Out of all the questions that I get asked, the most frequent one, and the one most difficult to answer is:
"My friend just lost a baby.  What can I do to help?"

I love this question and I hate this question.

I love it because of the heart behind it.  The willingness to help.  The wanting to do and say the right thing.

I hate this question because it stems from such loss.  From helplessness.  But most of all, because often I don't know how to answer it.

I feel like I should know the answers.  That I should have the perfect three step plan to fix everything.  But even being through what I have been through, helping friends and strangers through similar situations, I often feel helpless too.

I could write a big old book about what not to say.
Because believe you me, I have heard some crazy out of the mouths of people trying to bring comfort.

The worst part about it, is that I remember the awful words often more than the truly good ones.

Want to know the one that tops them all?  The one that nearly got my friend a punch in the face?  The one that still haunts me?

The one that I want to make sure that nobody ever, ever, ever says to anyone?  Ever?

Let me preface this by stating that I truly believe that she thought she was being comforting.  That somehow her words would help me in my grief and questioning.  I also don't think she thought through what she was about to say before the words came rushing out of her mouth.
She should have.  But she didn't.  Haven't we all done that?  Said incredibly ignorant and stupid things without thinking?  I know that I am guilty.  Multiple times.

Here it goes.  Brace yourself.

"Maybe God doesn't think you and Jason are ready to be parents yet."

Say it with me.... OH NO SHE DIDN'T!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She did.  She said that.  As she held her newborn.  To me.  In an attempt to care for my broken heart.  Unless God personally calls you on the phone and commands you to tell those words to another person.  YOU DON'T.  Ever.  Ever.  Ever.  Did I take those words to therapy?  Heck yes.  Lots of therapy.  I am all for therapy.  Therapy and filters.

But I remember so much good too.
The friends who didn't try to answer questions.  Who didn't try to fix us.  Who prayed.  Who called.  Who brought us meals.  Cupcakes.  Sent us away for the weekend.  Who weren't afraid to stick around when things didn't go back to normal after a couple of weeks.   Friends who still remember Joy's birthday after all of these years.

That is the kind of person that I want to be when people in my life are hurting.  I want to walk into the difficult places with them and bring comfort.  Not pain.  Strength.  Not solutions.

My friend Jeannett is hosting a beautiful series on her blog Life: Rearranged that has been quite soothing to my heart.  I offered to write a post about the do's and don'ts of helping a friend dealing with pregnancy and infant loss.  But I need your help.  Please let me know things that you have done for friends, or that friends have done for you that helped through your dark seasons.  Healing words.  Helpful actions.  I have just as much to learn as any of you do.   

I want to be a better friend to those hurting.  Share your heart, your knowledge, your experience.

I honestly believe that none of our tears are ever wasted.

Thank you friends.



121 Comments

  1. Thank you for such a well written post. I have lost two pregnancies.

    The day after I lost the baby, an Aunt of mine called and told me how much better it was that I lost the baby before I could get attached to it.

    Her words hurt me for years and then I came to realize, she just did not know what to say but wanted to say something that would make it all better.

    Thank you for posting! I hope it helps someone realize that we have just had our hopes and dreams taken from us and while we do not need fancy words, we just need a friend who will stand by us.

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  2. While I have never personally found myself in a position where myself or a friend has lost a baby, I read an article on Yahoo a few months back that discussed it. I desperately searched for it just now (but came up empty-handed). It was about 3 men involved in professional sports (I believe it was baseball) who all knew each other and within a year all three of their wives experienced miscarriage or still-birth. The one man mentioned that something someone had told him after his loss that greatly comforted him was "God loved your baby so much he wanted her home with Him right away." I thought that was a beautiful thing to say in a time where words probably aren't much comfort.

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  3. When my son and Mom where going though cancer treatment my bestest friend my cousin sent me very simple card she made..1 piece of card-stock in her own handing writing it said
    "I am here to listen to you" and then in the corner she wrote her work, phone number..even though I have those numbers..that was 5 years ago and I still carry that card with me.

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  4. Thank you for this post. I have lost 2 pregnancies. And it is always hard. Its hard to know what to say to people when they don't know what to say to you. Its hard to know what to say to someone when they are going through this difficult time. But one of the things that helped me the most was when a sweet friend of mine left me a hibiscus plant on my front door. It was beautiful and represented life. And the life of the children I have, and I could plant it and watch it grow. Hope this helps

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  5. When someone I know is going through a hard time, I try to put myself in their shoes and asky myself "What would I want/need?" then follow through. I've also learned that a simple "I'm so sorry" is words enough...

    Specifically on pregnancy loss...since my own daughter was stillborn almost 8 years ago, I've started a ministry called Tiny Purpose and we try to help families and friends navigate this heartbreaking loss. You can find out more about us at www.tinypurpose.com.

    Blessings to you all and I love your blog and your transparency!

    Alaina Hiatt
    alaina@tinypurpose.com

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  6. I unfortunately have a couple girlfriends who have had to deal with a loss of a baby and one who had an amazing pregnancy, but gave birth to a baby who now has extensive brain damage with no known cause for the damage.

    This all happened in a matter of months for us and it was challenging for us as friends to support them through the process because we really didn't know or think we could be of any support.

    As a parent our hearts went out to them and we did everything we could to be there for them... many times without any words being said. We took care of the funeral so they didn't have to as it was too much for them to bare. We dropped off meals on some days when it was too much for them to bare as a couple, my husband would take the dad and go for a drive while I stayed and cried and prayed with mom.

    When they needed their space, that's exactly what we gave them, but when they needed a friend, we were there to listen, to cry, to pray. For our friends who had their baby, we were there with them at the hospital and we prayed over their baby for months. We prayed over the medical staff at sick kids and we brought over food, clothes, books... anything we could. As most of their time was spent at the hospital, we took care of things at home for them. Lawn care, laundry, bills etc ... it was a long couple of months but what are friends for right?!?

    I think when it comes down to it, we just need to treat others the way we would want to be treated if we were in their shoes. But of course, everyone deals with trauma differently so knowing what they need whether it be space, time, prayers, love, laughter, tears, a hug or just a shoulder to lean on ... I think the important thing is that they know you're there for them no matter what and that you're not there to critizie, answer, or give advice but to be a friend.

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  7. I was able to find the article. http://www.thepostgame.com/features/201101/billy-donovans-secret-sorrow

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  8. I personally never have an idea of what to say. I will tell them I am sorry and a good hug and offer up my prayers but that is it...I am rather clueless of what to say. Someone I know lost a baby and a friend gave her this little crystal on a thing nylon line and she told the family to hang it somewhere where it catches the light and there was this whole write up/poem about that child being a rainbow in their life. As a photographer, I have photographed three families so far with lost children...two were preschool age and the last family was a full term baby. We mae sure to not only take pictures with a picture of the baby and/or a special thing/blanket/toy, but I also give the parents time alone to reflect on their little ones and when they think I am just giving them a moment with the picture/special toy or blanket, I also take pictures of them and it really captures how much they loved him/her.

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  9. I have no answers for offer. I think the best thing to do is express your love for them and say little about the baby or why such a tragedy occurred. I know we struggle to give some solace and reason. However, we don't know why. Time doesn't always heal. Tomorrow is not always better. This too will not pass quickly enough. My foot has been in my mouth many times--always with the best intention. Pray to know what to do. I'm sure your presence and love will radiate. Such a difficult lesson to learn.

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  10. I follow your blog because of how you have shared your loss. I too have lost kids. Three are waiting for us in heaven. And the youngest were twins who will be 22 y/o this fall. I held them while they lived. I held them as they saw Jesus face-to-face. There are days the pain still brings tears. After all these years!

    I get this question too because I've walked the path. Too often. I hate that I'm called to help!

    I suggest letting the parents talk about the baby. I suggest they say the baby's name. It is sweet balm to hear others talk of my baby. Listen, listen, listen. No advice! Hugs & ears. That is all you need!!

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  11. I don't have the "what to say" but have a "what not to say"...because it was said to me and I did not understand how it was supposed to help.
    "Well, at least you already have a child."
    So I should be ok with losing one because I already have one...sure.

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  12. Hello. This past January my brother and his wife lost their son after two months of ups and downs in the hospital. I had no words, nothing to say; but we scrambled to get the money so I could fly out there and be with the family for a few days. We didn't talk about it unless he wanted to. I helped take care of the other kids, did laundry, dishes, whatever they needed me to do. And sometimes we just sat on the couch together in silence. He told me later that just being there was way better than anything I could have said or anything I could have given.
    That, and remembering the baby too is important. Calling your friend on the anniversary of the loss of their child (even the 2-month anniversary) and so on, "just to talk" lets them know you care.
    Hope this helps. It has been very helpful to me to read the other comments and your post as well.

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  13. One of my best friends miscarried at 3 months... just after telling her family and friends. She told me that people said a lot of hurtful things in an attempt to comfort them or tell them to move on (!). Then she simply cried and told me that no one eulogizes a 3 month old fetus. So I sat down and wrote a eulogy. I wrote a letter to this child to let her know that she was wanted and would be missed. That was the hardest thing I have ever written, but I think the best thing for my friend was that it wasn't a quick pat on the back or a sense that everyone else can continue as if it never happened. She knows that I already loved that baby too and mourned the loss of who that baby would become. She knew I wasn't just saying the words.

    This same friend has finally become pregnant again (3 years, a bout of thyroid cancer, 2 IVF cycles, and much much chaos later... and it happened naturally -- yea God!). And she confessed that she didn't know if she could be happy about it. She's afraid that if she is happy, she'll lose it. But she's also afraid that if she isn't happy, that God will take it away from her. I told her I understood what she meant, but someone needs to take the risk to be happy. And that she cannot stop me from being the one to do that. I will be happy and pray for that baby every chance I get! She cried and thanked me.

    So if anyone has some extra prayers to offer, please say one for my friend and her baby.

