The last two days we have had Tricia share her story about the loss of her baby and her ministry. You can find the links to these two posts at the bottom of this page.
I asked Tricia to share with us What to say and Not to say when someone has a miscarriage.
I had a miscarriage myself and I really agree with everything she advices.
It’s really hard to know how to be there for someone or what to say. Hopefully you too will find her advice helpful. Please share this post with others. It really is not something that people talk about. And it really does need to be discussed.
Everyone handles grief in a different way. This simple fact makes it nearly impossible to know what to say when someone experiences a miscarriage. Well-meaning people tend to say things like, “God has a plan,” “Everything happens for a reason,” “I know how difficult this must be,” or “I can only imagine what you are going through.” The first two comments mean basically that same thing and are not helpful at all, in my opinion, to the majority of women. The second two are down-right frustrating. One, if you haven’t suffered through the loss of a pregnancy, you have absolutely no idea how difficult the grief process is. And two, you might be able to imagine the pain and grief, but your imagined feelings aren’t really going to comfort most women.
I believe that all four of these comments are said mainly to relieve the discomfort of those who speak them, even if that relief is subconscious. We want to comfort others when they are hurting, but that is not always possible. Society doesn’t like to be sad, frightened, uncomfortable, or nervous. We will do just about anything to avoid those feelings or to relieve them.
While there is no one absolutely correct thing to say, I do have some suggestions. These are from my own experience and some may disagree with them. In my opinion, there are two options when expressing your concern and sympathy to a woman who has lost a child.
The first option should only be used if you have experienced a miscarriage yourself. Open up to her, even if you do not know her well. Tell her that you have been through a similar experience. Let her know that you are available if she needs to talk. Offer to help her in any way she needs. The most important thing here is to let her know that she is not alone. Nothing you say can comfort her and make her pain go away. You know this…you’ve been there. So, just be there for her as best you can.
The second option is for those who have not personally experienced a miscarriage and is very simple. Let her know that you care about her and that you are available to help her if she needs something. The less you say the better. It will help her to know that you are thinking about her and her family, but shouldn’t make her uncomfortable. She doesn’t need anything more than that, unless she specifically asks for it. Listen to her if she wants to talk to you about what has happened, but don’t offer advice unless she asks you for it. Something else to keep in mind, especially if you do not know her very well, is that she is fragile and will be for a long time. The worst time to say something to her is out in public. She may feel that she’s barely holding it together, and you don’t want to be the one responsible for shattering that hard won togetherness. Don’t go out of your way to seek her out for the sole purpose of expressing your condolences. Sending a card is an excellent option for someone that you do not know well. It lets her know that you are thinking about her but allows her to approach you if she wants to do so.
Something else to consider is the religious aspect. Those who are personally devout may feel an intense desire to console someone by using their own faith. Those who are not very religious may offer to pray for the family even though that is not something that they would normally do. If you aren’t religious, simply say, “My thoughts are with you.” Don’t offer to do something that is out of character for you. If you are religious, I think it is fine to tell someone that you will pray for them, but leave it at that. Faith is a very personal topic. She may be angry with God, have lost her faith, or not have been religious to begin with.
Above all else, remember that this is not about YOU; it is about HER and her family. Just be there for her in a simple and quiet way. She will appreciate your company and knowing that you care for her. If you have suffered through a miscarriage yourself, she will take some comfort in knowing that she is not alone.
posts from the last two days about Tricia