If I hadn’t lost my last pregnancy, I would look like this right now:
Alright so I’m not exactly Halle Berry, but seeing celebrities like her in the spotlight from the day they announce their pregnancy, to the day they deliver their new bundles of joy, makes me wonder: what do they do in the case of a pregnancy loss? I feel like I hear about starlets becoming pregnant on an almost daily basis, but with the exception of Jack and Lisa Osbourne’s late-term pregnancy loss, you just don’t hear about miscarriages in the media. And while I understand the sensitivity of the subject, I think it’s important for women to know that it is common, that it happens to everyone, and that it doesn’t have to be a secret.
As I approach what would have been my due date, I can’t help but think about what my life would be like at this moment in time if I hadn’t suffered a late-term pregnancy loss. And while I truly believe that this devastating event happened for a reason, I can’t stop thinking about the baby that might have been. The baby who would have come close to sharing a birthday with Halle Berry’s new baby boy.
Throughout my first two pregnancies, the thought of miscarriage didn’t even cross my mind. Not even once. I had no idea that 20% of all pregnancies ended in miscarriage – that it was as common as it is. I also didn’t know that so many women in my network of friends, coworkers and family had endured the same devastation as I had. If no one had shared their own stories of pregnancy loss with me, I would have felt so alone. But the circle of friends who supported me through it all, who shared their own stories and helped me through a dark time, made the grieving process so much easier for me.
So to hopefully help others through the same process, I wanted to share the top 5 things that I found to be the most helpful to get me through my personal experience with miscarriage.
1) Send flowers. While not everyone is as open to talking about their feelings as I am, I think everyone loves to receive a bright bouquet of flowers – it’s a nice way to say that you’re there for them, and you care, without forcing them to talk about their feelings.
2) Share your story. If you’ve gone through a similar experience, share your story with your grieving friend. While it’s unfortunate that miscarriage is so common, your friend can take comfort in numbers. Knowing that others in their own network of friends have experienced the same thing makes it easier to work through the grieving process.
3) Pamper them. There’s no better time for your friend to focus on taking care of themselves. A restful body will help to heal the mind. Gift your friend with a massage or a pedicure so they are forced to take time out to enjoy a little pampering. And if you can, join them!
4) Don’t try to tell them that it’ll all be ok. Unfortunately there isn’t really anything you can do to reassure your friend that they’ll get over it, that they’ll feel better in a few weeks or months. It’s a grieving process – one that affects everyone differently. All that you can do is lend an ear, hold a hand, and wait it out with them.
5) Don’t pry. While you may be wondering why it happened, what the doctors discovered, if your friend is going to try again – wait for your friend to share those details with you, don’t try to pry it out of them. They might not be ready to discuss the details with you yet, but if you let them know that you’re there for them and available if they want to talk, then they will come to you when they’re ready.
While I feel like I’ve healed both emotionally and physically, I’m realizing that suffering a late-term pregnancy loss is not something that just goes away. I had heard the heartbeat. I had seen the growing fetus. I had been told the gender and had chosen a name. While I have healed and grieved and moved on with an optimistic outlook on my life and my unfortunate situation, I have not forgotten, and I probably never will.