s” that will help you help someone who had a miscarriage…and it will help you if you yourself need support for pregnancy loss.
“It was my very first pregnancy, and my first loss,” says Karen Plumley. “It took me eight years of marriage to get up the courage to become a mother, and all too soon, it was over.”
To learn more about coping with a miscarriage, read I Never Held You: Miscarriage, Grief, Healing and Recovery. It’s a wonderful source of support.
And, here is Karen’s story of her miscarriage, plus tips for helping someone cope after pregnancy loss…
How to Help When Someone Has a Miscarriage or Pregnancy Loss
If you know a friend or a loved one who recently experienced a devastating loss, there are many ways to support her. There are also a few comments that she may not want to hear.
When someone has a miscarriage, do:
- Send a card or short note expressing your sorrow.
- Wait at least a week before calling.
- Offer to watch siblings.
- Suggest a girls’ night out movie, just the two of you.
- Indicate that you are there to listen and offer emotional support whenever needed.
- Share a personal story of loss.
When someone has a miscarriage, do not:
- Start a group collection at work or among family members.
- Say, “It’s for the best” or “It’s God’s will”.
- Ask when or if she plans to try again.
- Give advice on how to go forward unless asked.
- Buy impersonal gifts.
- Gossip to other friends or family.
For more help with pregnancy loss, read Miscarriage Support – 7 Tips for Coping With a Miscarriage.
You may also want to read I’m Scared I’ll Never Get Pregnant – Coping With Fertility Fears.
Here is Karen Plumley’s story about her two miscarriages…
by Karen Plumley
On January 8, 1999, I wrote an entry in my journal to my unborn baby that her heart began beating. I did not realize at that moment that less than one week later my hopes and dreams would be shattered. It was my very first pregnancy, and my first loss. It took me eight years of marriage to get up the courage to become a mother, and all too soon, it was over. No picking names, no clothes or toy shopping, no birthing classes or showers would be happening for us. I sat in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, and watched as all of the other moms came and went with their huge bellies and glowing faces. I was thinking then that I must be the only one losing my baby. Why is this happening to us, to me? Did I do something wrong? Will I ever be able to have children? For so long I didn’t want to have them, and at that moment the grim reality might have been that I actually could not. More so than at any other time in my life, I felt like a complete failure: helpless and hopeless to stop this terrible thing from happening.
My First Pregnancy
When I first got pregnant, I told everyone. And they, in turn, told everyone else. As a result, I would have to go through the nasty business of telling everyone that it wasn’t meant to be. A change happened in me during this time, and I knew that my life as I once knew it was gone forever. I was experiencing guilt and I didn’t even have any children yet. The simplest of tasks became an ordeal. Grocery shopping always ended in tears: seeing moms with their babies at the store always did me in. Watching TV and seeing a diaper commercial was tough. The profound sadness I felt cannot be measured or explained. But, over time, I discovered that it could be shared. Slowly, as I began to open up to people, I also simultaneously realized that so many other moms have experienced miscarriage as well. I was really surprised to find this out and wondered how I was oblivious to this reality. I don’t know why I was so shocked; I certainly had trouble talking about it myself. People at work whom I knew for years, my hairdresser who had been my hairdresser since I was in high school, a neighbor, even my own sister-in-law shared their terrible experiences with me and I slowly began to regain myself, and feel better in the knowledge that I was not alone.
My Second Pregnancy After the Miscarriage
When I became pregnant for the second time 4 months later, things were much different. In another example of how things had changed, I could not enjoy a carefree pregnancy. I was not fluttering about like a bee and perky. I was hesitant, and scared. My husband and I didn’t tell a soul until I was well into my fifth month. Every time I went to the bathroom, I was worried that I might find spots of blood. And I did, because I had spotting with all of my pregnancies. But by some grace, we made it through to the end. And now, I have two children, even though I suffered through two miscarriages to get there. I’m thankful every day. I do not wish this ordeal upon anyone, but I’m oddly grateful to the women I know that did have miscarriages and were kind enough to talk to me about it. Without them I don’t know if I would have been brave enough to try again.
Do you have any thoughts or questions on pregnancy loss, or helping when someone has a miscarriage? Please comment below…
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Karen Plumley is a freelance writer and mother of two from New Hampshire.