Death Before Birth: Helping Others; What NOT to Say…)
Photo by kudomomo
Do you know someone who has experienced a miscarriage? What do you say? How do you help and show you care?
The answer really depends on the person and the relationship you have with them. Life as Mom dealt with this topic this spring but I wanted to share with you from my experience in being the one going through it as well as being the friend holding the hand of a dear someone going through it.
Things that May Help:
- Ask if she would like to talk about it. On the talking end - I wanted to talk about it. It helped me to share the story, to know others cared, to help others understand how badly I was hurting. On the listening end – try to just listen. After she has shared her story, she may be interested to hear your experiences but let her talk and share first!
- If you don’t know what to say, say that. “I don’t know what to say, but I care.”
- Pray for her!
- Encourage her to seek the Lord. While we need to be careful that we don’t use the phrase “Pray about it” flippantly, it is also vital to remember who the ultimate Comforter is! Help her to remember that. If she doesn’t know the Lord, and she is receptive, now may be a great opportunity to share the gospel with her.
- Ask her if she would like to get out, a walk, coffee, dessert. Maybe she doesn’t, but maybe she does. Everyone is different. The day after we lost Isaiah, Scott took me out to a chocolate factory. It was good to get out. She may not feel like facing the world and that is OK too.
- Just sit with her. Maybe she doesn’t want to talk or do anything but it helps to have someone there. Scott and I sat in the same room and read our own books. It was comforting to know he was there.
- Offer practical help. Cleaning, meals, childcare, errands. Your offer may be declined, but then it may be just what she needs!
- If you are pregnant, have children, or a new baby, don’t be apologetic for that. Children are a blessing! But at the same time, be sensitive! If you run into her at the grocery store, it will make it very awkward if you are trying to avoid her or try to hide your children behind the banana display. But don’t automatically expect her to come to a baby shower. This is a delicate issue and again it depends on the woman and your relationship with her!
- Allow her to cry and be herself and let her know that it is OK.
Things to Not Say:
Remember that anything you say should only be to encourage, help and comfort. If your words don’t fall into those two categories, now is not the time to say them.
“Be thankful for the children you have.” While she may have children already, grieving a lost baby does not mean she isn’t thankful for the children she has!
“There will be other babies or you can always have more”. Each life is precious and irreplaceable. There may be other babies but you will never have THAT baby on this side of heaven.
“It was for the best”. While I believe in a sovereign God, who wants only the best for me, this glib response isn’t something that I was particularly helpful at the time!
“There was obviously something wrong with the baby.” While that may be true, it wasn’t something that caused me great comfort to hear. Regardless of what was wrong with my sweet baby, had the Lord allowed me to keep Isaiah, I would have loved him!
“You need to move on with life.” Grief and mourning take time. Each will heal at her own pace. If a woman is able to deal and accept and move on with life with in a few days, it doesn’t make her a bad person. If it takes her much longer, that is fine too. There is no right amount of time. Give her all that she needs! That being said, if she is neglecting herself or her family, gently encourage her.
“At least it happened now (or early).” There is never a good time to lose a baby. Yes, maybe it is less physically traumatic to lose your baby at 12 weeks than 32 weeks or after they are born but you know the result is the same. You’ve lost your child. It’s never a good time so don’t say it because it really doesn’t help.
“I knew you shouldn’t have ____”. The poor woman is probably battling all sorts of false guilt already (I know I was!). Maybe you feel that way but keep it to yourself.
“Maybe God is punishing you” or “Do you have sin in your life?”. God is a loving God. He is also a just God and therefore it is important to have a healthy fear of Him. That being said, I don’t believe that God punishes people with miscarriages. If that were the case, there should and would be a lot more. I was certain that God was punishing me but have come to the realization that it was anger and hurt that made me think that. I believe that miscarriages are a part of our fallen world the same as sickness and diseases. They were not a part of God’s perfect plan but He can use them for good and to accomplish things in our lives if we allow Him too. I’m not a pastor, or a scholar and I don’t have all the answers. These are just my thoughts.
And this is the end of Isaiah’s story and my thoughts on Miscarriage. Thank you all for joining me!
- Related Posts: Miscarriage Basics, Isaiah’s Story Part I and Isaiah’s Part II and Part III, The Good Things, The Grief Process and Coping and Survival
- Still to Come: Chloe’s Birth Story, John’s Birth Story and Why a Midwife, Why a Home Birth?
- This post links to Family Friday with Homemaker Barbi