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  14. People say the craziest things sometimes, and I am sure I have done it too - maybe in a situation that I am not as familiar with as loss. (I got the you aren't ready to be parents yet too, but because of infertility - which on top of losses is just, you know, awesome).

    I think the most important thing is to be sensitive to, and respect, how the parents want to grieve. Just because something helped me, it doesn't mean it will help them. Support them in their grief . . . sometimes that just means saying "I am so sorry, I wish I could help take some of this pain for you." And then being available - letting them know you are available, even if it isn't verbally.

    And prayer. That is the most important thing you can do.

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  15. I once read something that still resonates with me about a man suffering from depression. He was in such a dark space that he wasn't even able to talk. He reported that scores of people came to see him with advice, food, books, etc, but nothing helped. What penetrated his heart was a friend who came once a week and washed his feet. He didn't speak to him or try to fix anything, he was just present in a way that was tangible and solid. I love the idea of not fixing anything but just giving of yourself in a manner that is gentle and loving.

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  16. I have heard so many horror stories about people saying the wrong thing that I find myself staying away... saying nothing. All I want to do is give a big hug and cry with them but I am so afraid of causing more pain. Here I am perpetually pregnant with 5 healthy babies... I've never suffered a loss... The thought terrifies me and I feel like the worst friend ever.

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  17. What I want to say to you Julie is that I was probably one of the people who said something insensitive to you at the time and I have looked back on that alot with regret. I was young, childless, and truly just couldn't comprehend the magnitude of what you and Jason had been through. I hadn't known of Joy's story, nor had I ever been in a position to say anything to anyone who had experienced a loss before. No excuses, but I want you to know that I truly did/do care about you and that your loss breaks my heart and I am so happy that you have been able to heal some. Again, I am sorry that I was amongst a group of people you would rather forget. And, thank you for forgiving us.

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  18. Thank you for posting this! I have friends who have gone through this experience, and now clients (I'm a therapist) that are as well. I simply don't ever know what to say other than "I'm so sorry..."

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  19. People do say the craziest things. My baby was born still after a normal pregnancy 19 months ago. I had one man 'get on to me' because I was sad that my baby wasn't with me. He kept saying I should rejoice because she was in Heaven. I tried nicely to explain that I was happy that she was in Heaven, but my mommy heart still misses her. He didn't want to hear any of that...So, I have learned to give grace, because so much grace has been given to me. Sometimes it stings, though.

    I was blessed to have some incredible women in my life that loved on me during that time (and now). I received an email from a dear friend every month anniversary telling me they were praying and encouraging me along. I have had sweet people donate throughout the year to our local crisis pregnancy center in our daughter's name. I have had sweet notes that began, "I don't begin to know how you feel, but I want to tell you..." I love that they acknowledge that they don't know how I feel, because it makes me sad whenever someone who hasn't experienced a loss of a child says, "I know exactly how you feel...etc." Those that come up to me with just tears and no words touches my heart. There is a sacredness in tears.

    Thanks for opening this up...your posts have blessed me so much this past year.

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  20. My sister-in-law had a miscarriage shortly after finding out she was pregnant and she really struggled with how emotional she was over the experience. She confided in me, and felt that because she wasn't far along didn't think she should be so upset. It dawned on me at that moment that there is no such thing as being a little bit pregnant- you either are or you aren't. It doesn't matter if you are 6 weeks along or 6 months along it is still a horrible loss! I think it made sense to her and validated her feeling of being so sad- which she had every right to be.

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  21. This is such a wonderful post and I think it can be and will be so very helpful.

    It has been more than a year since my miscarriage. I am now just 3 weeks away from delivering my 5th baby, the one we got pregnant with 6 months after the one we lost.
    And I still feel sad.

    For me, that was and still is one of the hardest parts. I actually felt like there was a point when I needed to stop being sad, stop mourning, stop greiving, stop missing my baby. I felt like I had no right to continue to feel this way when others had lost so much more than me.

    I wrote this post:
    http://lillyandthebrothers.blogspot.com/2011/02/1-year.html
    about how hard it was to walk through those feelings alone and the sweet, kind words that another woman shared with me about her miscarriage 20 years prior.

    I think one of the most important things we can say to a woman who has lost a baby is that it is OK to be sad. For a really long time. That you will miss that baby always and you are allowed to. Supposed to.
    A year later, ask her how she is doing and let her know you still care. It will help so much.

    And never, ever, say, "well, we just can't understand God's will." Don't even get me started on that one. Just don't say it.

    Truly looking forward to your post.
    Love from,
    Greta

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  22. When I was diagnosed with MS, my SIL and her sister just came to be with me. They didn't call and ask they just came to do the things I couldn't so I could process. This may not always be the best choice, but knowing what your friend/family needs and just stepping in is such a blessing. Unfortunately I have many friends experience infant loss. I have found the best I can offer is myself. Each family already had children and once the Mommas were ready I offered to watch their babies, so they could just get out heal a little. Words of encouragement do wonders when appropriate words are spoken, always let the Lord lead your tongue.

    Love you Jules!

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  23. My friend just lost her baby hours after delivery. I had no idea what to do. I asked another friend who a few months ago lost her baby and she gave me some great advice.

    She said meals, grocery staples, child care are all very much appreciated. Friends that came and just talked and listened and kept her company meant a lot to her. She said the friends that tried to pretend like nothing happened or were too scared to say anything kind of fell out of her life. They weren't there for her when she needed them most.

    One of the gifts she got that she really appreciated was a stamped necklace with her kids names on it. She wears it all the time and loves when people ask her about it. It gives her a chance to talk about her kids and she loves that. She said even months later she wants to talk about her son that passed away.

    I'm interested to read what others have to say.

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  24. I was 16 weeks pregnant when I lost my first born. My baby was a boy. This was back in May 1995. No matter how much time passes, you never forget the pain and the sadness. It might ease as time goes by, but as I write this post right now, my eyes are welling up with tears for the loss of my Wyatt. Yes, I know that he is in heaven with Jesus, and that some day we will join him in heaven, but right now, here on earth, we sure do miss him. I think about him and how he would have been such a good big brother. I miss not knowing him while we are here on earth. Thankfully, we were blessed with a daughter (14) and a son (11). When I miscarried my son I was so distraught. I couldn't imagine my life going on. I didn't want to leave my house, but as time went on and I did have to step outside for different reasons, I was reminded that life was going on around me whether I was aware of it or not. I would say that people not say "you'll have another baby." That was hurtful to me. I wanted this baby, he was unique and not replaceable like a doll would be. Also, don't say, "At least you still have ___ "(my step son.) Again, one child cannot replace another. I would recommend that if people don't know what to say, then the best thing to do is give a hug and say "I'm here for you." or even saying "I don't know what to say." is better than nothing at all. We had a group of friends that we used to go camping with....no one ever called or said anything to us. I think that they didn't know what to say, but it almost appeared to us that our loss was never even acknowledged. That hurt too. Please don't let people tell you that it is God's will. It is not God's will for bad things to happen. Bad things happen here on earth because this is not heaven. Only when we reach heaven will we have true happiness.

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  25. My best friend lost her baby just how you lost your sweet Joy. She was one day past her due date and she went in to be induced and there was no heartbeat. Natalie had flown to heaven before being held by her mother. It was the most devestating day of our lives. The worst thing I heard being said to her was from her sister in law who said "Well at least you still have your son" Like having her firstborn would make it easier to not have Natalie here. If anything it made it harder, she would watch her son and her heart would ache knowing he would never get to know his sister.
    It took my friend 5 years to really open up about what happenend and now we talk openly about Natalie and how much she has changed so many lives. I found that by giving her time and silent comfort that helped her the most after the loss of her baby.

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  26. I lost two pregnncies before I was blessed with my beautiful daughters. Fortuntely, no one said anything to me that was inconsiderate or rude. The best thing people did for me was to take care of the things I didn't feel like doing. Bringing us food, taking care of our house and things like that. My very generous boss gave me two weeks paid time off.

    Recently I have had a few friends who have lost children. A dear friend had a still birth at 34 weeks and another friend lost her two year old son. I was so devastated for them. For my friend who suffered the still birth, I took dinner, made the bow that her daughter wore to be burried in, and had a necklace made with the baby's name on it. I like the idea of remembering the baby's birthday and I am going to add that to my calendar today.
    For my friend who lost her two year old, I had no words. I have a two year old and when I heard the news all I could do was hold my precious baby and cry. I can't imagine what she went through and still goes through every day. I told her that when she was ready I would be honored to take some family pictures for her. She is thrilled. I wish I could do more!

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  27. We have two Glory Babies. My parents and an aunt and uncle sent flowers after the first one (2008) and my grandmother wanted us to buy a tree to plant in memory of our baby. I'm so glad we did; it's a special moment each spring when we see the first blooms and now our 18mo plays under it.

    Last summer, after our second loss, my pastor's family brought supper that night and a dear friend brought supper the next. Another dear couple gave us a gift certificate to our favorite get-away/ restaurant. We were completely humbled and touched by the generosity and thoughtfulness of our friends. None of these had been through this kind of loss but they saw through (or ignored!) my facade of "I'm fine" and looked after our hearts. An aunt who lost her 9 year old son 10 years ago sent a card after a few months, saying she had not forgotten my loss and was still praying fro me. That meant so much!

    Of course, we've had a lot of insensitive comments, too, the worst offenders being, "Maybe there was something wrong with the baby and you're spared all that now." "Aren't you glad it happened earlier than later?" and "You really have a perfect life, you know." This last one was a few weeks after my last loss and I was just beginning to process and grieve and she meant well (maybe didn't even realize what she was saying!) but it hurt for a long time.

    Thank you for this post! Having been through so much in such a short time, I sometimes feel I should know what to do for others in these situations but I don't. Glad to know I'm not the only one.

