Saturday, April 13, 2013

rule no. 1: comfort in, dump out
Talking about the miscarriage has meant opening myself up for comment. Ninety-five percent of it has been comforting, even sometimes helpful. Talking about it and not suffering in silence has opened up the door for burden sharing in the form of flower deliveries, sympathy cards, hugs, milkshakes, cups of coffee, encouraging texts and emails. Sharing the intimate details allowed others to share their intimate details in moments of solidarity. I don't regret sharing about such an oddly taboo topic.

When I read this article in the LA Times sent to me by a friend who suffered from infertility for years, I found myself nodding emphatically. "When you are talking to a person in a ring smaller than yours, someone closer to the center of the crisis, the goal is to help. Listening is often more helpful than talking. But if you're going to open your mouth, ask yourself if what you are about to say is likely to provide comfort and support. If it isn't, don't say it."

Oh sister, preach it. Like I said, 95 percent of the comments and actions we've received are comforting, such as:
  • "I am sad with you."
  • "What can I do?"
  • "Here's some dinner for your fridge because I know you don't feel like cooking right now and a home cooked meal is going to sustain your body when your heart is hurting."
  • "We'll babysit so you two can have time together to grieve."
  • "Let me bring you junk food and sit and listen to you talk about how life is unfair."
  • Calling our baby by its name. Or even just acknowledging he or she is a baby.
  •  Listening. Holding. Hugging. Wiping tears away. Crying with me.
  • Texting two weeks later to let us know you haven't forgotten. Because we sure haven't.
  • Deliveries of flowers. Cards. Chocolate Milk.
The other five percent, I try to give grace knowing that it's hard to know what to say when others are grieving.  Especially for things like miscarriage. I've also found that when using the ring theory, my expectations are higher of those I place in the more center rings. When the outer ring people do more than I would ever have expected, the lack of support from the inner ring is more apparent and hurtful. That might be unfair. I am doing my very best to use these experiences to educate and show grace, rather than breed anger.

If you find yourself in any ring for someone going through a miscarriage, here is what was not helpful, at least to me:
  • "This reminds me of my pain/stress/grief when..."
  • "God doesn't give you anything you can't handle." Or similarly, "this was God's plan." This actually doesn't jive with my theology. I do think God knew this would happen and had the power to change it, and didn't. But I also don't think he brought my baby into this world to teach me a lesson or as part of some bigger plan. I think He can see the past, present and future and will use it for His glory.
  • "I know exactly how you feel."
  •  Not talking to me at all, like I have become the miscarriage. I also work, have a son, husband that I will be happy to talk about if you don't know what to say about the elephant in the room.
  • Looking for a reason why this happened. *Unless you have access to my medical chart.
Like the article said, I get it if my miscarriage makes you nervous about your pregnancy or makes you sad again about someone you've lost in the past. That's a totally normal response. 

Just dump it out, not in.

1 comment:

  1. Well said my friend. Man we all need to hear this & do better at comforting and dumping out.