Have you experienced the pain of miscarriage? Odds are, if you have not, someone in your inner circle has. In today’s Firmly Rooted post, Morgan shares some practical tips for walking alongside a sister who is grieving this heart-wrenching loss.
Miscarriage and the Military Community
by Morgan Farr
For many people, today is a normal day.
But for some of us, both in the military and the civilian world, today is a day of mourning.
You see, October 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, right smack in the middle of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. While I understand that this is a hard topic to talk about, in order to promote mental health and resilience we absolutely must talk about it, especially in the military world.
If you are single, or have never had a miscarriage, you may think that this topic has nothing to do with you. You might think you should skip this post.
Would it shock you to learn that you are wrong?
Since this month’s articles have all talked about relationships I thought I would share with you how to best relate and support a friend going through miscarriage. With 1 in 4 pregnancies ending in miscarriage chances are that someone in your life is mourning today.
To the Bereaved Mother
First, I want to preface this article by saying that if you are a bereaved mother, my heart breaks for you. I have been where you are, three times in fact. This is a horrible sisterhood to be a part of, because no one enters it voluntarily. However, it is nevertheless a sisterhood. You are not alone in this journey. If you need help or support in your grief do not hesitate to reach out. The prayer team here at Planting Roots would love to pray for you.
To the Friend who Wants to Help
Every woman reacts to miscarriages differently. I reacted differently to each of my three miscarriages. My first miscarriage left me completely numb, my second left me more angry than I have ever been in my life, and after the third miscarriage I became unbelievably depressed. Despite the fact that this is perfectly normal, it can be challenging for friends to know how best to help. So here is the short answer: be beside her, speak with her, and pray for her. Here is what it looks like.
Be Beside Her
Are you able to be physically with her? If so, go to her home and be there. If she wants to be hugged, hug her. If she wants to hold on to you, let her. If she just wants you to sit and have tea, have tea. Be there for her. This is especially important if her spouse is TDY or deployed when the miscarriage occurs.
Remind her of Christ’s love by being the hands and feet. This might look like cleaning her house, washing the dishes, or taking her dog for a walk. It might look like bringing meals or organizing a meal train. One of the things that meant the most to me was when my friend took the clothes I wore home from the hospital and washed them all. Then she brought them back and said that if I wanted to throw them out, that is fine, but she wanted me to have a clean slate to make that choice.
The important thing here is that we step in to help bodily, in whatever way would be most beneficial to the mourning parents.
Speak With Her
Once the initial period ended, many people in my life seemed almost embarrassed to talk to me about the miscarriage. The most helpful thing that I experienced was when someone would ask me how I was feeling about it, or if I wanted to talk about it.
I made the choice to name each of the babies that God called home, even though I never got to hold them in my arms. When my dear friend Rose texted me on the anniversary of my miscarriage with “Remembering Ian today, love you” it was such a gift to my heart. Having someone besides me remember Ian and speak his name meant the world to me.
Right after my first miscarriage I was pretty raw. One of my friends made it her goal to make sure any of the movies or shows that she and I watched didn’t have a pregnancy or miscarriage storyline. In doing this, she stood between me and my heartache and I will be forever grateful.
Pray for Her
Losing a child is not something you get over, it never really goes away. After a while you don’t feel the sharp pain all day every day. It becomes more like an old wound. But sometimes when buying a gift for a baby shower or watching a movie, you get this heavy feeling in the center of your chest. It isn’t painful, exactly, it is more of an ache, like you have a weight sitting there.
Having a friend that you can talk to and who will pray with you in those moments is such a blessing. If you can be that person for a grieving mother, do it. Cover her in prayer as she recovers. Cover her in prayer as she attempts to get “back to normal” after having been permanently changed. Cover her in prayer when her eyes fill with tears at a commercial. Cover her in prayer, period.
Share the Information
Finally, Psalm 139:13 tells us that God knits each one of us together in our mother’s womb. The God of the universe cares about your loss and he cares about your pain.
If you are in need of help in dealing with a miscarriage check out Military One Source, Postpartum Support International Support for Military Families, and check with your primary care provider about grief groups. If you are a friend of someone struggling after miscarriage be sure to pass these resources along while you stand beside, speak with, and pray for the grieving parents.
Morgan Farr is a Texas-loving, succulent-cultivating, book nerd, and aspiring author. Stationed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this Army wife is learning to train dogs, developing her four young children, and tackling homeschool life… while moving all over the country. You can find more of Morgan’s thoughts on her blog.
For more on dealing with miscarriage and infant loss visit these articles:
Infant Loss Amid Military Life