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  28. I think one of the important things to remember is that we don't lays have to say something. We, as women, feel co peles to talk it out and sometimes the vest thing to do is use what I call the "rule of shut-up." just being there is the best thing sometimes. It shows your friend that no matter how long or how hard the bad times are, you are committed to be there. That you don't have answers, you aren't trying to fix it, and you don't want to, but that you want to be there!
    My friends husband was hit by a car two years ago and paralyzed from the waist down. A lot of people rush in to support and help when the incident happens ( whether loss of a baby, or loss of a spouse, etc..), but so many people taper off and forget that two years later the pain still exists as much as it did two days later. So, be there and don't always feel compelled to open your mouth. Being there can mean so much more than words.

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  29. I have personally lost a baby and know several people who have as well. I think everyone deals with this differently so it is difficult to know what to say. A hug and the words, "I am sorry for your loss" mean a lot. When we start to say more, we may unintentionally touch a nerve. We had many people bring us meals and it was so helpful, I was in such a state of depression it took weeks before I felt like cooking again.

    It is sometimes easier to list the things not to say: "This was God's plan", "Your baby is in heaven now", "There must have been something wrong with the baby". While no one says those with mean intentions, to the parents suffering, it may feel that way.

    As time goes on, acknowledge that you still remember the baby. Even a mother who was pregnant a few weeks had a connection to and loved her baby very much.

    (Sorry for such a long comment)

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  30. My second son was born with congenital heart disease and kidney defect, both of which managed to go undetected on the many ultrasounds I had. He had heart surgery while I was still recovering from my own c-section and complications, and his surgery didn't go as planned, there were many complications and we spent a dark week walking in the valley of the shadow of death. What I remember are the three women who came to the NICU bearing non-hospital food lunch for me who stayed only for the amount of time it took me to eat it, and told me silly stories unrelated to children, babies, or health that made me actually laugh out loud. Laughter in the face of so much sorrow and grief and fear and worry was such a gift. Also, there were others that I never saw who came to my house and deep cleaned, changed sheets, scrubbed toilets, filled my pantry, stocked my freezer, filled my car with gas, and made calls on my behalf so that I didn't have to repeat the story over and over (this was before blogs). And I will never, ever forget the people who said, "I will pray for you," who then immediately grabbed my hands and started praying right then and there, just simple prayers, nothing fancy or eloquent. Hearing "we're praying for you" is nice, along the same lines as "we're thinking of you." But actually being prayed over? Indescribable.

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  31. My brother & his wife lost their son at 6 weeks old in 2007. I know they really like when people talk about Paul and remember the day he was born and the day he passed away. This helps them to know that he was special to not just them and that people still remember. And prayer. LOTS of prayer - and listening, just listen to them talk.

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  32. When a dear friend lost her baby mid-pregnancy, I called another friend who had had the same experience, and I asked what would be the best thing to do....her response was to remember her due date in a special way. She had had one friend who remembered and sent her a very sweet card on that day....she said it meant the world to her that someone else remembered the date that was cemented in her head (you know how all new moms get about their due dates....it is THE day!)...months after her miscarriage, someone else was thinking about them still, praying for all the continued healing & blessings...

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  33. my husband and i had a very difficult time getting pregnant...we lost three babies very early on. and people would say THE DUMBEST things to us. "spend a week with my kids and you might not want any anymore." "aren't you lucky? you get to _________ whenever you want." dumb, dumb, dumb. and what i had to remind myself over and over and over again to prevent myself from punching them in the face is: they WANT to say the right thing. they WANT to say THE thing that makes it all better. they don't realize that those words and phrases don't exist, but they're trying. because they love us.

    i don't know of ANY words that make ANY of it better/easier/okay. but i do know that keeping in mind that their intention is not to hurt me, but to help me...REALLY helped me.

    advice? like you said...filter, filter, filter...think about what you're going to say...and if you're not 100% sure about it--DON'T say it! :-)

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  34. I believe Danielle (your second commenter) was referring to this post
    http://www.thepostgame.com/features/201101/billy-donovans-secret-sorrow#
    it's a good article

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  35. Julie,
    Thank you for sharing your heart and your wisdom :) I too don't remember the good, unfortunately. I do remember one person saying as I was waiting to have the d&c "Well just try not to think about it." REALLY?! My baby that has gone to be w/ Jesus is still inside me and I'm not supposed to think about it?! But the nice memory I do have is my in-laws that came to sit with my husband as I was wheeled back..it was totally unexpected. They just came..

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  36. I don't have time to read through the comments...but here is what i do...

    I hug and say I am sorry.
    I say I will pray for them...and then I do.

    And I once cleaned a friend's bathroom after her loss...she was a neat person, and I knew her house was bothering her...

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  37. Thank you so much for sharing this post. I just passed the due date of the twins and I'm not doing so great with that. You really did therapy? Maybe that would help.... hmmm....

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  38. Three months ago today a dear friend of mine and my co-coordinator in M.O.P.S gave birth to a full term baby girl who was born sleeping.. .. born sleeping. What a odd term. I wonder if that phrase offered any comfort to her at all. I drove to the hospital as soon as I heard with another M.O.P.S friend. We prayed the whole way there. Prayed it was a mistake on the doctors part ( they did a ultrasound before the c section and thats how they found out). We prayed for the right words to say to comfort our friend. I prayed for my own rapid heart beat and anxiety attack to stop before I had to see my friend. ( i was 5 months pregnant). I didnt get to see her that night. But I have seen her many times since. i will be honest, sometimes I just don't know what to say. So I make small talk. I listen to the same story over again. i tell her how impressed I am by the grace she has handled all this with. I hug her when she comes to the MOPS meetings and sees other moms with their new babies. I debated on whether or not I should invite her to my own baby shower.I am scared to post pictures and updates on my blog or facebook that I will hurt her feelings.

    I probably will.
    It breaks my heart. I have panic attacks in the middle of the night thinking about what she must have gone through. How inadequate anything i could do or say truly was. I collected donations, helped set up meals. Called people who needed to know. gave money, bought flowers.But in the end its all kinda meaningless. And I understand that. I think as a friend of someone going through something like this. That is the best thing I can do. Understand that anything i do is masked by grief right now. But do them anyways. And pray. Prayer does indeed change things.

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  39. I read something recently, a comment on a post written by a momma missing her stillborn daughter, that said: "I will have sympathy as long as you have grief."

    I thought that was SO profound and beautiful. To be that committed to someone, to realize that their sorrow was not going to fit into a tidy little timetable.

    I wish someone had said that to me after our second son was stillborn. Two years later, I can see now who stuck it out and is still aware that I'm not where I want to be, but is being patient with me as I heal, but, oh, to have known, at the time, that some people were in it for the long haul....

    That said, DO NOT tell someone that you are going to "be there" for them if you're not. Because going back on your words of support hurt more than not even being there.

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  40. Thank you for your post. It means so much to me to hear from other moms who have lost their babies.

    I had a miscarriage at 10 weeks in January, and had to have a D&C. It was horrible. I don't feel like any of my friends, other than two of them, treated me the way that I needed to be treated. There were many rude comments - this was my fourth pregnancy, and was a big surprise but was VERY wanted - and so many people said to me, "At least you have three other kids. Some people don't even get to have one kid, much less three!" I know this is true, and my heart breaks for those who want to become mothers and who can't for some reason. However, it was not what I needed to hear at ALL. Someone else said to me, "Just channel that love that you had for that baby into your other babies," as if I didn't love them enough or something (?). And if ONE MORE PERSON said to me, "God just needed another angel," I was seriously going to lose it. I think the ONLY thing to say is "I'm sorry. I am praying for you," and to allow the mom to talk, cry, vent, be angry, etc. Saying things like, "Be thankful for the children you have" is SO hurtful.

    All this being said, I know people don't know what to say, and many of the people who said these things I know meant well. I know they did. It doesn't make it any easier, though, to hear it. Thank you for your post (and upcoming post over at Life, Rearranged which I am reading avidly) because I know everyone could use some guidance in this area, including me.

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  41. Can't wait to share what you write. Here are my favorites (as in the ones that really helped):

    from family who also lost a baby: flowers. that's all. just sent flowers.

    from my non-religious friend, a text message: "If I was churchy I'd pray for you...I am so sorry."

    from my friend who is an OBGYN, an email: "well...F@*K!"

    Those are the three that I remember. Those are the three that still make me smile. Each of them helped. Tremendously.

    Together our voices will help women. Women who want to help & those who are seeking comfort to heal. Thanks for talking about this. There is no shame, only room to grow. :)

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  42. & one more thing: the worst thing anyone can do is not acknowledge the loss. even of they don't know what to say, a simple "how are you doing" is all it takes to know they care. Ignoring it is worse than anything.

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  43. my third pregnancy was a miscarriage. i was devastated. a few days after coming home from the hospital my friend jenny came over and looked at me on the couch. i could not move. i could not bear to get up. she took my children to play....she cooked....she did the dishes....and i laid there thinking "get up! don't let her do that for you" get UP!!" but i physically could not. i was so broken. i couldn't even talk. so i laid there and realized what a wonderful friend she was. she did what i could not. she didn't make me talk. or wait until i asked her to help. she just got to work doing mom stuff. and she didn't even have children yet! she just did what was needed. i have loved that moment in my memories for 11 years. she was awesome that day.

    another friend during that time called my husband at work and told him to go home and take care of me. :) she said "she needs YOU. take dinner and get home."
    and he did.
    i felt very cared for by her being brave enough to do that.

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  44. Although I'm not sure if I ever lost a baby or not (it was too early to tell), I know that during the time we were trying to conceive I really really would have appreciated someone offering to let me hold their baby for even a few minutes.
    Babies were constantly being passed to those who were obviously pregnant or had their own children already, and that hurt.

    It would have required no words, and would have meant the world to me.

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  45. I lost my baby almost 5 years ago. I went into deep depression...and became isolated and very angry at everyone.
    One person said to me "You know you're not the only one this has happened to". MAJOR DON'T!

