I'm often asked the question, "My friend has just had a loss. What can I do to help?"
Of course, each person's loss is unique, as is their response to it. A miscarriage is different from an ectopic pregnancy, which is different from a stillbirth, which is different from the death of an infant. Not that one is harder or easier, but each is different. Not only that, but my miscarriage is not the same as my friend's or my co-workers or your sister's.
Proverbs 14:10 says it well: "Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy."
That said, there are some things that specifically seem to bring comfort to a grieving mother after the death of her baby at any stage of pregnancy or infancy. Some things that helped me, especially after the death of Naomi:
If you have had a loss, what specific gestures from friends were comforting to you? Share in the comments below.
Often, people don’t realize how difficult Mother’s Day can be for so many: those who have lost their mothers, who have a strained relationship with their mothers or with their children, those with children who have made poor choices, those who are dealing with infertility – and for those who have had a pregnancy loss, especially if they have no other living children. They may ask, “Am I a mother?” Am I a mother if I am not raising my child? If I never got to hold my baby? If I have no physical evidence that my child existed beyond a positive home pregnancy test? If my children died as embryos in an IVF clinic before they were even placed in my womb? Am I a mother?
If this is where you are at, here are a few suggestions for surviving, and even celebrating, Mother’s Day this year:
If you are a family member of someone preparing for Mother’s Day in the shadow of pregnancy loss, I encourage you to read the article, “What Grieving Moms want for Mother’s Day” for some ideas of how to gently reach out to and encourage your loved one. You may also send a loved one a free Healing Hearts e-card specifically designed for pregnancy and infant loss.
If you are a pastor planning your Mother’s Day service, please consider how to make your church activities of that day sensitive to those for whom it is a difficult day, keeping in mind that 1 out of 6 couples deal with infertility on some level, and that at least one-fourth of all pregnancies end in loss, a topic addressed in this open letter to pastors. Those in the church often speak of motherhood and fatherhood as “God’s highest calling” – a tantalizing and frustrating target that seems out of reach to many. A simple mention of this from the pulpit or in a prayer goes a long way toward helping such couples feel included, their pain acknowledge and valued.
Naomi's Circle News
Here you will find articles intended to help you in your journey. Some will be reviews of websites and books. Some will be devotionals, some general articles, and some will be guest bloggers. Feel free to comment and let us know if there is something you would like to see addressed here.
Week 1: Devotional
Week 2: General article about loss
Week 3: Testimony/guest blogger
Week 4: Website/book Review