She Lost Her Child What Should I Say?

 

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She Lost Her Child,
What Should I Say?

Renee Parris

January of 1993 began for me, as it does for most of you, with plans and dreams and resolutions. This year would be even more exciting for us as we learned, much to our delight, that we were expecting a child. It would be our second pregnancy. The first pregnancy had ended in miscarriage eight weeks into the pregnancy in March of 1989. We had been waiting for this pregnancy for over a year and so, we excitedly told people and were making plans of how this little child would change our lives and specifically, my career. However, it wasn’t long before I began having unusual symptoms and discomforting pains. After many trips to the doctor, weeks of bed rest, and several ultrasounds which revealed the baby was growing but the gestation sac was not attached to the wall of the uterus, God, again, chose to take our child, this one at the precious stage of 10 weeks.

How many times have you wondered what to say to someone who had recently lost a child? Specifically, I want to help you in knowing how to comfort a lady who loses a child through miscarriage or premature birth. However, you can apply these suggestions to any situation in which you are trying to be a comforter.

The first thing to remember is that losing a child during a pregnancy is very different than losing a loved one of any age. The reason is, in part, that when you have a miscarriage, you’re dealing with physical and emotional pain as well as hormonal changes. When a pregnancy terminates itself, it typically takes six weeks for your body and emotions to adjust to the fact that you are no longer pregnant. God created such a marvelous system for carrying a child and when you conceive, your body sets in motion the adjustments that will take place over a nine month period. When a pregnancy doesn’t last nine months, all of those adjustments take place prematurely, causing emotions that are often out of your control. I remember days of crying and being depressed and not being able to control how I felt.

Understanding then, that losing an unborn child is very different than any other loss, should indicate that a very different means of comforting is needed from people who care about that mother.

Many times, we say things that hurt the very person we are trying to help. We have all heard it said that sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all. But, how often do we not remember that truth until we have blurted out some words that wound our friend. We often don’t realize how we are hurting people by trying to make light of their situation. People need to grieve over any loss. Don’t breeze over their grief, grieve with them.

Here are some “wrong” things that people say and the responses felt by mothers who have lost a baby:

There will be other children. Response felt–that doesn’t make up for this one.

At least you were only x number of weeks along. Response felt– I am just as pregnant as 1 week along as 40 weeks.

You’re young, you can try again. Response felt– it’s not supposed to hurt as much because I am young?

Be thankful, maybe the baby would have been less than perfect. Response felt– I would have loved that child in any condition. That was my baby!

Some ways you can safely comfort include:

Saying you care. If I am comforting someone in a situation in which I have never been, I say, I can’t say that I understand how you feel, but I can say, I care.

Hugging or touching. Some of the best comforting I received was through a hug or a touch from someone who was choked up and didn’t say a word.

Talk about the baby being in Heaven. Bro. Jeff Owens met my husband and me at the surgery facility just before I was taken in for surgery and he talked to us about their child that was in Heaven who would be 11, our first child who is 5 and this child who is an infant. Heaven is a reality. Don’t be afraid to talk about it as a real place.

Remember that the people grieving are the same people they were before the tragedy came. Don’t treat them as if they have a plague. Many people, later, would say, “I wanted to call but didn’t know how you would feel” or “I wanted to stay away and give you some space.” They need you now!

Don’t stay away.

Send a note or card saying you are thinking of and praying for the person.

Prepare meals for the family so the mother can rest.

Offer to clean the house or do laundry, especially, if there will be guests in and out.

Be silent. One of my dearest friends spent many, many hours at my house in total silence. I was glad she was there and even more glad that she was wise enough to know I needed her presence but wasn’t ready to talk.

Comforting is a skill. Learn from people who do it well. There are things to say and things not to say in any situation. However, if you find yourself not knowing what to do, don’t stay away, go to the person if all you do is give them a hug and say, “I love you.”

To all ladies who have experienced the loss of an unborn child: As with any trial, don’t go through this time without learning that which God is trying to teach you. With my first loss, I felt that God wanted to make me more sensitive to other people’s needs and problems. I have been able to help so many ladies because I have been through a miscarriage.

With the second loss, I questioned God and yes, was even a little irritated at God, but then, I determined I would not allow it to pass without gaining something from the experience. If I can say anything to comfort you, it would be that I feel honored that God chose my child. Yes, I wanted those children, but God wanted them more. How could I be bitter about that?

Second, allow people to comfort you. Don’t close yourself off from the world. We all want to withdraw, and we all feel it was our fault, and think that no one understands. People who care about you really want to help. Overlook the “wrong” things they say and see beyond their words. See their heart and know that they really care about you. Take the time you need to grieve. That time may vary from lady to lady. It even varied for me between the two miscarriages. Grieve, and then, get back to helping others, serving the Lord, and being busy with life and all that it presents with each new day.

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