    Most helpful to me were people I didn't know. One dear friend said "I am here for you as much or as little as you need me."
    I felt like she knew I needed space but when I needed her-she was there in a flash.

    Great post- thanks for putting this out there.
    This is a great way to minister to all of us :)

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  46. I loved reading all these comments. And I love that you have shared your sweet story about your Joy.

    I actually just took dinner to a friend last night who just had a D&C on tuesday for a miscarriage. She called me when she was trying to decide whether to have one or to try and miscarry on her own. I went through my own miscarriage almost a year and a half ago. She has thanked me over and over for "just being there to listen to and for caring" I don't think there are very many words that can be said in a time of loss. But making sure to let that person know that you are here for them is probably the best thing anyone can do. I'm so sad that I had to go through my own loss to fully understand this because I know that I wasn't "there" for others I know went through losses.

    I'd also like to say that there is beauty in adversity. I got pregnant just three months after my miscarriage and once my little one finally got here I was so beyond happy for her as well as my other three I already have. I still mourn for my lost one, but the gratidude I have for my others has multiplied! Thanks again for this post!

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  47. I had one son and then two miscarriages. Everyone kept telling me to be thankful for the one I did have instead of focusing on the two I lost. Yes, I was thankful. However, I was still very saddened by the losses. I think a sweet note letting the mama know that you are there for them works best. I also benefitted from other moms letting me know that they have had a loss too and that they were there for me if I needed to talk about it.

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  48. It's so hard to know what to do. One of my closest friends lost twins in her first pregnancy and a single in her second. That Christmas a group of girlfriends went and painted Christmas ornaments to exchange and when I drew her name, I knew that immediately wanted to make something that would represent her babies that she could have on her Christmas tree every year.

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  49. I have goosebumps. My cousin's who is like a sister to me and one of my very best friends just gave birth to a baby boy on May 3rd and he passed away on May 10th. She lives in NY and I live in SC. I literally had just flown back a week before from celebrating at her baby shower. Over the last few weeks, I have reminded her that she is loved. I told her that I know I cant say anything to take away the pain but that I am here for her anytime, whenever. When we talk, I ask her how she is and don't mention anything, I let her bring it up if she feels like it. She is having trouble sleeping and I gave her some ideas to help her sleep such as reading before bed to calm her and give her something other than real life to think about. I gave her book recommendations. When she talked about the physical reminders she has of him, like her still recovering body, iv marks..etc. I told her a great quote that someone told me once and I will never forget. "May time accomplish what no words can do." <3 Eventually, my intentions are to show her your blog...to give her hope. To show her that she can go on to have more beautiful babies...Thanks for writing this post...Reading this today once again showed me that God shows us things sometimes just when we need to see them..

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  50. This is a tough one. I've always thought that it's harder when everyone ignores your loss than to come up with the grace to forgive a misspoken word. That's not to say that I handle it well, but it's something I've worked on. It has been a little over two years since our son was born still and it still stings. Phrases like 'Well, at least you can have more children' burned me up because really, how do you know?. We had our rainbow baby almost 7 months ago and the things people say now can still hurt. When our daughter was in the NICU a nurse asked if we had any other children. When I said yes, but that he was stillborn she brushed me off with "I know about that but...". Friends commented after she was born about being a new mom (I realize this is meant well but I feel like our son made me a mom).

    There is a series on mollypiper.com called 'How to Help Your Grieving Friend' that I related to. We also had great friends who remembered his birthday and sent a note. Sometimes a grieving Mama just wants to hear their child's name spoken and feel like someone else remembers.

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  51. OH NO she didn't is right!!!!! I swear, some people are raised by wolves.

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  52. On January 1 of this year I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Paige. After a perfect pregnancy my husband and I couldn't wait to hold our first child and begin our family. Our world was turned upside down just a few short hours after Paige's birth. Paige was quickly diagnosed with leukimia. A baby born with leukimia? I had never heard of such a thing? And, unfortunately, neither had the doctors. It's extremely rare and soemthing that cannot be detected before birth. Paige lived on life support for 3 days and then on January 4, 2011 she went to be with Jesus.

    There are so many wonderful things that people did for us. There are endless ways they comforted us. Unfortunately, those who say hurtful things are those that stand out. Those friends and family who just showed up and held us, made meals for us, sat with us and cried with us... those are the things I will never forget. We didn't have to ask for anything or for anyone to come.. they just did! Asking a person who just lost a child what you can do to help is kind of a silly question. To be honest we don't know what you can do to help because at that moment we feel so helpless ourselves. Just being there and giving love is so important. My husband and I would never of made it five months without the love and support of our family and friends. Be there rock and love them like you have never loved before!

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  53. I lost a baby at 20 weeks in March.

    The main thing that helped me was I had my sister-in-law come and take over with the kids.

    She let me "hide" from people when I wasn't ready to see them. She took kids to practices and schools while I stayed secluded for a little bit. She let me be in my room when I was having a tough day. I needed to process everything for a bit of time before I was ready to see anyone. I needed to work through the initial loss and her presence let me do that.

    I wrote a blog post 2 weeks ago "Words" about the awful things people said to me, and that's just when I announced I was pregnant with my 4th.It

    http://www.bigdandme.com/2011/05/words/

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  54. I have experienced three miscarriages. I think one of the most difficult things is that many people don't really "count" miscarriage as a loss of a child. It is for my husband and I. We had picked out names, planned nurseries and dreamed and hope for those unborn babies. I had already thought of birthday party ideas and rules about dating and manners. We dreamed and hoped and prayed and longed for them before they were even conceived.
    One comment, which I know in my heart was well intentioned, but hurtful was
    "At least you know you can get pregnant." Correct, but now I also know I can miscarry.
    I am a big believer in leaving it in Gods hand and knowing that he knows best, but having someone tell you that it wasn't meant to be (especially when that person is pregnant themselves) is like they are saying - You aren't good enough to have a baby.

    A friend of mine called me and said "I'm here, no matter what. To listen, to cry, to laugh, to get yelled at if it makes you feel better. You name it, I'm here" That meant a lot and truly helped me through.

    Thank you for sharing your story and giving me a place to go and share mine.

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  56. thank you julie for this beautiful post!!!

    with our ectopic pregnancy - we received a lot of love

    with samuel who i lost @ 6 months - the most touching gestures were : our pastor & wife coming over to our house to pray, a rose bush in honor of samuel (which is in full bloom right now), 2 super powerful books (a grace disguised by spitzer and symphony in the dark by rainey), prayer and listening ears, scripture texted every day.

    meeting for coffee with you was also huge!

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  57. I have said one of those insensitive things "well now you know you can have a baby ..." It killed me for days after when I realized how much that was the wrong thing to say. I finally wrote and apologized for the insensitive comment. She was gracious and pretended not to remember what I'd said.

    If I had the moment to do over I'd giver her a hug and say I'm sorry.

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  58. i don't know if there are ever any 'words' to say that will help in these situations.
    but i believe actions speak SO much louder than words.
    the only thing that really helped me was people actually acknowledging that our baby had died.
    and that it was ok to talk about it.
    don't try to skirt over the issue or pretend nothing happened.
    that is the worst, in my opinion.
    and we lost some friends for a while b/c of it.
    it was just too painful to be with people who never even acknowledged what we were going through. :(

    something else, one of my coworkers at the time stopped by my house a few days later.
    she gave me a gift basket with bubble bath and all sorts of girly things.
    and she just hugged me and loved on me.
    it was so very special.
    it was such a small gesture but meant so much and almost 9 years later i still remember it.
    she was just there.
    back then we weren't super close and that's why it stuck with me.
    now she's one of my best friends.

    just having someone to share your pain with,
    to listen to your heartache
    and to cry with you...
    that is one of the best things.

    the Lord seems to give us these moments so that we can bring peace and love to others.
    i don't regret what happened to me b/c it's softened my heart for so many others dealing with the same thing.
    God uses all these things for a good purpose.

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  59. I too walk the road of unexplained infertility and lost the one and only pregnancy so far in 12 years. We, too have heard it all; and the hurtful things break your heart and keep breaking it.

    Two years before we got pregnant my husband had a spiritual dream in Hebrew that we would get pregnant with a baby boy and we should name him Nathaniel. When he shared it with me, I was surprised. Especially when we researched the name and found it means "Gift of God." More than two years passed before I got pregant. And then I miscarried in the 8th week. Too early for doctor's to know it was a boy, but we knew. His name is Nathaniel and God's gift to us, is now with Him.

    My own parents don't even believe that he was this boy. To top it off, they have a room dedicated to grandchildren with pictures of all their grandkids. Even a late miscarriage of my sister in law has beautiful framed footprints with her name. But they don't recognize Nathaniel. No one remembers when he should have been born.

    I have a beautiful friend who too has walked this road. She sends me a mother's day card every year just to let me know she's thinking of me. No one else does that for me. And it is so touching! I know my child is in heaven and being held and raised by our King and Savior, but it is good to remember being pregnant even though it was for a few short weeks.

    Remembering is huge and meaningful. Giving advice is not. Let us cry, rant, grieve, whatever it takes and love us anyway. Think about how situations with new babies may bring up raw emotions and feelings. Don't dismiss the hurt. Hug, check in, pray, and care...don't try to fix things just be there.

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  60. The worst thing I heard was, 'at least you can get pregnant. You can always try again.' well yes but as soon as I peed on that stick I wanted that baby. I knew for 3 months that I was pregnant. As soon as I saw those two lines I saw my child. I saw my future. I had so much love for this tiny human inside me. It hurt when people said, at least you lost it before you met it, it's so much easier that way. Really? Because you know that right? Argh! People have no filters when it comes to grief

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  61. After miscarrying our miracle first and only pregnancy (which occurred after 11 years of marriage and the adoption of our precious daughter), my (former) doctor said, "If nothing else, this was just a fertility test."

