Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
| Matthew 5:4 |
After your friend or loved one experiences loss through miscarriage, you may hesitate in how to respond. I have found that the Lord often fulfills the promise in the verse mentioned above by using His children to comfort those who are hurting. Of course He can comfort you with His peace that surpasses your understanding, but many times He'll send someone with just the right thing to say or do at just the right time that brings deep comfort.
For some reason, miscarriage is attached to an awkward stigma, so people often wonder, "Should I even do or say anything?" It seems as if many people think miscarriage isn't really a loss. But you should definitely say something, and depending on how well you know the couple who's experienced this loss, you should also consider doing something.
I am an overly sentimental person (e.g. my best friends Abby + Melissa included body wash in a care package from my first loss and I saved the empty bottle), so anything I receive around the time of my loss reminds me of my loss and brings comfort. Women who experience miscarriage most likely don't have too many keepsakes from their pregnancy because their loss was earlier than other types of child loss, so gifts after the loss are especially appreciated and help to comfort the empty void in their heart.
Here is a list of different things I received after my losses or that I think would be appreciated by women going through a miscarriage. Keep in mind also that she isn't going to be over this in a week; every month around the time her loss occurred (especially before her due date) can be hard. Sending something to her two or three months after her loss will let her know you haven't forgotten her pain and that you're still there for her.
My best friends, Abby + Melissa, dropped off a little care package the day of my surgery that included the coziest blanket ever. I didn't know how much I'd love receiving a blanket until I did. Since I don't have a blanket that my baby was wrapped in, or that I received at a shower in anticipation of my child being born, I love that I have a blanket now that I associate with this baby. It's perfect to snuggle up with on days when I'm feeling especially sad. A great place to find a cozy, fuzzy blanket is Marshall's or TJ Maxx.
- COZY PAJAMA PANTS + FUZZY SOCKS
Abby + Melissa also included the cutest pair of pajama pants in my little care package. For my first loss they included fuzzy socks. I love these pajama pants; they're super soft and adorable and perfect to lounge in as I lay around each day healing from surgery. Once again, just like the blanket, I know that on days when I'm feeling especially sad I can put on my adorable PJs, cozy socks, and curl up with my blanket.
- HOME COOKED MEAL
It's just what you do for people after a loss. You may be thinking, "but she can still cook, it's not like she's in pain..." but even if she's not, who cares? If someone's grandmother passes away, physically they're fine, but you know a home cooked meal will bring comfort. Also, if she did have to have surgery, she probably is sore and unable to cook. My doctor doesn't want me lifting anything more than five pounds for four weeks after surgery, so I have to take it easy. Plus I'm just sad and I don't feel like cooking. My parents brought over one of my favorite meals and desserts the night of my surgery. It was so nice having it available throughout the week to just warm up in the microwave and enjoy.
- A CUTE MUG + TEA*
Over two months after my first miscarriage, my friend Leah sent me an adorable mug that says "Awesome Mom" on it with an adorable floral print all over. I literally sobbed after I opened it. If your friend or loved one has no living children she may be questioning if she's even a mom, giving her a mom mug lets her know you consider her to be a mother and it will mean so much.
Tea is just a comforting gesture. Abby + Melissa included the most delicious chamomile lavender tea in my care package. If your friend or loved one had to have surgery, she most likely had a tube in her throat and would really appreciate some tea to soothe her sore throat. A great place to find a cute mug is Marshall's or TJ Maxx.
- A PRETTY JOURNAL*
Journaling is so therapeutic for me. Writing out your thoughts as your process your grief can be so helpful and having a pretty journal just makes it better. After my first loss I used a pretty thin journal and ended up regretting the fact that I hadn't chosen a journal with more pages because I wrote so much the first month or two. A great place to find adorable journals is Marshall's or TJ Maxx.
- REMEMBRANCE JEWELRY OR ETSY GIFT CARD*
I'd be very hesitant to pick out the jewelry myself and would rather give the mother a gift card so she can pick out her own piece of jewelry to honor her child. But it all depends on the woman; if you feel like you know her well enough, go for it! A birthstone is always appreciated but here are some reasons it may be difficult to pick out the piece without her opinion: Some women want a birthstone for the month they lost their child, some want one for the month of their due date; some women name their children and might want an initial included but some are private about that and you may not know she named her children or she may not want that information on a necklace; there are thousands of options on Etsy and she just might appreciate getting to look through all of the options herself and picking her absolute favorite.
