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I’ve mentioned this before, but the way our community has loved and supported us this last week has blown me away. It’s been so healing to be able to walk through this with support and to talk about our experience instead of keeping it silent.ย Since miscarriage is such a personal thing and not everyone has experienced it, I’ve found that a lot of people are at a loss as to how to respond in the wake of such an event. This list, of course, is personal, but I wanted to share some ways that you can support a friend who is going through pregnancy loss (or a prolonged battle with infertility, for that matter.)

1. Say Something (Anything!)
When you haven’t experienced something first-hand, it can feel super awkward not knowing what to say. Before this year, I was in that camp, too. I’ll admit that I read a few posts about miscarriage and had a hard time understanding or empathizing with what those women were going through. I’m ashamed to admit that when I don’t know what to say, sometimes I don’t say anything at all for fear of saying the wrong thing. But being on the other side I can say that every word and acknowledgement of what we were going through meant the world to both of us.

2. Provide Hope
If you’ve experienced a miscarriage or multiple miscarriages, share your story with your friend. In the wake of our experience, the most helpful thing anyone could do was to share their personal story and give us hope. After a miscarriage it’s incredibly easy to feel hopeless or scared about the future. The women who reached out to me and let me know that I wasn’t alone and that they, too, had walked that path gave me so much hope for our family’s future. Yes, everyone’s journey is different, but miscarriage and multiple miscarriages can feel very lonely. Your story, if you have one, could be of great encouragement.

3. Bring Flowers
I was shocked, truly shocked, at the number of people who brought us flowers over the past week. Our house feels like a floral shop, and it’s beautiful and joyful. Seeing those flowers has been a tangible reminder that God makes all things new, that He creates beauty from ashes and gives us hope for tomorrow. Flowers are also a small way to say that things are going to get better eventually and they gave me a reason to smile.

4. Insert Yourself Just a Little
I got a lot of e-mails from friends saying “If you need anything, just let me know.” And while I know that they all truly meant that, it was hard for me to cash in on any of those offers. I was still able to cook dinner and my mom came to clean my house, so I felt silly asking for any of those things. Many friends simply said, “I’m coming over, just for a bit, to drop something off. I won’t stay long.” It was just what I needed. I wanted to see people, I wanted a hug, I wanted someone to shed a few tears with me, but I didn’t want to say that. I needed people to insert themselves into my personal space just enough to know they cared.

5. Be Honest & Sensitive
As I’ve mentioned before, both of my sister-in-laws are pregnant, and we were supposed to be having our babies at the same time. Hearing my sister-in-laws, Amber and Ali, cry with me and say, “This sucks. This isn’t fair,” really helped. I don’t blame either of my sister-in-laws for being pregnant when I no longer am, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy. I feel left out and it’s hard to think about this fall when their babies will arrive and our baby should have been born. Hearing both of them express their own sadness and frustration helped ease my own pain and made me feel less alone and left out.

6. Bring a Gift Card
Joe and I haven’t been having much fun lately, as is to be expected. We’ve been grieving and trying to take steps forward and processing what has happened. Life feels pretty serious lately, and at one point I think I went a full 3 days without showering. When Amber and Jake brought us a gift card to Cheesecake Factory it was such a bright spot in our weekend. We needed an excuse to go out, get dressed up and do something fun. Although it feels strange/wrong to have fun when we’re so sad, I’m looking forward to the date we now have scheduled on the calendar. Having little things to look forward to makes a big difference.

7. Do Normal Things Together
Saturday night we had a group of close friends over to watch the Final Four and eat snacks. It was my idea and Joe liked the idea of having something normal to get our mind off what we were feeling. With close friends, it’s nice to feel that you can do something relatively normal without having to pretend that you’re anything but normal. Our friends showed up, cried a little with us, then took the topic off the table for the rest of the night and acted like nothing had happened. It wasn’t avoiding the topic, it was just giving us a little reprieve from focusing on our miscarriage.

8. Keep Thinking of Them
The first few days after a miscarriage are a flurry of activity. Lots of notes, texts, calls, etc. I even had a surgery on the horizon that I was preparing for which occupied some of my thoughts. It wasn’t “exciting” but people were thinking about us and grieving with us, which was nice. But days later it can start to feel lonely again. Life moves on when you don’t feel like moving on yet. Friends who called or texted or e-mailed on the day I returned to work or a few days later just checking in really helped me along the way, both last time and this time. Let them know that although life is moving on, they are still on your mind and their pain isn’t forgotten.

9. Remember Everyone is Different
These are just my personal experiences, and the way each individual person deals with miscarriage is different. Some women may find it hard to be around pregnant women or little kids, or find it hard to talk about their experience. Personally, I want to talk about it. I want to process and share, but not everyone may feel the same. If you’re in doubt, just be open and ask your friend what helps, what is hard and what would be most useful for them. I guarantee that just making the effort will mean the world.

