One in four women will experience a miscarriage in their lifetime. No one wants to be part of that 25 percent. But two years ago, I became part of that percentage.
Losing our baby was truly heart-shattering. After nearly three months of pregnancy, I was devastatingly NOT pregnant.
I spent weeks holed up at home, experiencing physical and emotional pain. I battled grief and guilt and anger. I worried that I would never have another baby. I was sure that there was something wrong with me. I sobbed in the shower and truly believed I would NEVER be normal again.
How could I be? I had lost someone so important to me. It felt like part of my family’s future had been ripped away from me without my consent.
But I also had an amazing four-year-old son, a rock-solid husband, and family and friends who loved me more than I deserved. And they rallied around me. And over time, I found my way back to my new normal. But it only happened with support, time and grace.
When I lost my sweet baby, no one knew what to do or say. No one knew what to ask or not ask.
That was okay.
Let me say that again for the back of the room.
It is okay to not know what to do or say when your friend loses her baby.
But if you are in a similar position – feeling helpless and wanting to show your love and support for a friend or family member who has lost a precious child – here are a few things that really touched my heart during that time. (Please note: Every mom grieves differently. Please keep in mind that these are personal to me. You know your friend best. Trust your gut.)
If you asked me during that time, I would tell you I was fine. But I wasn’t fine.
So that’s why it was so important to have friends who literally showed up. I had friends who showed up at my door with a hug and a casserole. Friends who never stopped checking in, even as the days turned to weeks and months. Friends who cried with me and prayed with me and just sat with me in silence. Friends who sent cards with the most incredible words that made me feel less alone. Friends who listened and nodded as I told them I would never be okay again.
And most importantly, friends who gently reminded me that I would be okay again.
You can totally be a good friend without bringing food. But there’s something about a meal that brings so much comfort.
You don’t have to slave over a lasagna. Pick up a pizza. Pick up a frozen casserole from the grocery store. Pick up a tub of fried chicken. Pick up donuts. Literally, you can pick up anything and it will mean a lot. It meant a lot to me. And probably to my family who may not have eaten without the help from my friends.
It’s common practice to bring meals after you have a baby, but it was also so comforting to have meals while grieving the loss of our baby.
My wonderful tribe also delivered a package of cookies and flowers and takeout gift cards and it was the most thoughtful delivery I’ve ever received.
Truly. If all else fails, show up and bring food. And finally …
Before I went through a miscarriage, I didn’t really understand how it sticks with you. I still think of our baby often. I still see children about the same age as our baby and feel a gut punch. It’s a smaller gut punch today. But it’s still there.
And as a friend, you can show your love by never forgetting that baby either. And you can also remind your friend that there’s no timeline for grief. That it’s okay to grieve, even weeks, months or years later.
I had a friend send flowers on my due date later that year. I had several friends send notes or light a candle for my baby during Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. It always lifts my spirits to know that I’m not the only person who remembers our sweet baby who left too soon.
The truth – the way I was loved and lifted up during this time has shaped the woman I am today.
And you’d best believe that I hope I can share that love with other moms who are going through what I did. I’ll be there, crying with you and carrying a casserole in my arms.
October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. If you have lost a child, you are not alone. And if you have a friend who has experienced a miscarriage or infant loss, please take a moment to reach out and let her know you care.