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Even as she was going through a miscarriage for the fourth time, she said nothing. She kept a smile on her face for her only son's sake, and stayed at the play date until the end. When it was quiet and the other kids had left and the playroom was a bomb, the tears flowed like rivers out of her eyes as she explained what was going on.
I asked her what I could do, but she answered that there was nothing. It was her private journey and private moment of suffering.
It's not true. There are things we can do as friends. It doesn't make the pain go away – but it does let a suffering person know she's not alone, and that you care. Here are 6 things to bring a friend who has had a miscarriage:
- A meal: Going through a miscarriage is exhausting both emotionally and physically. Help out a friend who has had a miscarriage by bringing her a meal. My go to dish is penne with Bolognese sauce. I pack it in a casserole dish along with a baggie of shredded parmesan cheese, a few pieces of crusty bread, and little box of chocolates. Other times I've brought some simple grilled chicken, Caesar salad supplies, and a piece of tiramisu.
- Flowers: Flowers can brighten up any space. I never used to think of them as a good gift for any occasion, but during my last miscarriage a friend brought over a bouquet of fresh flowers and it really lifted my spirit. It was a small thought that meant a lot to me.
- Fresh fruit bowl: In both the postpartum weeks and after a miscarriage I craved fresh fruit, but the idea of washing and preparing it was almost too much to bear. My neighbor brought over a giant bowl with fresh berries, cantaloupe, watermelon, and pineapple and my kids and I ate it for a week. It was such a thoughtful gift and so practical for our family too.
- Access to your Netflix account: I've had three miscarriages, and with each one I needed some downtime to just lay around and deal with the physical effects. I didn't have the energy or desire to read but I didn't just want to sit around doing nothing either. Giving your friend access to your Netflix account is a great way to show her you care and allows her to watch some junky TV while recovering. It's all about the little thoughts and actions!
- Junky magazines: A friend who has had a miscarriage might want to talk about it, but she might not. She might just want to dive headfirst into a pile of junky magazines and sit quietly next to you, flipping through the magazine and trying to distract herself.
- Lavender oil: It is natural to have trouble sleeping when you are working through an emotional hardship like a miscarriage. A little lavender oil on the bottom of your feet and on other pressure points can help you relax. Years ago, before I even had my first child, I had a late first trimester missed miscarriage and felt devastated. I didn't know yet if I would ever be able to carry a child to full term and I was scared. I couldn't sleep. My cousin brought me lavender oil and demanded that I apply it to my feet every night. Within a day or two I could sleep well again. It was the best gift she could have brought!
You know your friends best, and if someone you know and care about has suffered from a miscarriage trust your instincts. Show her (and her partner) you care without asking too many questions. Be there for them but still give them the privacy they may need. Dropping off a meal or lavender oil or a pile of magazines can be one thoughtful way to show you are thinking of them and care.
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Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.