If you’ve experienced miscarriage and have anything to add to this list, I would love to hear your thoughts below as well.

Madison

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  • http://lovekblair.blogspot.com/ Katie Hall

    Thank you for writing this! I think a lot of people, like me, are at a loss for how to actually be supportive. I’m so glad we’ll get to talk more next week, I’m looking forward to our date!

    • MadisonMayberry

      Well you were certainly very good at supporting us even without a guide. Thanks again for your sweet flowers and note, friend!

  • Cheri Elisabeth

    Thank you for this. I appreciate you being open and honest about you miscarriages and sharing them with us. When you have not experienced it, it’s hard to know what to say. Even harder when you are pregnant or just had a baby.

    I’m sorry for your loss, but god has a plan for you. You just need to trust that. I know it’s hard to hear now, but it’s true and it will all work out the way he wants it to.

    • MadisonMayberry

      Thank you, Cheri, for your comment. And I totally know what you mean about it being a hard position to be in when you’ve just had a baby or are pregnant. But like I said, I can’t and don’t fault anyone for being pregnant or having a little one. Someday I hope that is us! Hearing words of encouragement and affirmation about what we are going through is so helpful.

  • Heather Disarro

    Yes to all of this. And sending you so much love.

  • Julie Johnson

    Madison – I wrote to you after your first miscarriage post. I too had a miscarriage, and we went on to have a little boy now. Reading this post and your previous one, brought me back to so much more of the raw emotions we went though.

    My best friend had been trying to get pregnant for well over two years. They were finally going to go see a specialist. A few days after I found out we were pregnant, we had plans to see them. I was terrified. How could I face my best friend and eventually tell her I was pregnant? I wasn’t going to say anything that night. I strictly wanted to focus on her specialist appointment-what happened, what they were going to do in the future, etc. My focus was supporting her. As it turns out, they found out the day before their appointment, they were pregnant. Our babies were due 4 days apart. Another of our good friends were expecting a week later, and one of my husbands cousins was expecting a few days after that. Shortly after we and all these others publicly announced, we lost ours. It helped that a few months later we got pregnant again, but I remember feeling such mixed emotions when their babies came.

    I also remember having my regular dental appointment about a week after our miscarriage happened. My hygienist is awesome! I swear she makes notes after each visit, because when you sit down in her chair you pick up right back in conversation with where you left off at your previous appointment. This appointment however was different. Being that we live in small town Northwest Iowa, I sat down and she said-so I heard you had a miscarriage. I talked about it for a little bit and she just let me go. When i stopped, she said, ”I’ve had more miscarriages than I can count on my two hands.” I swear my heart dropped through the floor. She told me her story, and I have to imagine I cannot even imagine going through that. I remember though that she had so much peace in telling me. She said she wanted to because she feels like it’s important to let people know that they are not alone. She said she still has hope that God has a plan for her family, and she still wants to keep trying. She and her husband ended up adopting a little girl, and when their daughter was about a year old, they announced they were pregnant. They now have a little boy added to their family. That story gives me the most hope of all. It takes so much faith, trust, and perseverance to experience what they did, but their reward is so great.

    Life is so different. You’re right – it’s so nice to have support from your family and friends, people you can laugh with, cry with, have a good time with and take your mind off of things. It’s also even more amazing that we have a loving heavenly father who watches over us so that not a hair can fall from our heads without him knowing. Great things happen when you trust God. His plan may not always make sense to us, but it is greater than any plans we can make for ourselves. My thoughts and prayers will continue to be with you, and the plans God has for your family. God bless you!

    • MadisonMayberry

      Oh Julie, thank you for your comment and your sweet words of encouragement. You’re absolutely right about us being so blessed to have a heavenly father who knows everything about us, about what we are going through, about what we feel. It’s been my greatest source of encouragement and hope in the weeks following our miscarriage.

  • Robin Hopkins

    You are such a strong woman. To share all of this in such an eloquent but vulnerable way. Whenever God decides it’s the right time, it will be such a blessed baby to have you for a mother.

    • MadisonMayberry

      Thank you, Robin! I’m just trying to use this experience and our previous experience for some sort of good. I would hate for this experience to be wasted and want to be able to help others who will inevitably also suffer miscarriages. And thank you for your last sentence. It was the most comforting thing anyone could say to me.

  • Mallory

    Madison- We have never met before, but I am a friend of Amber’s. She mentioned you work in a Test Kitchen (as do I) and that you had a blog, and I’ve been silently following since. When I read about your miscarriage, I was heartbroken for you. I can’t imagine what you are going through, and I want you to know I’ve been thinking about you and praying for you and your husband. I’ve had too many friends who have been in the same boat as you, and I will admit I never really know what to say. This post was beautifully written and I applaud you for being able to write it as you are still dealing with your grief. Take care of yourself and enjoy the beautiful sunshine out there today.