After my first loss I ordered this necklace. Around the time of my due date for my first little one I ordered this hammered gold bar necklace -- on the front it says "hope" and on the back it says "momma" with a little heart. After my second loss I ordered this necklace with September and November birthstones.
- PANDORA CHARM OR GIFT CARD
If she already has a Pandora bracelet, a charm may be easier to pick out and is something she can easily return, but if you're unsure, just go with a gift card. Some ideas include birthstone charms, mother charms, heart charms, letter charms if she named her child, or a charm to symbolize her motherhood or baby.
Just like dropping off a home cooked meal as you would for any other loss, sending flowers shows you acknowledge the family's loss. Maybe you can include forget-me-nots or flowers the colors of birthstones from the loss month and due date month. You could also include a gift card to Etsy so the mother can have jewelry made from the dried flowers you send her from this shop.
- A CARD
A sympathy card is another way to validate the loss and to let the family know you are thinking of them. It's something she can look back on during a rough day and find encouragement through your thoughtful words. Avoid saying things happen for a reason, that God has a plan, that one day she'll hold a baby in her arms, or that you understand how she feels (unless you've also had a miscarriage). Instead tell her that your heart is breaking for her, you're praying for her, you can't imagine how she feels, that you'll always be there even ten years from now to help bear this burden, and that you love her and will never forget her sweet little one.
- GRIEVING THE CHILD I NEVER KNEW
This is a wonderful devotion written by a bereaved mother. I loved working my way through this book; it prompted me to process questions I wouldn't have otherwise and talk to the Lord about things I didn't realize were buried deep in my heart. Not to mention, the cover is beautiful and there are prayers in the back for her (or you) to pray.
- AN ENCOURAGING PRINT*
After my first miscarriage I loved the quote, "I carried you for every second of your life and I will love you for every second of mine." My sweet best friend, Julie, sent me a print of that quote in a beautiful frame. She may also like a scripture print with the promises of heaven beautifully displayed to encourage her to keep walking in faith despite her unanswered questions and sorrow. There are so many options all over the Internet, but I have quite a few in my own shop; some prints are quotes specific to loss and some are scriptures that have inspired me as I walk through my own losses. I've included how each quote and scripture impacted me during my loss in the description of items in my shop.
- A STUFFED ANIMAL
This is similar to the blanket in that a soft stuffed animal is something she can hold as she misses her baby. During both pregnancies, my husband bought a stuffed animal for the baby. Once we lost our babies the stuffed animals became so comforting to me.
- A SHADOW BOX
My sister happened to give me a shadow box at my wedding shower that I never used simply because I didn't have anything I wanted to put in it. I had forgotten about it and found it several months after my first miscarriage in a closet. Now it's on my bedside table filled with ultrasounds, quotes, pregnancy tests, and hospital bracelets. A great place to find a shadow box is craft stores or places like Marshall's and TJ Maxx.
- HAND-LETTERING WORKBOOK OR COLORING BOOK
I had ordered The Daily Lettering Journal from The Prairie Letter Shop a few days before I miscarried. It showed up the day of my surgery. Since all I could do was rest the first few days after my surgery it was the perfect thing to have. If you're not sure if she'd like a hand-lettering workbook, maybe an adult coloring book would be appreciated. There are even ones specifically for grief.
- AN ORNAMENT*
It doesn't even matter if the loss happened around Christmas, you can give her one now, or better yet, wait until the holidays when she may be struggling with her loss more than usual. My sister-in-law gave me an ornament for Christmas, which was a little over a month after our loss. I was still so sad by the time Christmas came around that I wasn't looking forward to celebrating, it was so hard. But receiving this simple ornament that acknowledged our baby was my favorite gift. You can also order personalized ornaments on Etsy with the baby's name if the parents chose to name their child.
Please comment and share things people did for you that you especially loved and brought comfort to you during such a sad time!
* If you are wanting to send multiple items to your loved one who's just experienced a loss, my best friend, Melissa, and I have an Etsy shop called Burden Bearing Baskets where we sell grief care baskets. If you're not a shopper or are worried you might pick the wrong thing, we'd love to help you. Each basket is put together with your specific loved one in mind and prayed over. Melissa and I have both experienced loss and feel called to help bear the burdens of others.