How to help your friend through a miscarriage in the first trimester

Sometimes life is full of dark moments. Things happen that cause us much pain and despair. Seeing a friend going through times like this can make you feel helpless. Compassion demands that we do something. But what can  be done when someone really has something bad happen to them?

A miscarriage is one of those terrible things in life for which there are really no answers. First and foremost should your friend, colleague or relative tell you that she is having a miscarriage the worst thing you can do is to point a finger of blame.

What not to do – when someone tells you they are having a miscarriage

You were doing things wrong – is a big no, no.

Don’t tell your friend – “perhaps you should have stopped going to the gym”.

Don’t tell your friend – “perhaps you were eating wrong”.

The human mind has a need to understand the question “why?” whenever something like this happens. Sometimes there is no answer to the question why. Sometimes things just are what they are. There is no reason.

According to research pregnant women are allowed to do a lot of things.

Exercise –yay or nay – during pregnancy?

If you have been going to the gym before you got pregnant and depending on your workout regime – it is actually healthy for you to continue exercising. They, whomever they may be – actually recommend a moderate to light exercise plan during pregnancy to ensure healthy delivery. Walking, cycling and swimming are recommended for those who did not go to the gym.

It is not recommended to now suddenly in pregnancy start something new and overexerting yourself.

And I like to point this out – consulting your doctor should really be a pregnant ladies first line of advice if a certain exercise regime is healthy or not during pregnancy. When I found out I’m pregnant about six weeks in (pregnancy is calculated from date of your last period – not date of conception), I asked my doctor if continuing to exercise was a healthy option. The exercise plan I follow is really not the heaviest. My doctor was quite happy I continue with my current gym.

 

So what is a pregnant lady allowed to actually eat?

According to researchers there are very few things that pregnant women should avoid from their diet. A healthy balanced meal plan is really the best option. There are really only five things pregnant women should not be eating, taking or consuming:

  • Alcohol
  • Raw foods
  • Medication not approved by the doctor.
  • Illegal drugs.

That is really it. Alcohol, Cigarettes, and Illegal drugs is self-explanatory. They will hamper the development of the fetus / baby or will have bad side effects for the child.

Not all medication is safe to drink during pregnancy. Even supplements need to be approved by a doctor before consumption. That leaves raw foods.

Foods:

I’ve got a book with a whole list of things pregnant ladies should not be eating. It comes down to whether the food is properly cooked or not.

  • Egg: An egg, sunny side up with the yellow part still flowing for example is a no. However a hard-boiled egg is fine to eat.
  • Cheese: Some cheeses when they are processed the milk is not fermented first. These are usually the moldy kind of cheeses.
  • Sushi: According to my pregnancy & baby book – sushi is fine to eat as long as the fish has been frozen first.
  • Any other raw meats: Meat should be cooked properly to kill any bacteria in the meat

Other food considerations:

  • Nuts: At some point researchers where advising to avoid peanuts – now they are advising to eat them – to prevent allergy in the baby.
  • Fish: Some types of fish should also be avoided due to the level of mercury in them.
  • Coffee: Another thing to consider is the consumption of coffee. Here moderation is the key. Two cups of coffee (200mg of caffeine) is fine according to the latest research.
  • Vegetables: Vegetables need to be well washed before consumption – also to avoid bacteria.

Is this really all that important?

Mind you all of this is not a set in stone. Some woman are unaware of the egg thing and continue to eat their eggs raw – and they have an absolutely healthy baby.

Another woman such as myself is very much aware of all the dos and the don’ts. And here I am writing to you about miscarriage. My point being that when a woman has a miscarriage she will probably have run all the scenarios through her own head and wondered what it is she did wrong. Sometimes things just happen. Neither the doctor nor the specialist could give me a definitive reason why my little bean’s heart stopped beating and he stopped growing at eight weeks and a little. Miscarriage in this period is very common, because sometimes the right organs don’t develop to make the move from being nourished by the ovaries egg to being nourished by the placenta.

For doctors this was simply a speculation. The truth is, they did not really know why the little guy or girl did not go on living. Now if the doctor can’t give me a reason – I don’t think speculation about what I did wrong is going to do me any good either. And it is defiantly not helpful for some well-meaning soul to throw the what-ifs at a woman who is going through this.

Religious well-wishers and prayer:

Unless you really know the person well, telling someone, that “Jesus loves them” or that you “will pray for them” may actually cause more emotional turmoil than healing. I usually go for the “you are in my thoughts” because these words are more neutral. As a Christian it may surprise other Christians to hear that I don’t actually like hearing “Jesus loves you” at this point in time. Spirituality is a highly personal thing. A woman in the situation of having just miscarried is already feeling highly emotional. Do you really need to tell someone, that you “will pray for them” to have them have the benefit of said prayer?

Sometimes when bad things happen having Christ thrown in your face – even as a Christian – is the last thing you need at that time. Another sentiment you should avoid is “Everything happens for a reason”. When your mind can’t find a reason this just tends to let a person’s temper fly. “Everything happens for a reason” is actually a Christian miss-conception. Nowhere in the bible does it say “Everything happens for a reason.” What the bible does say is:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

There is a difference between this actual bible verse and the saying “Everything happens for a reason”. This is a point that deserves its own blog post, which I will leave for another day. My best advice is to tread lightly when someone is going through a really bad situation such as a miscarriage. Quoting the bible may not be what this person needs.

So what can you do?

Occasionally the only real thing one can do is to give the person a hug and tell them that you will be there for them. If you are half way across the globe from this person you can only offer your words of compassion.

A miscarriage is painful both physically and emotionally. Helping out with the household may be the most helpful thing you can do. Bringing the family a cooked meal could really prove beneficial if this is something they’d like.

The doctor would hopefully have prescribed some pain medication. However sometimes all the pain medication in the world is not enough to take away the pain. A warm water bottle or a bean bag which can be heated in the microwave is helpful in pain management. Additionally the woman may also need a huge supply of sanitary pads, since bleeding is quite heavy during miscarriage.

Respect the person’s need for privacy and rest. Remember that it is not only the physical loss. It is a loss of so much more. The father to-would–have-been, will be mourning the loss just as much as his partner or spouse. The family may need time to process this as a close-knit unit.

 

 

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “How to help your friend through a miscarriage in the first trimester”

  1. I would love, love to reach out and hug you right now, dear friend, if only I could. I’m so sorry that you’re going through this terribly sad time, and you know where I am if you want to talk. But BRAVO for using this to shed more good light on how to support women (and men) when a miscarriage happens. It’s still something which is often not talked about enough, and that’s when it can get very lonely.

    I hope you have people In Real to hug you a tiny bit better. Sending all light and love your way xoxoxo

    Like

  2. The worst thing anyone said about my miscarriage was that it was a blessing in disguise. Sure, chromosomal abnormality was probably the cause of the baby’s death, but it was still my baby and while the miscarriage was going on I told God that I did not care what was wrong with the baby, we still loved and wanted him or her. For me, being prayed for was helpful, but and also hearing from others who had experienced the same thing, far more people than I realized.

    Like

  3. I am so very sorry I get to welcome you to the club no one wants to be a member of. I’ve been in that club since Christmas 2002 myself.
    I agree, the worse that a person can say to someone who just lost a baby is ‘Everything happens for a reason’ or ‘God has a plan.’
    Sending you love and hugs from across the ocean. ❤
    Take all the time you need, be gentle with yourself, yourselves, really, as you both grieve for your little bean.
    Much love from me.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s