    • MadisonMayberry

      Mallory, yes! I have heard of you though Amber as well. It’s nice to “meet” someone else who works in a test kitchen. It’s such a great job, isn’t it?! Thank you for your prayers. Honestly, I’m so so blessed to know that we are being prayed for by people we don’t even know personally. You were such a blessing to me when I read this comment. Hopefully we get to meet in person someday soon. :)

  • Joanna

    This is so helpful, especially number four. It’s funny how that’s an instinct, I think, but we so often talk ourselves out of it for fear of intruding. No more fear! Way more hope. Much love.

    • MadisonMayberry

      My dear friend, Kristin, said something to me the other day that hit me with so much truth. She said that sometimes she thinks people why away from inserting themselves because it feels so awkward and hard, in some ways, because when you do insert yourself you can no longer be unaware of the pain and suffering someone else is feeling. Going through this experience has changed the way I want to respond when others are hurting. We have been so loved and blessed in so many wonderful ways, and it makes me want to be better at that when I’m on the other side.

  • Allison G.

    Something that really helped me after a few months when it was still hard to process and we still weren’t pregnant again was visiting with someone that had been there. It was so refreshing to be able to just share how I was feeling with someone that had been through a loss and knew what I felt. Another tip would be dont forget the spouse. We had a lot of people favor me because I was the one in the er, having surgeries, and staying at the hospital. But my husband grieved just as much as me. Ive been thinking of you two and praying youd be announcing pregnancy soon. My heart broke you all have to go through this again. Ill keep praying for answers and patience as you continue to work on a family.

    • MadisonMayberry

      Love that, Allison! It’s SO easy to forget about the spouse and focus on the woman since she is physically healing and suffering, too. But those who took a special interest in caring for my hubby or asking him how he was doing were so kind and appreciated. Thanks for your sweet comment. Seriously, it means the world.

  • Karla Walsh

    What an excellent list, Madison. Know that I’m thinking of you and Joe and sending you both big hugs! Your strength is amazing.

    • MadisonMayberry

      Thank you, thank you Karla. I so appreciate it. Being able to write about this has been helpful, knowing that perhaps this can be of use to someone else down the road.

  • Rlucas

    Ms. Mayberry,

    Sorry to hear this! Indeed it can be difficult. Chase and I also experienced a miscarriage this year as well and it is a shock to the system. Good to know you have supportive people around you, as always it will get better

    E pi,
    Becca

    • MadisonMayberry

      Oh Rebecca, thank you for your note. I’m so sorry that you, too, had to experience a miscarriage. It’s so awful and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Prayers for you, your healing and your future babies.
      xo

  • http://realhomeliving.blogspot.com/ Laura Britton

    Thank you for posting this! I think it’s really helpful to hear an inside perspective for those of us who haven’t experienced what you have. I have definitely been in that boat of not knowing what to do or what to say. God is using you to be a light for Him during this time, Madison. Proud of you.

    • MadisonMayberry

      Thank you, Laura. I hope this experience doesn’t go to waste, and that God does use it for good! It’s not easy, but I trust His plan is better than mine. I’m learning that more and more every day.

  • Jess

    So sorry for your loss, sending positive thoughts and prayers your way. A good family friend of mine and her husband have struggled with infertility for years and, like you, have miscarried twice. She also lives in the cities and has a blog outlining their struggle with infertility and miscarriages. If you start from the beginning, I think it might be an interesting read for you. Good luck to you!
    http://teachmetobraid.blogspot.com/

    • MadisonMayberry

      Jess, thank you for sending along that link. I’m finding so much peace in hearing the stories of others and am reading everything I can find. It’s much appreciated!

  • http://livefaithfully.blogspot.com/ Urban Wife

    Everything you’ve shared in this list is spot on. You guys in my prayers, always.

  • Carly

    We had a miscarriage this past summer. It was hard, but I really did not talk to many people about it. My husband and my family’s do not even know! You are right, it is not something people talk about much- and for me I was OK with that. I am a pretty private person! But now 6 months plus later, and past my due date, I kinda do want to talk.
    All this rambling to say: I would agree, everyone is different, ask what they want from you. And maybe remember when your friend was due and sent them an email or card around that time saying I’m thinking of you.

    • MadisonMayberry

      Oh Carly, I know exactly what you mean. The last time I miscarried I wasn’t super far along and very few people knew, but I remember finding it SO strange and hard to go back to work and be “normal” when no one knew how much I was hurting. But this time everyone at my work knew, and that was equally hard because I couldn’t hide my pain, even if I wanted to since people knew what I was going through. There really is no “right” way to handle the situation, is there? You’re spot on though about remembering the date they were due. For me, October 25 will always have a bittersweet meaning and significance.