I wrote this post last year remembering my first Mother’s Day on the other side of loss. This year my Samuel’s day lands on Mother’s Day, and my heart is heavy for the mamas who are facing this day with fresh grief. I know from my own experiences and speaking to so many others who have gone through this, that what people say and do in these moments has such lasting impact.
When someone has a pregnancy loss, it can be difficult to know what to say or do. Many women suffer in silence because sometimes people don’t acknowledge that this mama has lost her child. Her child, whether at 6 weeks gestation or 6 months, a day after she found out she was expecting or the day after she gave birth, this is her baby.
What can we do to be a comfort to these mamas? These are just a few things I think are important to remember…
~say “I’m so sorry.” or
~”My heart breaks for you.”
That’s it. You do not need to explain it away for them, or give them a theological sermon on suffering, or a reason why. Just tell them how sorry you are.
I’ll never forget the well meaning woman who patted my arm and told me to try not to think about it. Or my dear friend, who was crying after the loss of her son, and someone said to her, “Oh, you’re still on that?” But, of even MORE significance were all the sentiments of sympathy, validating my loss, valuing my grief, and showing me love during that time.
~Recognize that they have lost a child. Say “your baby”, or the name they had chosen. Value the life that was lost.
~Let her share…let her talk about it, feel, cry, whatever she needs. Listen. And keep doing this, because there is no time limit on grief.
~Do something. Drop off a meal, bring flowers, give her a gift to remember the baby by. If she has other children, take them for her or help her in the house. Saying, “let me know if you need anything,” doesn’t help. Find something to do and fill the need without being asked. Remember that she is suffering emotionally and physically. It is very difficult to recover from a pregnancy cut short by loss.
When I was in the hospital, two of my dear friends came into the room with my most treasured gift of that time, a beautiful memory box and a soft, brown bear. Still they sit on my dresser- the box filled with cards and memories of the love I received during that time. I can still picture the flowers and cards, the meals, the precious faces of the visitors who came and loved on me and barely said a word. The people who cared for my littles and cleaned my house and did my laundry. The cards and calls that came randomly throughout the years of those who reached out to let me know…I remember. You don’t know how something you do could comfort so much.
And if that mama is YOU this year, remember…
Your loss is real. Let yourself grieve. Give yourself grace and rest and time. It does get easier.
You are not alone. There are so many who have gone through what you are experiencing. Don’t be afraid to share your pain with others.
You are loved and valued. Our Father longs to comfort you and strengthen your heart. Ps. 73:26 ‘My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the rock and firm strength of my heart and my portion forever.’
This year, as I celebrate my very full, very loud life with my boys, I still feel the loss of what could’ve been. I don’t know if that ever goes away. So, I’ll be thinking of all you mamas who know that feeling, too, and praying for comfort and peace in the midst of it.
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