October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day in Australia.
My husband and I are parents of five angel babies.
There is plenty of information around about what a miscarriage is and all the statistics and details are readily available, but there are few guides on how to get through it and how the people around you can help you through this horrid time.
How to help your friend
The main way is simply to be there. If it makes you uncomfortable, imagine how they feel. The last thing you want to do is to make them feel like they have no support or that they are being ignored.
Don’t judge, unless you have been through it you will not truly understand, just be there for support.
Support comes in many different forms. A text message, some flowers, a food package so they don’t have to think about cooking, all these things make a big difference.
Never ignore that it happened. Your friend has had a major loss, there was already a bond, love between mother and child and that should not be dismissed. This is a major event in your friend’s life and it should be acknowledged.
If you can, try to remember anniversaries and plan to do something with them that day. Those days will be very hard on your friend.
Don’t forget the partner. They have had a major loss too and as well as that, they are trying to be the main support for the mother. They will need time out and someone to talk to as well; don’t just assume they are okay.
How to help yourself
After our fourth loss my first thought was, ‘the next few weeks are going to be tough’. Don’t kid yourself that you’ll be okay, because you won’t be.
You may be lucky and through tests find out the cause of the miscarriage, which helps greatly in the inevitable blame game, but if you are like us and the official diagnosis is ‘bad luck’ you need to get educated.
The best way to answer the whats and whys you will be asking yourself is to know the facts and the main one is this is not your fault. Despite what people will tell you, miscarriages mainly happen because there is something wrong with the baby, the baby had little chance from the start and there is nothing you could have done that could stop it from happening. It is very easy to blame yourself, to blame the coffee you had, to blame the extra hours at work, but none of these things had anything to do with what was inevitable from the point of conception.
Join a forum, the best way to not feel alone is to talk to other people who are going through the same thing and there are many of us out there.
Talk to your partner, make sure you both know how each other are feeling and coping, and never forget that they have suffered a loss too. When things start to calm down, go on a date or just have an indulgent night in.
Cry – a lot. It helps, believe me. Don’t try to be strong, there’s no need. This goes for a month or six months on too, there is no timeframe for getting over this. Seeing a cute baby on a train a few months later can hurt, and that’s okay.
Never give up. Despite how hard it is and how hopeless it seems, never give up. We now have an amazing 10 month old little man. It can happen.