My throat tightened and tears sprang to my eyes. My husband squeezed my hand. I fought hard to breathe as the world started spinning. There was no heartbeat and the inescapable reality hit me hard. I was having a miscarriage. It was so unexpected; like someone had just punched me in the gut. I felt instantly weak and broken. I just wanted out. Out of the ultrasound room, out of the hospital, out of this moment. Everything seemed insurmountable.
In the aftermath, I was lucky. I had a few close friends who knew exactly what to say to me after my miscarriage. Their words of encouragement carried me through the hard days, weeks, and months of sadness. Of all the things I heard from friends, there were a few in particular that made the greatest impact. Five phrases that were comforting, and one that should not be said.
“It’s Not your fault.”
Although I knew in my head that this was true, my heart was heavy with guilt. I worried that I had done something wrong. My fear was that I had somehow caused the miscarriage. I discovered that this was something I needed to be told several times to combat my fear. I so appreciate the friends who reminded me it wasn’t my fault over and over again.
“How can I help?”
I don’t really like asking for help, so I continue to be grateful for those friends who offered before I asked. A couple of friends surprised me by bringing over dinner for our family. Friends offered to watch my kids while I went to follow-up doctor appointments. Several asked sincerely to pray for me. The offers of help did more than just the service they provided; they reminded me I wasn’t alone, and it was such a comfort to me.
“You will get through this!”
I needed to hear this more than once some days. A few really close friends would reassure me of this every time I talked to them. It was such an encouragement when they reminded me of my own inner strength. I needed to remember who I was and what I was capable of.
“Have you thought about a name for the baby?”
I would have never thought of this one before I had my miscarriage; it sounds like a counter-intuitive question really. But when my friend asked it I immediately felt comforted and understood. I had thought of a name for the baby, but it felt too weird to tell anyone that. I didn’t even really know the gender. This friend understood that the baby was a real person to me, probably because she had also had a miscarriage. Naming my unborn child had brought me a great deal of peace and closure. Telling a few others her name helped me to work through my grief in a more concrete way. This went a long way toward my healing process.
“I’m here for you.”
A miscarriage is a very private loss, most people don’t know it happened. It’s very easy to feel like you’re alone in the pain. Having friends reassure me that they were available and thinking of me was really encouraging. It meant a lot to hear this, even if it was only via a quick text or a simple Facebook message. If you don’t know what else to say, this is the best place to start.
And the one thing that should never be said to someone after a miscarriage is…
“Everything happens for a reason.”
I have discovered no matter how sincere you are when you say this, somehow it always ends up sounding dismissive. Even though I personally do believe that everything does happen for a reason, I still think this should never be said to someone who is grieving. It’s not a comfort, rather it makes one want to shake their fist at the heavens. Trust me. Just don’t say this.