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.
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.
Just dump it out, not in.