Grieving Friends

If your friend has experienced the loss of a pregnancy, you may be unsure of your role in helping your friend through the mourning process. You may never have experienced such a devastating loss and you're not sure what you can say or do to ease your friend's grief. Perhaps the most important thing for you to realize is that you can't take away your friend's pain, no matter what you say or do. What you can do is become a part of the process and be supportive as your friend works through her sorrowful feelings.

You may find yourself at a loss for words. You don't have to know what to say and you don't have to say anything if nothing comes to mind. It's just fine for you to express this, too. You may want to say, "I don't know what to say, this is so terrible." It's also okay to say a simple, "I'm so sorry this has happened."

Make Dinner

Treat your friend's grief as you would for any family member that has died. Don't be shy about sending flowers or a condolence card. You can share your memories and thoughts about the pregnancy. You can reach out through a phone call. Make or buy dinner for your friend. All of these expressions of support and caring show your friend that you understand her loss is real.

Remember that the death of the infant has tremendous impact on your friend's life. She can't be expected to "get over it" in the blink of an eye, even though the duration of the pregnancy was short. It's not unusual for the mourning process to take 2 years, even if the deepest grief passes much earlier. Just be prepared to keep on asking, "How are you?" and to keep listening whenever your friend might need your listening ear. If you're lucky, your friend may even have an idea of something you can do to help.

If the baby had a name, refer to the baby by his or her name. This shows your friend that the baby meant something to you, too, and that you have not forgotten her. There may be some difficult dates and events coming up for your friend. For instance, the baby's projected due date or Mother's Day may be times when the memory of the loss is more fresh and painful than ever. Be on the watch for occasions that trigger the pain so you can give warmth and support to your friend when it's most needed.

Keep Calling

After the initial flurry of well-wishers, people stop calling and coming by the house to offer their condolences. The quiet after so much kind support can feel very lonely and bring on a feeling that the rest of the world has forgotten about the baby. Keep calling and coming by. You might even write a note telling your friend your thoughts are with her since this is something she can save and read whenever she feels the need for your warm wishes.


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