Friday, July 3, 2015

How to Help a Friend Through Pregnancy Loss

I thought I'd share today how I have experienced comfort and encouragement through my friends and family during pregnancy loss.  Everyone is different so I know that these may not apply for everyone, but here is a short list of do's and don't according to Jess. ;)

Do: Ask me how I'm doing
I think that a good portion of the grieving process for me involves processing my feelings out loud to someone.  If you have the time (and energy) to hear an honest answer about the emotions and thoughts I'm having on that particular day, it can be very helpful to know that you are willing to talk to me about it and maybe even cry with me. However...

Don't: Feel like you have to talk about it with me every time I see you
It's definitely okay to not bring up the loss if the situation isn't appropriate.  Sometimes it's also just nice to take a break from the mourning and act like things are normal.  I'm sorry if this seems like contradicting advice, mostly it comes down to discernment.  Thankfully, my friends have really great discernment and know when I need to talk and when I don't.  :)

Do: Share words of encouragement:
I've received emails of verses and quotes, texts about dreams from the Lord, and messages/cards of your sympathies that have been so encouraging and comforting.  I love to have those to look back on when I'm struggling and have even passed some of them on to others who are going through miscarriage and loss.  Also hugs.

Don't: Give me cliches
These are easy to rattle off when you want to say something encouraging but don't know how.  I know you mean to be genuine and comforting, but I don't know how to respond when someone tells me that God is in control and He knows best.  It's not that I don't believe that, it's just that it doesn't help to make this any easier or less painful.  This point has been thoroughly covered in other similar articles so I won't spend any more time on it except to say this: If you don't know what to say, it's okay to not say anything.  :)

Do: Bring meals
This blessed me more than I can explain.  The last thing I wanted to think about was meal planning, cooking, cleaning, or even eating.  It was such a relief to not have to worry about that and yet know that Doad wasn't going to starve or end up on a bachelor diet of frozen pizzas and fast food.

Do: Bring life
Many, many people brought us a small gift of flowers or plants.  I found it so healing to be surrounded by the beauty and aroma of fresh flowers and the life of a growing plant.  It also gave me purpose and something to do - I spent many mornings watering my new rose bush... and crying in the dirt lol, but I think that brought healing too.  Now obviously I don't expect others to bring me presents or even meals every time we go through a loss, but for those of you looking for ways to comfort friends in similar situations these are some great tangible ways so show your love and support.  A close friend also bought me a necklace with the birthstones of both of our babies on it.  I love having something small to keep with me and remember them by and I wear it everyday.

A couple other things that I found comfort in:

Music:
There's not a big genre for pregnancy loss music, but I made a playlist of the few songs that I found and played them over and over again during the first few weeks.  I found comfort knowing that I was not alone and that others understood what I was going through.  You can find my playlist here.

Puzzles:
I bought a pack of 12 puzzles and finished about 9 in a week and a half.  They were hard enough that I had to focus and it took my mind off of my grief but they didn't take tons of energy and I could still feel like I "accomplished" something.  For you maybe this is video games or reading or baking or binge watching a tv show (which we also did...)

Lacey:
Lacey was therapeutic for both me and Doad because she was a constant.  She didn't treat us any differently than before, she just kept loving us.  She was her same silly, goofy, snuggly self and for some reason that was really reassuring.  She helped bring us back to the present when we were lost in sadness and she gave us a reason to laugh.  I'm so thankful for her and how she loves us.

Friends and family are so important during times like this.  While I can't say that this has been easy, knowing that I have the support of others has helped to make this process smoother for me.  I hope that this has been helpful and gives someone the motivation to reach out and share comfort, support, and encouragement to a friend in need.  It could mean the world to them.  I know it did to me.  :)


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