    I think of that everyday. No, it was not a fertility test. It was my baby. I had named her. I knew what she was coming home in and what she was going to wear her first Christmas. I had planned tons of matching outfits for her and her big sister. We daydreamed about her everyday. She was my precious little miracle. NOT a fertility test.
    My aunt who is very dear to me said very firmly when I called her from the doctor's office, "It is going to be OK. It WILL. It will be OK." It never was. It still isn't. It never will be. I can function now. I don't cry everday. But I will never wake up one day and it be OK.
    The best thing anyone said or wrote, "There are no words." Written on a card, signed her name, and made me a casserole. That was the truest thing written or said, and I knew she "got it." There are no words. Still aren't.
    Thanks so much for the manner in which you deal with this topic. It has helped me heal more than you can know. THANK YOU!

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  62. speaking from experience, i think you are right that there isn't necessarily a right thing to say, but there are lots of wrong things to say. sadly, i do remember some of the wrong things people said, but i also remember the people who were just . . . there. people who were there to cry, talk about nothing, bring food, get me out and about, watch mindless tv, give a hug, not give a hug, and so on. i think that is the best thing you can do-just be there. sometimes, words cannot express . . .

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  63. Love your words. Strength and companionship are key, answers are not. It always reminds me of Job. It's just better sit with a friend and BE instead of trying to give answers that don't exist.

    I had one miscarriage and it was hard, but it was really early and I didn't have to deal with a lot of people knowing. However I did have a friend lose her twin boys and I was pregnant soon after. THAT WAS HARD. REALLY HARD. I remember her telling me to my face that she hated pregnant ladies and overanalyzed all of their actions as being unworthy of being pregnant. That was hard to hear, BUT her pain was harder. WAY HARDER. So I let her just talk. I remember sitting in a car in the rain with her and just nodding my head and listening and hugging and crying with her. I remember just wanting to hide my belly to stop her from hurting.. but I couldn't. What I could do is just what I did. Listen and love. And isn't that what Christ commands us to do? Support and listen? He doesn't ask us to give answers.. He doesn't even give answers all of the time.. but he's always there.. holding us in His big comforting hands and telling us that he will use EVEN THIS for the good of those who love Him. If that's not a comfort, I'm not sure what is! :)

    Love your blog. Love your ministry.. even if you call it a blog. ;)

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  64. i had 2 micarriages and have had many friends lose babies, have still borns and even several who have lost older children (not really lost, we know where they are)... the thing that always comforts me is Psalm 139. Nothing added. I take such comfort in the simple Word of God. So thankful that before ONE day of ours comes to be, he knows it completely. thanks for sharing!

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  65. The worst was someone telling me that I "needed to get over it." Yep, that was said...to ME shortly after losing one of my babies.

    I have lost six babies, so I have heard all sorts of comments. That one though still gets me.

    The one that helped immensely was in a card from a friend's sister. She wrote Psalm 139: 13 - 18. I took solace in knowing that God was there with me, that He knew my baby and my baby was in Heaven with Him.

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  66. I think the most healing thing isn't words at all, but people who are willing to just BE with those who grieve, and carry that pain alongside them. Its agonizing to just sit and offer your presence to someone who is suffering so greatly, but if we can find the courage, it is the greatest gift we can offer. There truly are no words. Jesus in the garden as he awaited His own death asked His dearest friends to just be with Him. We can sit with those who suffer, share in the tears, hold a hand, feel the pain with them. It was those times that brought healing to me.

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  67. I wanted to say thank you for opening up your comments. So many cool bloggers only take comments from people with gmail accounts (which I neither have nor want). So, thanks.

    I am guessing if your friend knew how painful/awful her words made you feel she would be aghast at what that translated to for you.

    Sometimes in our rush to help bandage a gaping wound we only focus on stopping the bleeding rather than on all the areas where the body is hurting.

    Again, thank you for letting the lurkers comment this time.

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  68. After losing four, these are some ones that have comforted me.

    I'm sorry. Its not your fault.
    You have beautiful treasure in heaven.
    You are NOT barren (this one has been oddly comforting to me, the enemy, doudt, fear, rejection, want to mess with your heart and mind)

    I have had friends come over to just pray for me. I've had friends speak The Word over me.

    I think speaking life is so important.

    I too have also received the " It just wasn't their time." I think that only helps the person saying it. But not on the receiving end.
    Someone said that to me about my 37 week old daughter.I basically said " No, it WAS her time and she was robbed." Yeah, she was stunned that I said that, but I believe it. I fought for my daughters life. I asked God to bring her back to life for five hours. I looked foolish in the eyes of man but I was her mother and I felt like I had the right to ask.

    One that has really comforting is that "Your greatest struggle will be your greatest victory." God will always speak life over you in the midst of death.

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  69. After losing my baby at 10 weeks, the line that started to get on my nerves the most was, "it just wasn't meant to be." I finally snapped at someone and said, "no s&*#, Sherlock! If it was, my baby wouldn't be dead." Oh, that poor woman - she didn't mean any harm by it.
    My hubby and I were seeing a counselor together, and the greatest gesture was a gift from him and his wife: the book, "Tear Soup." It's a lovely little picture book about how different people grieve in different ways. I keep a couple copies on hand to give to people during times of grief.

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  70. Even though I don't really know if we were pregnant or not because it was so early on but the first pregnancy test showed pale line and we announced, it was our first, and than right after I took another test and it was negative, and shortly I got my period. But trust me 2 weeks was enough for me and my husband to fantasize about the baby to be, boy or a girl we already started to pick out names and planning our future with the baby, it was a very real thing in our heads. We were so young and not to smart to announce the pregnancy so early before we I even missed the period so it was very painful to unannounced the pregnancy. The worst comment we got was from my MIL. It could of been her fist grandchild and she said, don't worry my other son( he was the only other child that was married at the time) and his wife will get pregnant soon and give us a grandchild. It was one of those " OH NO SHE DIDN'T" moments, until this day i still can't believe she said that to a weeping newly wed who thought she was pregnant and no longer wasn't....but I forgave her and moved on from there, and had 3 beautiful children, I just wish that she realized that it was the stupidest thing to say, but I never talked to her about it so I'll never know.

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  71. my heart always breaks in that situation. I'm no expert and since most of my friends aren't even considering families yet I haven't had the exact circumstance come up (thankfully). But my best friend's other best friend gave birth, at full term, to a beautiful baby girl who was stillborn. Though I've never even met the friend of a friend this rattled me so much. I made the mom a little quilt that was precious and perfect for a tiny baby... and embroidered on the edge this quote (suggested by another mom in my TTC group) "Anne, Always our precious and loved daughter." And sent along a note for the parents... thinking that they aught to have something to hold on to. And that their daughter mattered enough to me to make it for them. It was received well but it's still such a hard hard thing to bear.

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  72. I lost our second child 13 years ago. Family members said such things to us, even friends, it is hard to swallow. I had to go through counseling for a year after our loss. Though it has been this long I still ache from it. It was our child, whom we wanted so badly whom i know God wanted us to have, or He wouldn't have blessed us with the pregnacy to begin with. I have two wonderful children here on earth and one child in Heaven. There are no words to express the pain one goes through when they lose their child or loved one, the best thing to do really is just to be there for them and help them to see that in this fallen world we all have to go through sarrow in different ways, their baby was meant to be in every way, they never have to forget, for they never will, but they can, in their time and His time move on in peace. just love them and be there and show them Christ. Here is a poem I wrote to our baby....
    you came into my life
    and all too soon you left
    I think of you and know we have been blessed
    yet, I am so sad, there comes a smile of glee
    in my heart I know that God is holding thee.
    I think of you so small a face I cannot touch, but know that in my heart, I love you oh so much!
    take care, I am so sorry to hear of their loss. I will surely keep them in prayer.
    Mica/The Child's Paper

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  73. A book that helped me in my dark time was first the Bible then a book called Empty Arms with scripture etc... here is a link:
    http://www.amazon.com/Empty-Arms-Coping-Miscarriage-Stillbirth/dp/0960945660/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1306481935&sr=8-1

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  74. I had a friend who delivered a full term baby stillborn. It was one of the most heart wrenching horrible things I've ever been involved in. What I think I did that helped was listen to her talk about him. Lots of people were uncomfortable with the whole thing and treated him like he never happened because he never got to be alive outside of her. Also, I helped her get the few pictures of him touched up profesionally. There are companies that will do this for free-he was a beautiful perfect baby and it really was one of the saddest things I've ever been part of.

    Lots of us did meals to her house (she had two other kids who still needed to eat!) for several weeks, and I did get her a special necklace with his name and footprints, but I don't know that she cared for that as I never saw her wear it.

    Losing a child is simply one of the darkest parts of life. I sit here and cry reading all of these posts-thank you for making us aware.

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  75. I too lost a precious little girl born still at 33weeks. And I too still remember the "wrong" things people said, even though it was 12 years ago now. The one that hurt the most for me was "You're still young, you can have more". It felt people were negating her life.

    As our first child we had planned for her and were SO excited. It hurt so much to leave the hospital with that empty belly and empty arms.

    But as other people have shared, what did help were our friends who dropped everything to come and sit at the hospital and pray for me as I delivered a dead baby. The friends who put themselves out to find us food from home (I'm Australian and was living in Malaysia at the time) just to comfort us. The friends who called and emailed other friends to tell them the news as I dreaded having to tell people. It wasn't the words people said, it was those precious acts of service that helped me the most.I still treasure those friends today because they gave of themselves, they didn't try to make me feel better.

    Mommyofthree, I know how you feel too as I found myself pregnant again 2 months later and gave birth to a healthy little boy 11 months later after a high risk pregnancy. I grieved and worried every day of that pregnancy. Then grieved and worried more when we came home! Finally I decided I would trust that the Lord would protect my boy and everything would be okay. I now have 3 children and it is a choice everyday to trust the Lord will protect them and look after them.

