It may sound cliche, but there no words that can ease the pain of losing an unborn child. I don’t believe there are words that can truly ease any grief. The expressed sympathies are just words, and those words won’t make the mind stop racing, heart stop stinging, or the stomach stop reeling.
In summary: there is nothing anyone can say that will make it better.
However, my husband and I are blessed with a loving family and a doting group of friends. While none of them were able to flip a switch to turn off the suffering, these are some of the things that made us feel supported:
1. They listened.
While I was agonizing over the news that I had miscarried, not to mention several days of “pregnancy limbo” before that miscarriage was confirmed, I had a lot of things to say. When I wanted to talk, I had friends and family that let me speak without any fear of judgment or discomfort. I wasn’t talking because I wanted advice; I wanted to work through my thoughts. I wanted someone to listen. I was blessed in that I, mid-conversation, could go down the road of talking about my miscarriage and my friends and family would accept me with a welcoming tone.
2. They weren’t the ones who brought it up.
A few days after I had my D&C procedure, we had a couple of friends over for dinner. We didn’t talk about the miscarriage even once. Had either my husband or I wanted to, we could have mentioned it. It was nice to feel a small sense of normalcy after a traumatic week.
3. They visited.
My mother drove 100 miles each way to our house twice the week of my miscarriage. She cooked for us, sat with us, and kept my husband company while I was in the hospital having a D&C procedure. The day after my procedure, my mother-in-law came out and made chicken enchiladas and cut and dyed my hair. No one expected us to really host, but they wanted to fill our home with some extra love.
4. They sent flowers (and one even sent ice cream.)
Our home was filled with flowers from friends and family. I adore flowers and the way they bring some sunshine and happiness to a space. On another note, one of my girlfriends sent me two pints of Ben & Jerry’s via Uber Eats. (Note: I don’t recommend making a habit out of eating your feelings, but it was therapeutic.)
5. They didn’t give unsolicited advice.
Our loved ones knew that nothing they could say that would make it better. They left the advice and medical explanation to my doctors. Instead of hypothesizing about the how and why of the miscarriage, they offered personal anecdotes, uplifting stories, and reminders of their love for us. Even though the words themselves couldn’t ease the pain, the outpouring of love grounded us and and helped us work through the grieving process.