If you find out that a friend or family member has had a miscarriage, what should you do? Many people feel like they should say or do something. You may genuinely hurt for them and want to help. Your intentions are good. But unfortunately not everyone chooses the right words to say and causes more harm than good. You need to understand that this is a very sensitive topic and the parents are hurting deeply. They wanted this baby but now it’s gone and that brings so much emotion and heartache. You can’t truly fathom what having a miscarriage is like and what it does to a person’s heart unless you have experienced it yourself. I don’t wish this upon you in the slightest but just know that as much as you may want to offer comfort and reassuring words, it will dim in comparison to someone who has been there, who truly understands. So if you know someone who has had a miscarriage and could use some encouragement, please direct them to this blog. I’m not saying that as a plug in; I just want all those who are grieving to be able to find some help and comfort from someone who has be there.
So what should you say and do for someone who has suffered a miscarriage? I will offer some suggestions.
WHAT TO SAY
1. “I’m sorry.”
You can express your condolences but keeping it short is usually better. Just saying, “I’m sorry,” can be enough.
2. “I’ll pray for you.”
Prayer is powerful and all those prayers that people offered up on my behalf is what helped me get through. Praying for someone is one of the most caring things you can do. Having people tell me that they had been praying for me was encouraging. That helped more than anything else they could say to me.
3. “I’m hurting with you.”
Saying something like this lets them know that you are acknowledging that this hurts and you are validating that it is hurt-worthy. And it tells them that you are bearing this sorrow with them.
WHAT TO DO
1. Offer to bring a meal.
I didn’t feel up to cooking during my miscarriage and grief and not many people will. Offer to bring a meal so that they don’t have to bother with shopping or cooking. It will take one thing off their plate that they don’t have to worry about.
2. Ask them if there is anything specific that you can do.
I had a friend offer to bring a meal or help in any way I needed so I asked her to help me clean my house. It needed a cleaning and I always feel good once my house is clean. So be open to whatever they may need from you. The goal is to be there for them and do whatever you can to lessen the burden.
WHAT NOT TO DO
1. Don’t have them hold your baby.
You may think that holding a baby will help but it won’t. It will only reinforce for them what they have lost.
2. Do not exclude them.
Don’t exclude them from gatherings that will have young children or pregnant women around but also understand that they may decline. It can be hard for people who have just gone through a miscarriage to be around babies and women who are pregnant but let them decide what they are comfortable with.
3. Don’t bother them with a lot of questions.
Allow them to talk and open up when they are ready. Some people may be ready to talk right away but others may need more time. Though talking things out can be very helpful and healthy, they need time and space to get to the point where they are ready to start healing.
WHAT NOT TO SAY
1. “There was something wrong with the baby so this is actually a good thing.”
No, it’s never a “good” thing to lose a child, even if there was something wrong. The parents are aware that something was wrong but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they lost a child that they loved and dreamed about.
2. “You’ll have another baby.”
This is not something the parents want to hear. Even if they do have another baby it will never replace the baby that they lost. They can look at the future with hope for another baby but it will never take away the fact that they lost this baby.
3. “Now wasn’t the right time.”
Parents don’t want to hear that now wasn’t the time for them to have a baby. This isn’t comforting and it doesn’t take away from the fact that they wanted this baby.
Basically, don’t say anything that would make the miscarriage seem like it’s not a loss and don’t try to put a positive spin on it. I know you may have good intentions but a miscarriage is not a positive thing; it is a loss of a life. Nothing you say can make it into something that it’s not. The best thing you can do is approach the parents with sensitivity for what they are going through, respect the way they chose to grieve, and be there for them as they desire. They do need support, love, and compassion. And they need to be reminded that God is still good. So bless them, encourage them, and give them grace. If you are there for them in their time of sorrow then look forward to being there for them in their time of rejoicing. For it will surely come.