    Thank you Julie for writing about your loss, it's amazing how many have lost children and never spoken of it. I think by speaking about it we help others release the hurt they hold inside. And it also makes me feel like a little bit of good can come from my loss.

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  76. a dear friend of mine lost her first baby in the 7th month. Her 70 year old aunt sent her a note that said, "My heart aches for you." That is all and my friend said, that note allowed her to ache and mourn too. This same aunt called her and said, get your grocery list ready, I'll be by in an hour to get it. She came, got the list, bought her groceries and put tham all away for her. Then hugged and kissed her and went on her way.

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  77. When I was younger one of my friends lost her son at 3 months old. I had no idea what to say. So I listened. we walked and I listened. At the time I was going through something completely different, but also trying, she had no idea what it was like for me, so she listened.
    We moved on with our lives, but when we saw each other again a couple of years later we realized that God put us together to get us through our tough times together.
    Then when i had a miscarriage I never had anything terribly hurting said to me, but there were lots of people talking without thinking. THINK people. I know what it is like to be nervous and not no what to say. If that is you, say, "I'm sorry" or "I'm here" or just give them a hug, but for God's sake, think.
    Then listen. don't try to tell people what you went through, just listen!

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  78. My sil and brother have unfortunately lost several sweet babies before birth. To the point where they did not tell anyone about this last pregnancy for a long long time. I was the listening ear...the calm assurance that no matter the time or day, I was on the other end of the phone ready to listen to their fears, their sadness, their joy at JJ's birth. I was the mediator to the rest of the family...encouraging others to honor my brother/sil wishes about remembering Henry (and all the other sweet angels) and their fears about celebrating too early before JJ arrived.
    When Henry passed in utero at 8 1/2 months....there were no words. I left a voicemail message...I wrote a letter, I prayed, I wept for them and for all of us (I am weeping now), I prayed. My brother said it meant so much for the simple words, "I am sorry, I love you", to have when there really were no words to help.
    As a nurse, I am frequently with people at the end of their lives. Sometimes, silence and holding someone's hand is the only comfort I can give and it is the right thing to do.

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  79. In a time of loss, people often ask what they can do to help. I find that it's often hard to ask people for help, even when they offer. So instead of asking, just do! Bring over food, flowers, show up and help. Be there for people. And aknowledge that there are no words to comfort. Other than I'm sorry, I love you, I'm here.

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  80. Thank you for posting this because I am one of those people that never knows what to say at a time of such grief. So I don't say anything. And sometimes I don't DO anything... only because I'm afraid of doing the wrong thing.

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  81. Thank you for sharing this! I personally haven't experienced a loss such as this, but have friends who have. I have had to do with the struggle of infertility and people not know what to do or say during that journey. It's usually not the words that are helpful at all, but he listening, hugging, comforting, praying, baking, weeping, laughing, laying beside that matters most to me.

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  82. My husband and I lost our sweet Allison at full term. Gosh...it's been almost 11 years. The things that I remember are the people that just came and sat with us. Some cried some just simply sat and held my hand. People need to realize that it's okay to admit you don't know what to say. We did have some well meaning friends who would try to come up with something to say...when it would have been better to remain silent. There are a few comments that I still struggle to forget. God is so good! 2 years after our lives were shattered by the loss of Allison we were blessed with our Julie Grace! She is such a special little soul! We love her so much. The comments I struggle to forget are the ones pertaining to us trying to replace one child with another. That could never happen! Thank you so for your blog and this post! We are all in this TOGETHER:). Mollie

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  83. Thank you for this posting. I lost my son, Carter, five months ago. He was 8 months old.

    I found that the people that have never experienced losing someone close to them, said or did the most discomforting things. While the people that have experienced or knew someone close to them that experienced a great loss
    where the most compassionate. They were the ones coming over to clean my house, bringing dinner over and covering me in prayer.

    My good friend Anna checked up on me often and when I returned to work she made sure that we had lunch once a month and we still do. Anna even bought me a Angel wing necklace with my son's name on it.

    After the funeral and the guest stop coming by you feel abandoned because everyone goes back to their lives and you're still dealing with your loss. It's the people the call me time to time or invite me out, or pray with me or listen to me weep are the people that have been most helpful with my healing process.

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  84. Oh how I personally regret not comforting my dear friend better when she lost her son. Sadly, she lost him much like your little Joy. She was just 2 days past her due date. He was fine at her last doctor's visit, but then lost him 2 days later....

    I was so young and niave. I did not have any children of my own and really did not know what to say or do. I was there for his funeral, wrote cards, and offered to help. But, I so badly wish that I could turn back time and comfort her differently.

    There are a group of us girlfriends that grew up together. Some were so much better at comforting her than others. We have all discussed my friend's loss several times since that tragic day and now know those things that did help her:

    One girlfriend was a life saver! When she heard the awful news, she immediately ran out and purchased several dress outfits for my friend's son. They were options of outfits for him to be buried in. That saved my friend the grief of doing that herself. She has always said how much that helped her.

    As many have said, the other thing that my friend said helped her the most was just to have people check in on her months after her loss. Sadly, she said that it wasn't long after her son's passing that everyone just went on as if nothing had happened. If I could go back and change my actions, this would be it. My eyes tear up now to think that my friend lost her child and I didn't bother to continue to check in on her!

    Hopefully, this helps others in the future. Thank you for your willingness to write the article! It is SO very needed!

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  85. There is a parent of a student at the school where I teach, and her oldest son drowned at the age of 10. He would have been 20 years old last Monday. There is a tree that was planted in honor of him at the school when he died & the high school's science lab was also named after him. I saw his mom come by on Monday and lay flowers at the tree. I don't know exactly why -- but I just felt compelled to just give her a hug. She doesn't know me & I really don't know her. Nonetheless, we embraced each other for what seemed like 15 minutes. She then told me, "You know, thank you for not trying to say anything to me - I've heard it all and words don't have an effect on my anymore." Profound. I then simply told her, "I continue to pray for you and your family." I suppose God led me to do just what she needed that day: a hug.

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  86. I am a horrible Christian--or at least I feel like one right now.
    I've never lost a baby or wanted one so badly that I was ever in this position.
    I have never been in the position to comment on anyone I knew personally who dealt with this particular problem in their lives.

    What I have been in the position of is someone who has tried to comfort someone in the face of a problem so amazingly difficult and without explanation.
    And I ALWAYS feel like I fail miserably at it EVERY TIME even if I couch it in the sweetest tone and the most loving manner.
    Because as Christians we are taught that God is all powerful (which He is-my feelings don't invalidate that truth, my circumstances or emotions don't invalidate that TRUTH. I type that with CAPS on purpose for emphasis.)
    We are wired spiritually to seek love, joy, and peace. to find solutions, to find reasons, to offer HOPE, to offer comfort, to make sense out of the insanity that is evil and the insanity that is sickness, disease and all the putrid stuff born out of our fallen world and diseased nature without Christ.

    The Bible says that when we are going through trials and we are comforted by God, so we can comfort others.
    I think the key words there are "comforted by God" What I have found out is that my human friends and myself are a very poor substitute for comfort outside of the Holy Spirit. Job had "comforters" and they made him more miserable. It was only when Job heard from God for himself that things started to turn around.
    The hardest thing to say to anyone and to hear (and I've heard it countless times) is
    "What is God telling you about this?" Hard--because we want answers when no answers are easy to find. Hard because are emotions are raw and we hurt. Hard because we have to really trust we hear what He is telling us and not doubt. (Human emotions doubt all the time--I'm the queen of that).
    BUT when we hear what God has to say personally and specifically to us about ANYTHING iIt changes EVERYTHING. (Johnson and Johnson said having a baby changes everything) but hearing from God REALLY CHANGES EVERYTHING! There's nothing (NOTHING) like hearing from God for ourselves and when He speaks it brings comfort and Love. Because He cannot deny who He is: LOVE, He cannot be foreign to what He is.
    When God speaks Comfort and Love it may not come with and "oh by the way, what you really wanted, I'm going to give that to you-right now." It might, it might not. It does bring peace in the midst of crisis, and horribleness, and despair. I don't know how He does it, but He does. Lazarus come forth! He booms into our spirits and somehow we wobble out wrapped in our grave clothes. He asks those around us to unwrap us. HE ASKS, (emphasis on HE-JESUS)
    I think the hardest thing in the entire world is to trust God. Even when you know He's a loving Father. At least it's that way for me, and I've known God a lot of years. It gets easier to trust but the crisis still come.
    I guess I wrote all that to let you know the other side of the equation. As a comforter...I hope I never say anything so rude and cruel to anyone that they would be wounded. BUT I KNOW I've said things in wanting to help and it's been no help at all. That crushes me and I want you to know that. But I also felt compelled to share that God is the true comforter and that we need to do it under the unction of His Holy Spirit. He may tell us to not do anything (the hardest thing in the world for me) or keep my mouth shut (again very hard). But if He's telling me, then I know it's the best thing.

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  87. It is so hard for people to know what to say to someone who is suffering so deeply. There never seems to be a "right" thing to say, although there are definitely wrong things!

    I had a miscarriage almost two years ago and one of the most soothing things that anyone did was send me a card. A simple card that said they were thinking of me and nothing else. No, "I'm sorry." No trying to comfort, just thinking of you. It meant so much to me that she wasn't trying to fix my pain. Just thinking of me and loving me and praying for me.

    Shortly after that, I became a small group leader in my MOPS group. A woman whose two year old son had suddenly passed away the year before was put in my group. I was scared to death. I knew she was still dealing with so much suffering. She had so many firsts without him that year and I was not sure I would be able to say what she needed to hear to help her. I learned that year, though, that mostly people who are hurting don't need you to tell them anything. She was such an amazing blessing in my life. From talking to her, it sounded like just knowing people were caring about her and thinking of her and her family and her little boy was a great comfort. Knowing he was remembered and loved by so many people.

