20 July 2014

Helping Someone Who's Been Through a Miscarriage

As a warning, this post will not be cheery, though hopefully it won't be too depressing either. I've talked about my miscarriages before (the count is currently up to three), but I was rather angry when I wrote that post. I was all over the place. Today I'll be better at keeping it together. Promise.

I'm supposed to be having a baby this week. July 24th was the official due date for my pregnancy that went the farthest, if that makes sense. My mother's birthday is the 23rd, and she was thrilled when we'd told her. But now I'm sitting here months later with a very empty belly. And I'm sad. I'm no longer hysterically sad each time I try to talk about it, and I can hold other people's babies without bursting into tears as soon as I find a private place. Yet there's a little broken part of me that's just not getting better.

Like all losses, it's just something I'll have to learn to live with.


Don't worry, I'm not depressed. I'm just missing my babies. I wanted and prayed and hoped for them, all three. I thought that getting immediately pregnant after my first chemical pregnancy would make me feel better and make the first loss disappear, but it didn't. It just became a brand new loss, with its own difficulties and hurt feelings.

To tell you the truth, more people knew about the second loss than I would have liked. We had to tell all of Laurent's family that I was pregnant, because a lot of French Christmas food is completely off limits for pregnant women, and it would have been rude for me to turn it down otherwise.  After we'd heard that the baby's heart had stopped beating, when I called my boss to tell her that I needed work off because I was having a D&C, she announced it to everyone. Everyone had an opinion or advice to give. But let me tell you, some people's "good intentions" were absolutely heartbreaking.

If I could give people one piece of advice when talking to friend who's gone through a loss, it would be to ask yourself this question before giving your advice: Would you say that to a friend whose husband, or whose pet just died?

You would obviously never tell a friend, "Why are you so sad? If you had a husband once, you can find one again. Think of all those women who never get married! You're so lucky!" OR "But you're pretty! You don't look like the type of woman who would lose a husband." OR "It's probably because you were so stressed. Maybe if you'd just calmed down a bit you wouldn't have lost your husband."

Yet people think it's perfectly fine to say these types of things to someone who's lost a baby.

Whether you understand it or not, a miscarriage is a very real loss, and everyone experiences it differently. You don't get to decide how valid her pregnancy was, or decide how sad she should be feeling. Sometimes, even she doesn't get to decide. A lot of women are surprised by their reactions, which can range from happy relief to severe depression that requires professional assistance. Furthermore, if you're not her doctor, your medical advice is not welcome, and quite possibly dangerous, no matter how good your intentions are.


Your job is to listen, and maybe invite her out for pedicures and lunch.
Let her know that you're there and you love her.
That's it.


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