Miscarriages are one of the forms of immense loss. People who go through this can have very extreme painful responses, and as their loved ones, we want to be there for them as best as we can. When someone close to you has had a miscarriage, it is difficult to know how to support them. For this reason, we talked to a therapist, Tatheer Zahra, as well as someone who has experienced it herself, Sameena Khan*, to gain some insight on how best to support them.
Be Present And Listen To Them
A major help in this kind of situation is if you spend time with the person who went through this. Give them the space and time to talk to you and express their feelings (if they want to). Make sure you are attentive and you show that you care, and that you’re listening. Having someone around to hear them out can be the biggest support.
Validate Their Loss
If they are comfortable talking about the experience, it is important that you acknowledge what a big loss it is, and that their feelings about the situation are valid. Tatheer says that validating their loss helps in recognising the presence of their pain and trauma and make the griever understand that their feelings matter. However, try not to be probing and constantly ask questions about the topic, as this can take them back to triggering or traumatising moments. Only speak about it if you are spoken to.
Send A Gift
Tatheer explains that receiving a gift can be very helpful in lifting the person’s mood, even if just by a tiny bit. Especially for people who have been depressed, this can make them feel happy. Some ideas for what you can send are: candles, flowers, body butters, jewellery, or their favourite snack. Tatheer recommends the book “You Are Not Alone” for helping mothers feel less isolated in their grief.
Help Out With Household Tasks
According to Sameena, this is a huge help. Oftentimes they will not have the energy or willpower to complete any work they need to do, whether it be errands or chores or anything else. Going to assist them in that form is a great way to show your support and lend a helping hand in their life. Tatheer elaborates that lending a helping hand will give the person a lot of the emotional and physical space that they require. But, she suggests including the griever in small activities that they generally enjoy. This will prevent them from feeling idle and as if they are on complete bed rest.
Therapy is incredibly helpful in dealing with these emotions, and if you feel that your loved one may benefit from it, it is definitely a good idea. Gently encourage them without putting pressure on them, as if you force them, it can have an adverse effect.
Be Sensitive Around The Topic Of Pregnancy
It is highly important that you are careful of what you say to the person going through this. Make sure that you are cautious of comments about pregnancy, talking about other people who are pregnant or saying things like “this doesn’t mean you can’t try again.” Such comments can come across as insensitive and be extremely triggering.
Adjust Your Behaviour For How They Choose To Grieve
Everyone is not the same, and they will all prefer different things when coping with their loss. Some people prefer to be alone, while others like to be surrounded by people. Some find it healing to talk about the experience, while others like to take their minds off it. Sameena says for her, when she was in private, all she could think about was the loss, but when people were around, she liked that they took her mind off the trauma. She preferred having people around a lot more. Tatheer says that if they ask for space, you should grant them that, but generally letting them know that you’re with them will give them confidence that they are not alone.