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  88. I think I can top what your friend said. When we {finally} confessed our infertility problems to our parents, FIL suggested that maybe God's plan was for us to be childless. Yeah. Seriously. Not just "not yet," but EVER. And coming from the *potential grandfather.* Are you serious?! And what was worse was that he kept GOING with it. It. was. awful.

    Some dear friends just lost their 13-yr-old handicapped daughter yesterday, and the funeral will be next week. I have no idea what to write in the card, and almost think no words are better in a way. :(

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  89. Two not-so-great things that I heard after losing my baby to miscarriage:

    "It's probably for the best. The baby must not have been healthy." (I heard several variations on this one and none of them were of any comfort.)

    and

    "You can always try again."
    (We did and we have been blessed, thank God, but I will never have THAT baby...my first child.)

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  90. I had three miscarriages in three years before I had my first son. It was an emotional rollercoaster I hope to never go on again. You are unbelievably happy that you were finally able to get pregnant (or get pregnant again) and then unbelievably sad and discouraged in such a relatively short amount of time. I was a wreck but all I ever wanted to hear from anyone was "I'm sorry for your loss" and "I'm here if you need anything." I believe those sentiments are appropriate for anyone grieving and I think they are better than silence.

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  91. Thank you for this post, it has been comforting reading all these comments of women who have experienced similar things.

    My third child was stillborn not quite a year ago. Like you, I can easily come up with a long list of "don'ts." One lady actually said to me, "Out of all the ways to loose a child, I would definately choose how you lost your son because you weren't attached to him yet." NOt sure how you can not be attached after nine months of pregnancy. I go to church with that lady, and I am still unable to look her in the face.

    I also think one of the biggest things people do because they don't know what to say, is try to relate to your expirience. Big no no. I didn't want to hear about your cousins friend that lost a baby, or your co-workers miscarriage, I was dealing with my own loss, and as far as I was concerned it was the only one that mattered.

    Here are things I remembered that helped the most. A simple i'm sorry, or I'm praying for you. Flowers were also very comforting and showed someone's love when they didn't know what to say. The things I remember the most are my friends that were there to just give me a hug, no words were needed, I felt there love because they were there.

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  92. Thanks for sharing your story. Mine is a little different in that our first baby died at 7 mos of age as the result of injuries she rec'd in a car accident. She would have been 25 yrs old this past May 8th. I could write a chapter in your book of what not to say. When people ask me I say " Give them a hug, cry with them, pray for them but DON'T try to rationalize it." There is no reason for such a tragedy except for the fact that we live in a fallen world. But there will be no tears, or sadness, or illness, or death when we are ultimately with Jesus.
    Bless you for your awesome blog.
    Cathy

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  93. Even after all my years of struggling with infertility I still don't know what to say to someone else. I think the most important thing is to be kind and show your sympathy through actions instead of words. DON'T say things like "at least..." or "I'm sure that..." or "Have you tried...?"

    Good luck! I can't wait to see what you come up with.

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  94. Wow. Such amazing things written here. I am so glad to read this post this week. My sister sent me the link to your blog because it is so appropriate this week. Almost nine years ago, my son died after just two days of life and we have prayed much in those years that we would be used by God to comfort others in the same way He used so many in our life then.

    Two weeks ago, my close friend found out that one of her twins had passed away in utero and just a few days ago I attended the birth and witnessed the beautiful and difficult moments when both the living and deceased boys were delivered. It was the first time I have walked through this with someone else close to me since our son passed away.

    I think one of the most important gifts friends gave to me was to allow me to grieve how I needed to, and not how they expected me to. I probably did and said some things that might seem "weird" for someone who had just suffered through the devestation I had, but my friends stayed beside me, listened, loved on me no matter what. Practical help is so meaningful, too, I think. If you have other children or other responsibilities, it really helps to have some of the more menial things taken out of your hands so you can focus on the grief process and on the relationship with your husband during such an intense time. The morning after my friend delivered her babies, I brought a blanket I had knitted for my first son and she used it to wrap her baby who had passed away for the pictures the photographer took of him and their family. That meant a lot to her to share that tangible item that reminded her of our shared experience and honored her son's life. And lastly, saying something very simple is always better than nothing. I was very hurt by people who would not say anything about my son...I know they were afraid to bring it up, but is isn't like I wasn't thinking about him every moment and it would hurt to be reminded. I was already hurting and even if it brings tears to someone's eyes, you are honoring their child by using his or her name and by mentioning your loss. Just don't try to say more than "I'm so sorry." That's when you end up saying something awful :-)

    Thank you again for this post. It meant so much to read your story. Thank you for sharing your Joy with us so we may know and honor her in our hearts as well.

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  95. After Faith died 2 of my friends emailed my other friends and family and started a collection. They had everyone send checks to a local travel agency. I think the total was around $2000 and off we went to Hawaii. So great.

    Also, if you can avoid prefacing a sentence with "At least.." that would be helpful to the grieving person. Of course, any situation can be worse but don't minimize their pain by saying "At least you are young and can have more babies" or "At least you knew beforehand that she was going to die." Because then at least Joy and I might punch your face - in our hearts, anyway.

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  96. After losing our seven-day old son, I heard many wonderful comments from friends, and a few horrible ones. The best are simple: "I'm praying for you", "What can I do for you?" and the best, months after his death, "I know you're still hurting." Being recognized as a grieving mother MONTHS after his death was a comfort in itself. The bad stuff: I received a letter from my mother's friend who had lost her husband and son several years prior. She wrote that I needed to "suppress my grief" and "move on". THE WORST ADVICE for anyone who is grieving. Needless to say, my mother said this woman was very bitter and angry. And I disagree with the statement "God needed your baby/child/spouse so He called them home." God is NOT selfish and does not take from us for His pleasure.

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  97. you have alot of excellent comments here. for me, the biggest thing when someone is hurting is to just SAY SOMETHING. it's almost worse when you just breeze by someone because you don't know what to say so you stay quiet or avoid them all together because the situation makes you uncomfortable. it's not about you, it's about the hurting ones. i think all the beneficial things have been mentioned: bringing meals, coming over and wordlessly cleaning/playing with children/just being present, writing notes/texts/emails, remembering the day, etc. I would also add how important physical touch is: a hug, a gentle arm on the back/shoulders while sitting next to a grieving friend speaks VOLUMES. We can communicate a great deal with just our body language.

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  98. Don't ever say "I know how you must feel " or "I know what you are going through" unless you have experienced the same thing yourself. You can't begin to know til you've experienced it firsthand. That is the number one thing I have taken away from my miscarriages and death of my fourth child.

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  99. I love Jeanett and her mission to raise funds for NILMDTS. It was such a struggle to walk beside my sister after she lost her day-old precious girl - knowing I couldn't do anything about the pain she was feeling.

    And truly - I think it is different for everyone and at different times. These days, she loves to have someone acknowledge that she has THREE girls and will someday see Gracie again. It makes her feel that Gracie is still loved and cherished. But some days, hugging and crying is better than talking. It takes so much sensitivity to know when those days are and to honor them.

    Thank you for posting this... (It applies so much to families facing infertility too).

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  100. I was 12 weeks when we found out that our baby was sick. We went to specialist after specialist only to find that our little girl had turners syndrome complicated by fetal hydrops. We knew our baby wasn't going to make it and were faced with the decision to terminate or risk possible complications. My gyno, nurses and doctors were amazing and I had a d&c at 4 months. It was an awful decision to be faced with and I don't wish it upon anyone. I had people tell me that "god's timing is perfect" "everything happens for a reason" "god didnt want our baby to be born" All of those comments just pissed me off. Who are "you" to be god's spokesman?! I even had someone tell me "aren't you over it yet? At somepoint you have to move on!" Ugh. The most comforting things were those unspoken. The friend that drove miles to sit on my couch n spend time with me. The cousin that left her own family to make me lunch. The friends that cried with me and let me ramble on without judgement. If I could wish one thing for someone that is or has experienced such loss it would be a friend (or two) that is willing to tirelessly listen...

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  101. Sometimes you have to be willing to say the wrong thing. You might try being there for them, when they actually need space. You might say you're praying for them, when they just want to be normal and not need extra prayers. But you have to try again and again. Don't give up because you said or did the wrong thing once. You might have to pursue them, and actively go through their grief with them, even years later.

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  102. http://lookingforbluesky.blogspot.com/2009/06/helpful-posts.html

    This blog gives advice as to what to say and not to say to someone that has lost a child. The author lost a child herself.

    I too agree that it is often better to just be with someone and say "I'm sorry and I'm here for you" than to say things that end up being hurtful such as "It was meant to be" and "Something must have been wrong with the baby so this is for the best." When I had a miscarriage those were some of the most hurtful things to hear.

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  104. C. I have lost two babies. One at 8 weeks along and one at 21 weeks. Some of the things that really helped we were:
    1. when a person came up to me and simply said,"I am so sorry about the loss of your baby" and if they knew the gender and name we had picked out, that was even better to say the name. "I am so sorry about the loss of your baby girl Liyah"---it acknowledges that there was a baby that is now gone, he or she was a real person with a name even perhaps, and that they are sorry. That's all--not trying at all to "fix" it. Just saying they are sorry it happened and that it really was a little life that was important.
    2. When people came around. I know it is scary to be with a grieving person because it's hard to know what to do, but be present, be available, don't really say a whole lot, just listen and hold their hand.
    3. Not asking me to make any decisions, it is so hard to make even the smallest decisions when you are grieving. Bringing a meal, bringing flowers, bringing a card, bringing coffee…etc. Doing sweet things and bringing comfort and not asking me how or when or what…
    4.But… asking questions about the experience and the baby and what happened at the hospital… that actually did help me. Allowing people to get a real picture of what when on made me feel like they were somehow "bearing my burden" a tiny bit with me. They were able to grieve with me a little and I was able to be heard. It felt good.

