I just learned that a friend has miscarried. She never told me she was pregnant, but she didn't hid the fact that she miscarried--she was supposed to come to a girls' night out and she sent a message through another friend that she wouldn't be there due to her miscarrying. I'm not sure what to do. Do i call and offer my condolences despite her never announcing the pregnancy? She's a friend in my circle, but not someone I would normally pick up the phone and call (or even text). But of course I feel terribly for her.
Hi Katie. As someone who has suffered two miscarriages, the best advice I can give is to do whatever your heart leads you to do. People rarely respond badly to condolences that are sincerely offered. For myself, this loss was as devastating as that of any other family member. In some ways worse, because you have lost a loved one you never got the chance to meet. Since you aren't really close, perhaps a card that says you are thinking of her in her time of loss would be appropriate. I can be more specific about things NOT to say. Don't say "Oh, you can get pregnant again." or "Maybe it's for the best, there must have been something wrong." Miscarriage is devastating, and hearing things like that only makes it worse. I have said over and over that one of the issues with this is that our society has no recognized etiquette for it. We have no ceremony of mourning, no rituals that are expected and accepted. On the contrary, for generations miscarriage has been hushed up, hidden, and those who experience it often feel guilty - as though they have done something wrong.
I hope I haven't clouded the issue for you even more. For my own part, the things that helped were friends who hugged me, said "I'm so sorry" and understood that I was heartbroken. I was also surprised how many shared stories of their own miscarriage losses.
Lastly, there some great online support groups for women who have suffered this loss. The one that helped me most was on this website: www.dailystrength.org.
God bless you for wanting to help your friend.
Bevy, I am so sorry for your losses. Thank you for your very heartfelt reply. I never thought about the lack of acknowledgment in our society for miscarriage, but you're absolutely right. Thank you for posting and sharing the support website!
This is a delicate situation to handle. When I had my miscarriage, lots of innocent phrases would set me off. Things like "Its all in God's plans," made me want to sock the person who said it. "Oh don't worry, at least you know you can get pregnant," also evoked upset. A hug and an "I'm so sorry," like Bevy said would probably be best. If you feel like you can, just offer a shoulder to cry on. Don't try to relate, right after a miscarriage, you aren't always looking for someone to relate to you, sometimes you just feel bad and need someone to listen.
Thank you for your response, and I'm so sorry for your loss. I think I am often quick to try to relate so I appreciate your advice that maybe it's not necessary or even wanted! I will reach out to my friend and just let her know I am here for her.
Hannahsmom, I'm so sorry for your loss, I can't imagine the pain. I know I surely said some of these less than sympathetic-sounding things to a friend years ago when she miscarried--I didn't have a child yet or have any concept of what it must feel like to lose a baby, I was just insensitive. I feel now that I should go back and apologize to her! Thank you for your response.
I understand the pain of miscarriage - we lost a baby between our other 2 but I HATE it when people say "I know how you're feeling." Even if they have had a miscarriage everyone handles loss differently and everyone's story is different. Some people don't find out they are pregnant till they are miscarrying and others (like myself) knew the moment we got pregnant and knew something was different/wrong from the beginning.
Personally, we waited until we were pregnant again with our next baby before we told anyone but our parents about our loss. I hate people seeing me cry or seeing me differently. So many people don't know how to treat someone who has lost a child. If we would have told people immediately though I would have appreciated getting cards. I'm not a fan of the phone or of someone coming over to show their condolences - I'm just not into people seeing my emotions I guess.
A card...if you ask me...says you are thinking of them and have sympathy without making them open up to you if they don't want to.
One of the worst things you can do is act like nothing is wrong or ignoring that person and pretend that it's no big deal. Send a simple "We're thinking of you" card or something. Easy and special.
Thank you. I'll follow your advice and send a card, that way she knows I am thinking of her and she can contact me if she wants to. I'm very sorry for your loss.
I think a card is a wonderful idea... only b/c any other form of communication she may feel like she needs to respond or explain herself, and since this is such a delicate subject she may not want to respond to every one. A card is a great way to express you are thinking about her w/ out her feeling like she needs to reply back.