I am sorry...Let me know if you need something....
Loss, grieving, miscarriage....These are things we don't want to talk about. When a person encounters it, his/her world is rocked. You try to navigate this unfamiliar experience and it can be so devastating and overwhelming. You then try to talk to other people to get guidance, but instead you hear the words, "I am sorry. Let me know if you need something."
In the past two weeks I have heard this phrase so often. I just smile and walk away. I think to myself, "If I knew what I needed I would tell you, but I am lost and don't know what help to request." I just want someone to help me feel better and to figure this out. The real problem is that most of the time I don't even know what words to say.
I think the problem is that people don't know what to do or say. They are scared of doing the wrong thing and not doing anything hurts just as badly. It send me the message that I am not part of society. That I need to be shunned. I already feel so mixed up that I don't need more messages that I am alone or not wanted. Truth is, I don't want to be with people either. I just need someone to sit in the puddle with me.
Can I share a few tips? Here are some don'ts....Don't suggest to someone that they need to go on medication. They are grieving. They are sad and need space and support to work through their feelings. They need to feel, not medicate. Don't tell them that they just need a better attitude. Believe me, if it was that simple of a fix, I would have already done that. I have had 11 miscarriages and each time it is hard. Grief comes and goes like waves of the sea. You never know when it will hit you and you never know how strong that wave will be. Don't tell them to be grateful. "At least you have some living kids." "At least you can have more kids." That is sympathy, not empathy and it distances people. Don't ask her what she needs. She is lost in emotions right now. Give her food, something to drink, a hug, and a listening ear. You don't need to fix her. Don't ask her if she is ok. Of course she is ok, but she is also not ok. Her world was just shattered and she is aching. She is struggling to find a new normal. She might look like she is well physically, but emotionally it is a long battle.
So what does support look like?Many people say that they don't know what to say so they just say nothing. Here's another idea. Say, "I don't know what to say, but I heard about your recent loss and wanted you to know that I am praying for you." Those simple words or text can lift up a mom who is feeling down.
What other things can you do? Send her a card in the mail and it does not have to be right away. Usually there is a rush of support the first couple of days, but then nothing after that. Moms struggle with their emotions and memories for years. Try sending her a card 2 weeks after her loss. She needs that gentle reminder that she is not forgotten. Sometimes the darkness is so overwhelming and suffocating. Sharing your light of peace, hope, and love can pierce her darkness and give her hope to live another day.
You can bring her flowers, make her a meal, buy her a quality handkerchief so that she does not get a scratchy nose from all the crying, give her a worry stone to rub when emotions are high, sit with her and just listen, make her a blanket with her baby's name on it, giver her a blanket to wrap herself in so that she feels your hugs always, give her Dandelion herbal tea which helps process her emotions, hug her, tell her you are there when she wants to reach out, quietly hold her hand, give her a stuffed animal to snuggle, or watch a movie with her. There are so many options. Pray about what to do. Have courage. Show her love. She will feel your love and remember how you made her feel.
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." -Maya Angelou
The main thing to remember is that she is sad and it is ok to be sad. The other thing to remember is that she is trying to find a new normal. She will have up days and down days. That is ok too. Give her space to feel and get her new feet underneath her. She feels like she was just punched to the ground and has no legs to stand. Remember her with a simple text or visit in the coming months and years. Realize that she is terrified of getting pregnant again, but hopes it will happen. She will always remember and never forget her baby. Her heart is changed forever. She keeps so much inside of her and she needs support to get the grief out. Don't judge her. Just be with her and hold her hand or laugh when she feels like laughing. We all just want to feel loved.
I am grateful for a God who listens to my prayers no matter how angry and hurt they are. I am grateful for those people who were courageous enough to write me a text, bring me meals, listen to my craziness, send me a card, bring me flowers, make me a scarf, hug me, share their own loss story with me, send me quotes, pray for me, and hold my hand while I cried. I am humbled that they were willing to sit in my puddle and grateful I allowed them to come onto my sacred ground. I will be forever imprinted and strengthened with their love.