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What to say to a dear friend who has had a mc

(12 Posts)
kenobi Thu 04-Nov-10 15:16:45

I do hope someone here can help me, and I hope posting this here isn't thoughtless or rude, please tell me if it is and I will take the post down.

My friend went to her 12 week scan to discover the embryo's heart had stopped, then had to have a chemical induction. I know all this from her DH who is also a very good friend (I introduced them).
She texted me to say she had mced and I called her back but she wasn't answering her phone. she sent a lovely thank you for me message by text and I I texted her again to say there I was there for her day or night. She has not been in touch since (2 weeks). Should I call/text her again? I don't want to harrass her but I want her to know I am thinking of her.
And if I do talk to her, should I bring it up or wait for her to talk to me?
I have an 11 month old dd, do I talk about her as I would normally or is that thoughtless?
I am very close to her and know her well, but I am a naturally tactless person and my instincts can lead me astray.
I am absolutely heartbroken for her and her DH, she is 37 and the pregnancy was very much wanted.

spilttheteaagain Thu 04-Nov-10 16:12:53

So sorry to hear about your friend's loss. You sound very considerate and kind.

Having just lost my baby at 20 weeks my experience (medically speaking) may be slightly different to your friend's so I'm not sure what she'll have just been through.

I expect she didn't answer the phone because she wasn't able too. I couldn't speak to anyone for days, especially not about the loss as I would just dissolve into tears if I tried to talk about it. I really appreciated receiving cards from people (and emails/texts, but the cards make nice keepsakes when you don't have many memories of your baby). It meant I felt like people cared, but I wasn't expected to respond. I would send a card, and follow up with the "thinking of you, no pressure but if you'd like me to pop over/phone just say" type texts/emails once or twice a week to let her know you're still available and haven't forgotten.

I really appreciate people talking about my baby (infact, as a big hint I have a photo of my baby's hands up in the living room). It's all I can think about at the moment and so I find small talk etc almost unbearable. Don't be afraid to mention her baby and her loss - you won't be reminding her of something she has forgotten about and upsetting her, she'll be thinking about it anyway. And please don't be uncomfortable if she cries - again, you haven't upset her and crying helps.

I find at the moment it takes me a long time to articulate my feelings so do leave big pauses if she's starting to talk about it all and let her have the space to work it through a bit. She will probably repeat herself a lot, explaining the same feelings, describing the same events several times. Just keep listening, she'll need time to process what has happened to her.

Refer to her baby rather than her embryo. I have to confess to having viscious thoughts about people who called my baby a fetus - it felt like they thought the loss was less significant then. (I am sure that's not what you meant, but I certainly am super sensitive!)

And as a tip, here are some top awful things to say - avoid these!
-"At least you can get pregnant"
-"You can try again/have another"
-"There must have been something wrong"
-"It's nature's way..."

Just tell her you are so sorry/don't know what to say/you are shocked/it's awful etc. Basically if you wouldn't say something to someone suffering a bereavement of a spouse/parent etc don't say it to her!

Good luck smile

emptyshell Thu 04-Nov-10 16:24:48

Like said before - let her know the door's open, and pretty much you'll have to let her come to you. I'm only just returning socially type phonecalls now - and that's since mid-September.

Don't belittle her loss, it's not just a blob of cells, it's not "just one of those things" - to her it's a very loved ball of hopes, dreams and the future that she's lost, and her child.

It might be she just needs to shut off for a while from the world - I'm still on an "existence" rather than "living" footing now.

KTDace Thu 04-Nov-10 17:37:09

I agree with what the other posters have said.

If she doesn't want to speak to you at the moment it doesn't mean she won't need you in the not so distant future. What I have found hurtful is that people send nice texts to begin with but a couple of weeks down the line they expect you to be back to normal and to have moved on.

Agree with what not to say, also don't say it'll be ok next time.

Just let her know you are there if/when she wants to talk and when she does call/text/email you tell her again how very sorry you are. Of course your life goes on so you must act normal, but sensitive, with her.

