When my husband and I got married, we never in a million years considered we may have a miscarriage. Let alone four in a row.
Navigating infertility was a dark and isolating time in my life.
Of course, grieving put me in a heightened emotional state. People meant well, but what they said was not received well.
Here are a few things I wish people had said instead. Maybe you can say some of these to a friend you know who is mourning; whether pregnancy-related or not.
“I am here for you.”
This is my all-time favorite no-strings-attached reminder of support. It says, “you’re not alone” and can’t possibly be misconstrued.
“I am going to bring you food on Tuesday. Does that work for your schedule?”
When people asked if I needed anything, I felt like a burden to ask. I now realize that thinking was skewed but at the time a more upfront offering would’ve been appreciated. The same can be said for “I’m planning to come over to clean for you soon. What day works for you?” By being direct, I feel it takes out any guesswork.
“Call me whenever. Even if you don’t have anything to say.”
I feel the second part of this is essential. Everyone offered to be a listening ear. What I wanted sometimes was to cry over the phone with zero expectation of talking about anything. Just to have someone “there.”
“You’re allowed to process this at your own pace and in your own way. I fully support you and I am willing to walk alongside you.”
Pretty self-explanatory. I felt a lot of guilt and self-condemnation during this time. Just having a reminder that I wasn’t wrong for crawling back into bed to cry sometimes would have reassured me. I also know that having someone offer for me to share details would’ve been helpful.
Talking through it helped me immensely and I felt as though the subject was avoided. I know the thinking was likely that no one wanted to remind me of it. But the fact is, I didn’t just forget my babies if no one brought them up. Sharing my experience was therapeutic to me.
If you have walked this road or are walking it now, I see you. You are not alone. If you feel unsupported, I encourage you to reach out. Sometimes a close friend or relative is best and sometimes you may want to talk to someone who is a bit more removed. Much love to you!
An online infertility support group may offer a sense of community and togetherness. Also, the National Infertility Association has a hotline at (888) 623-0744 that offers education, support, and advocacy for men and women.
Keep reaching out! The only way through this is forward. The light will shine brighter one day. I promise.