I thought I would publish a few Do's and Don'ts from my personal experience. (Disclaimer: If you said or did any of the "Don'ts" know that I most likely don't even remember and I don't care. This was a new roller coaster for all of us. I wouldn't have known what to say either. Let's learn from this so we can be more sensitive towards others in the future. ALSO- Each girl is different. These are just the things that worked for me.)
- Say things like "I cannot even imagine." "Is there anything I can do?" "How can I pray for you?" "I am so sorry." "This sucks."
- Send cards, offer to bring meals (Logan had to cook for me for weeks b/c the last thing I felt like doing was being in the kitchen), bring by thoughtful gifts, flowers, call/ text, email, pedicures, movie night, etc. Let that person know that they are not alone and that people are supporting, caring, and loving them.
- Acknowledge the loss. Its the elephant in the room if you don't. Next time you see the person ask "How are you doing?" When the cards run dry and the emails stop coming, its hard to swallow that life moves on and people move on. It is nice to know that people acknowledge what you went through. Not every single time, but for awhile I think its important to check up on them.
- Ask how the husband is coping. Logan has a newfound appreciation for the GUYS who have to go through this. He said the women get all the support and attention and so often people forget to reach out and hug the man.
- For friends who hear the news, but find out THEY are pregnant! This was tough for my pregnant friends. I will tell you this: It is better to be kept in the loop, than not. It hurts 10x worse (even with good intentions) to be left out of that exciting news. If they are a close friend, there are NO bittersweet feelings. They are feelings of utmost joy and excitement... genuinely.
- For friends who are already pregnant - Same as above. Keep them in the loop concerning the sex of the baby, the names, the baby showers, the nursery progress. Use a certain level of sensitivity, but you should never feel guilty about having a successful pregnancy. It NEEDS to be and should be celebrated!
- Be sensitive (if you are pregnant) in how much you complain about your pregnancy. The aches, the pains, how big you are getting, your cankels, you are past your due date, you aren't sleeping, etc. There are girls who would literally kill to be 10 months pregnant, looking like a whale. I am one of them.
- Ask friends that you know have personally experienced a miscarriage to reach out to the hurting friend (if she is willing). I cannot stress enough how much more impactful the words are coming from the mouth of a girl who has walked through what you have. It was so nice to ask the random, "crazy" questions to someone other than a doctor with a medical opinion.
- Say things like "At least you know you can get pregnant." "You can always try again." "This was nature's way of taking care of an imperfect baby." While all these things are TRUE, it is not what you want to hear right away.
- The most hurtful one I heard was, "It wasn't even a real baby yet." I can't tell you how hard that was one to swallow because I totally disagreed. I am very pro-life and from my perspective, it is a baby once that fertilized egg implanted and I believe that my God knows him/ her FULLY.
- Downplay weird things that may be helping the person (Unless, of course... they are destructive). I was told that my scrapbook was maybe not a good idea because it would have me "wallowing" instead of moving forward when in fact, it did just the opposite. I could move forward BECAUSE I did the book. Just because someone copes differently than you would, doesn't mean it is unhealthy or wrong. Let the person do what is right for them. Naming the baby, having a memorial service, doing a book, or doing nothing. None of these things are silly or stupid. Whatever helps her find acceptance is the right thing to do and it will look different for each girl.
- Ask "When are you going to try again?" The last thing on my mind was the NEXT pregnancy. I needed time to deal with the loss. I wanted THAT baby, not ANOTHER baby.
- Pretend like you know how they are feeling if you haven't personally walked through it yourself.
- Compare. There is a difference in pointing the friend in the direction of another woman who has walked through a miscarriage, but to point out women who had later losses or stillborns and how much worse that was and "at least yours was earlier than theirs" in my mind downplays my loss. Yes ours was early on and for that I am grateful (I guess?), but I was still very attached and the loss was very hard. To talk about later losses as if they were so much harder invalidated my feelings over being heartbroken at "only" 8 weeks. ANY loss is a loss and they are ALL hard.
- Take it personally if the person does not call, write back, or reach out right away...if ever. The influx of support is AMAZING, but taking time to get back to every single person is a daunting and emotionally exhausting task.
I hope these were beneficial. If anyone has anything to add, I would love to hear it! Also if anyone ever has questions, I am clearly a wide open book at this point :)
I am SO glad you posted this - it is truly helpful to people who haven't been through this and don't know what to say. I know this advice is going to help me in the future. Thank you so much for being honest about that!!ReplyDelete
Abby, this is a beautiful post - you're right that this is new territory for women our age (ok, ok, I'm 31, but can I at least pretend to be in your age bracket? :) ) I can't believe I posted complaining about my cankles today (of all days), but know that I am sending prayers your way and hate so much that you had to go through this. Thank you for sharing, I think it's really important! Take care. xoxo.ReplyDelete
Haha Katie- NO worries! I thought it was hilarious :) PS you are STILL in this bracket b/c you are in "baby" phase so no pretending there!ReplyDelete
nice job abby. hug for logan.ReplyDelete