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  105. I wrote the name of my friend's baby girl on the underside of a flower petal, a gerber daisy, with a fine point sharpie. (you have to write on the under side of the petal because the top side has a waxy coating) I held the flower up with one hand and took pictures of the flower with a beautiful blue sky and fluffy clouds in the background. Then put the pic in a nice frame and gave to mom. She really liked the picture. You can also write the baby 's birthday.

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  106. My husband and i lost our first baby to miscarriage. It was harder then i ever could of imagined. Here are some things that comforted me:

    "Ive been praying for you'
    (not "prayin' for ya" cuz that means im just saying this as a phrase not i actually am praying for YOU)

    or

    "can i pray with you?"

    my boss told me i could take days off if it was too hard and when i did take a day off she came by to talk and brought a peice of cake. JJust being there to listen to someone and showing that you want to be there is awesome, dont worry about what you should say or trying to find comforting words because honestly there really isnt any. The realy comfort is knowing people care or letting them speew their heart out to someone.

    Let them know that your still there for them a week after it happens or a month. It felt like so many people thought it was weird that i wasnt over it in a week.

    I really got sick of "im sorry" at the time i was like "you didnt do anything why are you sorry"
    I get the point but it was just one of those things...

    I got alot of comfort through other people telling me their miscarriage stories. Not because i wanted to know that other people hurt but because i wanted to know that i wasnt the only one.

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  107. OH AND

    dont say "youll have others"

    you cant replace a baby! We all wanted that one. We loved that one! so please dont say this.

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  108. Oh Julie, I so relate to this post. I myself have not lost my own child. I have however lost both my parents, two siblings, all my grandparents and aunts and uncles. None of which are as heartbreaking as losing ones own child. My mom however buried four of her own children and watching her go through that and hearing the stories about her losing twins (both babies died 2 days after they were born, my mom carried them for 37 weeks) I totally understand where you are coming from, the good and the bad. The heartfelt, the ignorant (not on purpose) and the enormous support you can get from people. When my mom lost the twins she went back to work after a few weeks and one of her coworkers said to her (and I quote) "Sally, I am so sorry for your loss, I know what you are going through.... my husband and I just had to put our dog down, it was heartbreaking" hmm. Yes, she said that. I am a dog lover, I have always had a dog and love them like they are part of the family, I have also lost a dog or two in my life and it does not compare to the loss of a child or loved one. I know that people are coming from a good place when things like this come out of their mouths, but come on. Common sense? While I have no idea what it is like to lose a child and my heart breaks for all of you who have I promise to never ever try to make you feel better with a comment that can sting and hurt for years to come. I will always think twice and choose my words carefully.

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  109. I had a miscarriage and a D&C on New Years Eve. One friend got me a Christmas ornament from Hallmark called "A life remembered". I felt touched by it. Cards, flowers, food - any gesture to feel the support and love of good friends. Truthfully, this blog and their story carried me through. Share this blog.

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  110. What I like to say is "There are no words..." ...to make this any easier on you or to make sense of why this happened to you. "I'm so sorry"..

    I hated when friends would say "I cant understand what you're going through b/c I've never gone through it".. It makes me feel like that person cannot fathom losing a child, cannot empathize, cannot imagine what it's like to have your hopes, dreams, everything planned for this child and then to find out it will not be... it is horrible.

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  111. I am so sorry that someone actually said that. As someone who has experienced a pregnancy loss, I know that all I can do for someone else is just offer to listen, hug them and cry with them. It's not my job to tell them why or to guess as to God's timing or reasons.

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  112. great, great post. i loved this part: "But I remember so much good too. The friends who didn't try to answer questions. Who didn't try to fix us. Who prayed. Who called."
    because that was the good I remember from my two miscarriages. one of my best friends has been so helpful by just being comfortable with my pain- by being ok with me not being completely over it months later, by continuing to ask "how are you doing?"
    there has been a lot of "unhelpful" too- but i'm sure that's stuff you have already experienced. i love your sweet spirit and your humor- i bet you wanted to add that friend into your "people you want to punch in the face" journal, eh? ;)

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  113. I can tell you one biggie don't. Don't ignore your hurting friends. All of our friends did this and it hurt more than any misspoken words could have. We lost 3 babies, 2 second trimester ones, and not once were we met with comfort. Only awkward isolation. Love would have been all we needed. Normal conversation, dinner with friends, an encouraging word.

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  114. After my miscarriage there were tons of "comforting" people around. So many things that were said made my heart hurt even more.

    I hated hearing things like "don't worry, you will get pregnant again" or "I had ____ many miscarriages and look now I have healthy kids". I was never concerned with that. I just lost my baby. I wanted THAT baby. The death was what I wanted mourned not the pregnancy.

    The best thing said, was nothing. I had a friend come over and offer to just sit with me. We sat in silence, eating icecream. In that moment, I felt like my world wasn't ending.

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  115. We lost our son at 21 weeks (stillborn), and I could give you a long, long list of the things said/wrote that hurt so much I can still remember them clearly, 12 years later. I later realized most of them were said by people who just honestly didn't know what to say, and were trying their best to say something, anything, to help. I also realized that in their own way, they were taking a risk by saying anything at all - the silence from other friends/family was sometimes deafening.

    That said, one of the people that I had the hardest time with also did one of the kindest things. My SIL had her son exactly 1 month before my son was born still. For about a month after, I wasn't able to see her son - it was just far too painful to even think about. When I was ready, she offered to have me watch him for a short time while she & BIL went out to breakfast. It may sound odd but the idea that I could be with him alone, and not have anyone else here to judge me if it made me cry the entire time (which it did), it really helped me. After that, it's not that it was easy to be with him (and there are rare times, even now, where it can catch me off guard), but it allowed me to get over the worst part, and not have an audience there.

    Just a simple "I'm so sorry" works fine. If you can remember to use the baby's name (if there was one), for me that was a real acknowledgement of my lost child, and helped me so much.

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  116. I don't understand why people lose their babies. I'm scared to. I don't want to understand the degree of sinfulness in the world that makes it okay for innocent infants to lose their lives. I think that's all I can ever say to a Mom whose baby has gone to be with God. "I don't understand why this happened, but please let me help you carry this however I can." And then do it, because there's nothing worse than someone who says "If there's anything I can do..." and never shows up.

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  117. I wish that everyone could/would read this post and all the comments.

    I have been pregnant 6 times, and have one living child (from my first pregnancy). My first loss was at 20 weeks and the other four between 5 and 6 weeks. I am still coming to terms with the fact that I will not have any more children.

    I wish there were magic words. There aren't.

    Do: acknowledge the loss, no matter how early - I simple "I'm sorry" goes a long way. If the child was named, USE the name. When possible, acknowledge the tough dates - especially the first ones. Bring food, send cards, offer hugs, and welcome conversation even when it might (will) lead to tears. Don't stop calling - the first few weeks are overwhelming but the time after that is harder because the immediacy is over, and all the "things that much be done" have been done, and all that remains is the loneliness and isolation. Offer frequent hugs. Tell your friend you are there to listen, and then really listen.

    Don't: Compare it to anyone else's situation unless you yourself have been in the SAME situation. Don't say anything about God's will, things happening for a reason, or future (or living) children. Don't pretend it didn't happen. Don't stop calling, visiting or checking in.

    Thank you for this post.

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  118. A friend sent this quote after my miscarriage last month and it really struck a chord with me.
    "It is best to hope for an experience of life in all its fullness- a life that can embrace both joy and sorrow and still be at peace.Our triumph over sorrow is not that we can avoid it but that we can endure it.And therein lies our hope;that in spirit we might become bigger then the problems we face.Hope lies in having more faith in the power of God to heal us
    then in the power of anything to hurt or destroy us.Our hope in God is not a hope for something to happen in the world but something to happen in us.We're not hoping that this or that will happen
    but that we'll achieve a state of consciousness in which,whatever happens, we will not swerve from love or peace."
    --Marianne Williamson

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  119. I will never forget the pool of blood I awoke in on Mother's Day of 2008. My first child was clearly gone leaving only shock and a mess behind on a day that should have been a celebration of the anticipation of my new role. We cleaned up and headed to church. Planning on worshiping into comfort I instead felt isolated and alone while mothers around were celebrated.

    We had yet to tell the masses, only family. There really isn't a guaranteed way to comfort someone who has this empty space. The journey of recovering from a miscarriage has so many emotions and they vary from person to person. I've found that in looking for the right thing to say I'm really just trying to connect and understand others who are experiencing the same pain I've felt. But even standing on the same dark side as they, I come up empty.

    The space that is left in the arms of a woman who longs to be a mother is not easily filled with words, love, acts of kindness, or even time. I believe only the Lord can fill that space. Hugs, meals, home made treats or treasures help but words are usually regrettable.

    I do however use mothers day to send simple cards stating that while there may be emptiness in their arms, a hole in their family, or a grieving heart that seems insurmountable, I am thinking of them and recognizing their incredible strength to emit beauty and grace in spite of their longing. I actually send this to some of my single friends too as they approach the age of inability to have children of their own.

    Thank you for posting and bringing awareness to this subject.

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  120. Hahaha, "oh no she didn't'....yep, i had lots of those friends. My worst one was "Well, maybe God took him now because maybe he was going to die in a horrible way as a young child and he didn't want you dealing with that".....

    I appreciate the idea...that people want to love us. But we need God to comfort us, and we need them to just BE. It's a hard thing to do, as a friend. Thanks for bringing light to the topic! You are a wonderful blogger.

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  121. Thank you for this post- so crazy what people say when you are in the middle of your grief. I lost my son 7 months ago and I was recently told by a friend with a healthy newborn that I don't ask/talk about her baby enough.

    Wow.

    Sorry for not taking your feelings into consideration and instead trying to keep my head above water despite the horrible pain I'm experiencing. Excuse me for being such a crappy friend.

    Definitely hurt me to the core. There really are no words that will fix this. No one can say anything to make it better.

    What helps is the love and support of friends who are just there for you with no questions asked.

    Again thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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