(A continuation of my series How to Walk with a Friend through Miscarriage. Click here for previous post)
How to Give:
This is not about perfection. A good friend was reminding me this weekend that being a good friend is as much the responsibility of the giver as it is of the receiver. This is about love.This is about getting us out of a place of believing there is nothing we can do for our friends who miscarry. In loving relationships, mistakes are made and that is okay.When learning how to give thoughtfully, it is really about doing your best to be intentional, proactive and having a willing spirit. I cannot stress enough: This is not about perfection.
There are so many different ways to give of yourself. Be willing to evaluate truly if there is something you might be able to give (responsibly) in any situation. This is not black and white- no one can tell you exactly how much to give or what to give. But simply even the thought of trying to be more thoughtful will likely make you more thoughtful.
When I was going through my own miscarriage, a good friend reminded me that friends often play different roles in your life, and maybe play different roles in being supportive. Ask yourself:
Can I be the friend who checks in?
Can I be the friend who visits?
Can I be the friend who sends a card or gift through the mail?
Can I be the friend who brings food?
If nothing else, consider contacting them to say, “I am thinking of you and I love you. i wish I could do more but my circumstances are preventing me from doing so. I am praying for you.” Technology has made it possible to connect easily even in long-distance relationships. If this is what you can give, give it.
Three guiding principle as you read on:
1.Ask the person. Some people don’t like some of the things I’ve listed because of smells, or allergies etc etc. All fine, all preference.
2.People grieve so differently. I know moms who have grieved for a few days very hard over the loss of their baby, and other moms who grieved hard for years, and some moms who were in shock at the time and are only grieving now. There is no right or wrong way to grieve as long as you do so. Become a good listener, encourage your friend to grieve, and give them the freedom to do so. This is not about a cookie cutter mold, this is about love.
3. I read somewhere once that it would change the world if we said more of the things out loud that we feel inside- and I don’t mean the negative things, I mean the positive things. Say something. Too many times we ere on the side of saying nothing at all out of fear of not saying the right thing. Chances are that you won’t get it right all the time, but if what you want to say is loving and uplifting (if you aren’t sure, run it by someone), say it. say it. say it.
What to Give:
A good rule of thumb: Ask them if there is somethings specific they want. If they say no (maybe because they are tired, not sure, can’t think, exhausted etc etc), still show up with something- a treat, some snacks, a card, flowers maybe.. a little token of love and support.
The Stop & Drop: Some people need a lot of space during hard times. If that is the case, consider picking up a bag of goodies or a meal, and dropping it at their house without visiting. (a personal fav for giving & receiving)
Meals: Generally, any food during this time is helpful especially if there are other children in the family. Meals, snacks, treats.. all wonderful. (personal fav: snacks from Farm Boy)
Visits: Really depends on the person. Ask ,or better yet ask their husband/partner. If you do visit, do the dishes or something helpful if you can.
Bath items: During miscarriage, your stomach muscles become sore. This is because your uterus is pushing a baby out. It doesn’t really matter how small the baby is.. you are still sore. Bubble bath, epson salts, muscle soaks..all good 🙂
Offer Childcare: This was immeasurably helpful for us so that both my husband and I could rest. Offer your services if you can. One incredible friend we had stayed over night one night so that my husband could sleep in.
Offer Errand Pick-ups: Maybe they need groceries, or other things. Huge help if this is something you can give.
Prayer: If you are a Christian, offering to pray with someone in the absence of knowing what to say is beautiful.
Send love through the mail:
One very generous and sneaky person mailed me a fruit basket and I have no idea who it was. What a beautiful way of giving selflessly. This person didn’t need affirmation or thanks. They simply wanted to give. (ps. tell me who you are already).
I am still blown away by this thoughtful action. I belong to a wonderful online mom’s group. I told them about my miscarriage, and the admins took it upon themselves to ask as many girls as possible to mail me a card. I was so touched. I cried as I opened every single one.
Here are some photos of the beautiful memory tokens we have:
Many mothers want to remember their babies and have other people remember them too. It’s a way of validating their life and death, and our own feelings of loss.
When a mother loses her baby, she may feel lost in her mother-ing. She is confused because she is a mum, she was pregnant, and now she has nothing to show for it. The grief of miscarriage is so hidden as a result .Giving a memory token to a mum who has lost a baby is so cherished because it helps solidify in her mind that you know: she is a mother whether her baby is here or not and whether the world recognizes it or not.
Do not give to the point of breaking down/poor boundaries/placing heavy or impossible burdens on your family. Give to the point of sacrificing comfort.
I don’t think I need to tell you the inspirational people we all know about who gave up comfort and replaced it with generosity and love.