You are a lovely friend to be even thinking all this through, sadly most of my friends have not been so lovely and now on top of a MC I am feeling very lonely.

littlewish Thu 04-Nov-10 18:49:52

kenobi I also agree with the other posts here. Keep letting her know you are thinking of her. When you do get in touch talk about the MC, if she cries let her cry, dont just say "are you ok" and then move on to trivial chat.

You sound like a nice friend to have.

kenobi Fri 05-Nov-10 10:37:43

Thank you so much everyone, I really appreciate you replying.
Thank you also spiltthetea for the list of things not to say.
emptyshell - your email made me well up, even though it wasn't my baby I was so excited for her. It's the loss of what could have been that's so damn heartbreaking.

And also that saying embryo/foetus not baby is belittling the loss. I totally get that - I was trying not to be emotive but that's very daft when everything is so emotional.

Huge, HUGE bear hugs to you all.
And an extra squashy one for you KTDace.

xxx

emptyshell Fri 05-Nov-10 14:55:57

My MIL sent us flowers with a message along the lines of, "nothing we can say will make things any easier but we wanted you to know we were thinking of you" - it was really appreciated when they showed up... ok, so it made me cry, but everything makes me cry even now!... and I used to be such a toughie too!

OrangeToeNails Mon 08-Nov-10 18:44:45

You sound like a good friend and I agree with everyone else. And I loved the flowers and texts, they really helped.

The one thing I'm struggling with now is a kind of loneliness, my friends don't want to talk about it, and if I bring it up they change the subject to something more 'cheerful'. So an ear when she is ready will be very welcome I imagine

Northernlurker Mon 08-Nov-10 18:50:10

Two of my friends have lost babies in utero. In both cases I have sent cards saying amongst other things that I WILL remember their child. That they are part of our circle and we won't forget them. I hope that is of some use - remembering may be painful but forgetting is truly awful.

emptyshell Mon 08-Nov-10 18:58:31

Any acknowledgement people realize what we've lost is amazing to be honest. You get so much of the really insensitive blob of cells/oh least you didn't get to know them/oh well you weren't very far gone anyway/oh well you can always babysit for mine when you want a cuddle-type comments that anything else is a breath of fresh air.

The pain goes on for a long long time, it comes back when you least expect it - just be tolerant when it's a day it still hurts, even if it's 3-4-5 months down the line. One of the most hurtful things hubby said, and one he regrets now, was after our first loss, "I've had three weeks of you being miserable over this, you need to get over it now." He was just lost for something to do and tried his best - but that was like a massive slap in the face for me.

neolara Mon 08-Nov-10 19:11:06

I've had 4 miscarriages. To be honest, I think just about the only thing you can say which might not potentially cause offence is "I'm very sorry." And then something along the lines of "Life's just completely crap sometimes". Then ask some kind of leading question to see if she wants to talk about it further e.g. "How are you doing?"

It does get better, but the early days can be pretty raw.

kenobi Tue 16-Nov-10 08:58:55

Hi everyone,

The friend in question suddenly got back to me on Sat and said that she and her DH were going out for cocktails that eve as she wanted to dress up and stop feeling like an 'Italian washerwoman'. I realised that that evening wasn't going to be a chat sort of time (she wanted to go to a noisy bar) so I think she was trying to stall any serious conversation about it all. I did say one more time on the phone that I was heartbroken for her and blurted out inarticulately that words couldn't describe how utterly rubbish it all was. See I told you I was cr*p! She seemed to appreciate it. But that probably says more about how lovely she is than me saying the right thing!

We had two cocktails and chatted normally for an hour and a half, then her DH, who is normally a 'love schmuv' kind of guy but had been sitting very close to her all night, bundled her into the car and drove her home.

I think it's now beholden of me not to bring it up again but reading all your posts I think I will stay very aware that she hasn't recovered just like that and is probably putting on a brave face, and be there for her.

Thank you all so much again. Huge hugs.

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