supporting a loved one through a miscarriage

(10 Posts)
pinkandyellowbutterfly Wed 13-Mar-13 01:24:22

Thanks guys, some very kind and thoughtful responses there. I'm so sorry to read about the terrible times you've all been through.

My SIL is actually my best friend and husband's sister and I've known her all my life. Growing up, if horrid things happened I always knew what to do to help but this time I'm at a complete loss.

'Bakingtins' it is great that someone has compiled a list of things not to say, because words hold so much more weight when you're tramautised or bereaved or vunerable and I wouldn't want anybody to be scarred by the things I said! I did cringe at some of the awful things people, and in some cases tree surgeons (lol) have said, even if they meant well its not going to help at all.

I do feel sad at the little individual that has been lost, and the stage of pregnancy does not make a difference to the loss of life. Just wish miscarriage didn't exist :-( I will just try to take my cues from her I guess its the best any of us can do. Topslou sounds like you have a lovely partner there.

Topslou Tue 12-Mar-13 18:56:24

The fact that you are asking what to say and trying to help is great and shows how much you love her and your brother. Everything that everyone had already said is spot on but I would also add that for me I need to take my mind off things. I'm not being very good at being at home on my own, too much time to think. I need to be able to get out of the house, today was for tea & cake at the garden centre. Maybe you could take her for a coffee somewhere. One of my friends at work had taken it upon herself to make me smile at least once a day while I'm off work so keeps sending me random things which is working. Every person is different tho. Like someone else said dont forget about your brother. My DP is busy being strong for me & I really worry about who he has to talk to.

Bakingtins Tue 12-Mar-13 14:56:01

I've always at some point wanted to talk about it endlessly. Just be there to listen when/if she's ready. My DH won't talk about it sad but I've been lucky to have friends that have been through it themselves and have been available.
I'd say, be aware that your SIl may feel sad for a long time, long after everyone has expected her to move on, and that any significant dates like 12 week scan, EDD, anniversary of the MC may be particularly hard. Could you write them in your diary so you can do something to cheer her up at those times or send her a card to say you are still thinking of her?

There's a Miscarriage Association on 'what not to say' here that may help, and in fact the whole MA site is really helpful both for understanding the practicalities and for appreciating the different ways parents may react to losing a pregnancy.

Can you point her in the direction of this board, or the MA forum? It really helps to have a place to rant a bit and say the things that may be unacceptable to say in real life - miscarriage throws up some difficult emotions sometimes.

recall you actually made me laugh that a tree surgeon is suddenly an expert in why it happened, but I'm sorry that someone said such hurtful things to you.

GinAndSlimlinePlease Tue 12-Mar-13 14:53:26

How lovely you sound smile

I really hibernated during mine, I didn't want any company other than my dh. But I really appreciated texts and messages via dh. After a week or two I was a little better, but had only a limited concentration span.

Please don't say anything about it being nature's way, or it's really common. neither of those are helpful when it's taken years to conceive.

Just ask how she is, and send chocolates/a plant/a good book. Some friends bought me flowers which were lovely, especially those with a lovely smell.

whiterose2011 Tue 12-Mar-13 14:47:57

You sound like such a lovely SIL and she will be so grateful for your support. Having had a mc, I would say the following: keep the door open for her, even if she says she doesn't want to talk about things. I often find that when I'm specifically asked how I'm doing, I tend not to want to talk about it and shut it down quickly. Knowing that there is someone there to approach at any time when I feel ready to talk is such a help.

Also, like other people have said, the usual statements can be really upsetting. My Dad's response was 'well at least you know you can get pg' which hit me like a train. It's not just about getting pg, but also sustaining that pregnancy and delivering a healthy baby. I felt completely inept knowing that I had failed to do those 2 things.

The final thing I would say is to try and protect her (where possible) from other pregnant ladies and newborns. This has been one of the hardest things for me. I don't want my DH to visit one of his good friends since they had their baby - the thought of him holding their baby and cooing over it is really hard for me to deal with at the moment. It may seem really irrational and I definitely don't want that baby, but I also don't want him to hold a baby that isn't ours. It probably doesn't help that my due date is 17 days away so it's pretty raw at the moment.

My point is that some of her behaviour may seem unreasonable at times, especially where pregnant ladies/babies are concerned but I've found that I just need to do whatever I can to protect myself. I may lose some friends in the process of that (I dare say they wonder why I'm not delighted when they announce their pregnancy) but I don't have the strength to act any other way at the moment.

Everyone is different so some of this may not be relevant to your SIL but just being there for her and supporting her however you can will be such a big help. Xxx

recall Tue 12-Mar-13 14:07:08

I have had 4 mc, and similarly to welovegrapes had to endure comments that were clumsy and humiliating.

"It was for the best" NO !

"Loads of people have mc"

"What's causing it ?" said with a puzzled frown

"You probably can't carry boys" Ive since had 2 girls and a boy.

"My husband thinks it is because maybe your heart is strained because you are over weight" Thanks for that hmm Her husband happens to be a tree surgeon, so I'd say not particularly qualified to diagnose me.

Euroshaggleton When I lost my 1st at 22 weeks, I noticed people avoiding me sad

I think the best approach is to just be kind, and not to offer any solutions. Maybe ask gentle questions. It is very difficult. I nice big bear hug won't go amiss .

EuroShaggleton Tue 12-Mar-13 13:54:51

Good advice from Welove there.

I feel a bit like friends are avoiding me, which is upsetting, because I would prefer the distraction.

Welovegrapes Tue 12-Mar-13 04:14:15

So sorry to hear about your sil's mc op and about yours also, chickpea sad

You sound lovely op. The best way to support your sil would be to be sensitive to her feelings as I'm sure you are doing and to be very careful what you say. I'm sure you are not bring tactless, but things that were said to me and which really stung were as follows:

Mc are very common
It was for the best as there was probably something wrong with the baby (there wasn't - we'd had testing of the baby for downs etc)
It couldn't be helped (it probably could have been as it was maybe due to incorrect medication for thyroid)
You'll be pg again very soon
Continually calling it an early mc as if that mattered less
sad

People who helped most were those who didn't avoid the subject, just said I'm so very sorry. They were there unobtrusively there for me if I needed to talk and followed my lead with language eg I also felt I had lost a baby even though my mc was very early. Be there for your brother too - my DH was rocklike for me but then suffered a lot himself several weeks later and cried.

LittleChickpea Tue 12-Mar-13 03:47:25

I mc just over a week ago. It's hard and different people react in different ways. I was and still am devastated.

I have had some great support from MIL, SIL and DP. The best thing they did was talk o me and just let me ramble on/cry/get angree. There was a point were I was closed ofF but MIL asked to come round for a coffee because she wanted to see how I was. We didnt do much talking but just having her there helped me. Sometimes it feels like people don't view a 7 week (in my case) baby as a baby but to me it was. Just knowing people are trying to understand and not pushing to get over it helps.

I can only talk from my experience, everyone is different. Good luck and the fact you have asked for advice shows how much you care!

I wish your SIL the best.

pinkandyellowbutterfly Mon 11-Mar-13 22:31:53

Guys, just wondering if any wise and brave people out there who have been through miscarriage or supported someone through it could give me some advice on how to offer support to my sister in law. She miscarried at 9 weeks after trying for a long time. She's fairly closed off and has her husband for support but I just have that frustration of wanting to help but not sure how. I am aware that nothing anyone does or says can take away whats happened but was just after any pearls of wisdom that someone kind might have.

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