Miscarriage is an easy word to write. It is not however, easy to talk about. I’m sure as I continue typing away at this I will shed lots of tears and reopen the wounds of my heart that have (sort of) healed…well, as much as they can. But I’ll push forward because it happens, and we must talk about it. We should talk about it because the women and families left scarred from the loss of hope are suffering. They’re sad, they’re heartbroken, and we need to take care of each other.
Most of the women I know do not speak of their miscarriages until way after it has taken place. They share about it in whispers, with close friends, either as an anecdote. Typically, someone breaks the ice by bringing up their own miscarriage of the one of a close family member/friend, and then one after another women begin to share. It’s rarely brought up in a forthcoming “hey, look what happened to me” type of way.
Pre-miscarriage this made absolutely no sense to me. I wondered how on earth any women could feel embarrassed by something like this. I thought it SHOULD be talked about, it happens to so many women, we should be talking about it the way we talk about periods, cramps, stupid men who don’t “get it,” etc.
Then I had one myself. Actually, I had two. One in a very public setting, the other in the privacy of my own home. Both times, I wanted to crawl into the deepest darkest hole and disappear.
I was sad. I was scared. It felt like my heart had been ripped out of me and flushed down the toilet along with the precious angel I lost.
It doesn’t matter how small the baby is, 4 weeks, 10 weeks, 12, whatever the size… it is a loss. It is painful (physically and emotionally and mentally painful). And no matter what, no matter the woman, we will first try to disappear. Then dissolve the problem. Minimize it. Pretend like it wasn’t truly a loss, or something to grieve.
So, as a friend or family member of someone who has suffered this type of loss, here’s a small guide on what to do and what not to do.
If your homegirl announced she was preggo and was posting or texting daily or weekly updates, like how she thinks she felt a kick (even though It was probably just gas), or how excited she is and it all of a sudden stops…check on her. Send a text, give her a call.
Perhaps she’s just fine, and hasn’t posted anything cause she lost her phone.
Or maybe she got some bad news at the doctor and has had or is at risk of something happening to her/the baby.
Or perhaps she was forthcoming with the info and decided to do a mass post on Facebook to let everyone know. Don’t just comment, send a message, a text, or better yet flowers of an edible arrangement. Show her you care…she needs to be showered with love.
DON’T tell her to think of the child(ren) she already has.
You’re coming from a good place, but that phrase is painful. Because (if it was a wanted pregnancy) she was already in love with that particular baby. That baby had already began taking up space in her heart. Help her grieve that baby.
DON’T ignore when she deflects or deflates.
This is for those friends/family member you’re real close with. The ones you really know. Don’t let them blow it off. It will catch up to them later, and the grieving process could be much worse if they try to shove it under the rug. Call her out and et her know it’s OK to acknowledge it for what it truly is.
Let her cry.
She needs a cry. It’s ok to be a llorona sometimes. Hand her every last tissue out of the box. Hold her as she sobs. Tell her you’re sorry. Don’t try to fix it. Bring over ice cream, her favorite movie and sit with her.
Take her out to eat, or for a walk. Let her choose what to do but let her know you’re there. It will mean so much. She may put up a front or genuinely want to be alone, but to know she has someone there in spirit with her is enough to help her through it.
If you have to, intervene.
I pushed a lot of people away when I miscarried. I felt like I was made to be a spectacle (when it happened in the public setting) so I wanted to be a complete shut in unless it was work related. But after a while, I even stopped talking to my husband. And he stepped in and called me out. So I had to crawl out of that deep dark space with only him to help pull me out. I wish I had reach out to more friends for help, or had someone notice. But that’s the trouble with deflating, deflecting, and not sharing…no one knew I needed help.
It wasn’t until I started opening up and telling others about what happened, how it happened, cried about it and laughed about it, that I felt like I truly started to heal. It felt foreign to me to talk about something so sad…but there’s something familiar about it when the person across form you has also gone through it and can relate.
Miscarriages happen. More often than you think. So ladies, don’t be afraid to share your story, and amig@s, don’t be afraid to listen. Maybe you’ll be uncomfortable for a moment, but it’s not about you…and it’s nothing compared to what she’s feeling.