October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and Sunday, October 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. The reason it's so incredibly important to have a month dedicated to this awareness is because pregnancy and infant loss affects so many women and families.
The March of Dimes states that as many as 50% of pregnancies will end in miscarriage — many of these occurring before the woman even knows she's pregnant, WebMD reports. Between 15 and 25% of women who are aware they are pregnant will suffer a miscarriage, and often more than one.
Miscarriage was once a taboo subject that people didn't speak openly about, causing many women to feel shame about their loss, often blaming themselves for something they had absolutely no control over. Thankfully in the past few years women have been encouraged to speak about their losses, helping to remove any stigma attached to miscarriage and pregnancy loss.
Celebrities such as Pink, Beyonce, Courteney Cox, and recently Carrie Underwood have all been vocal about their own miscarriage experiences, helping to shed light on how common pregnancy loss is.
Chances are you know someone who has had a miscarriage, or you've had one yourself. If you have a friend who has recently suffered a miscarriage, here are 10 things you can do to help provide some much needed support when they need it most.
1. Be There For Her
Being there as a much needed shoulder to cry is on is a must for many women who have recently experienced a miscarriage. Miscarriage Support suggests that reaching out is truly important when a friend has had a miscarriage. Being present to simply listen and being a shoulder to cry on can mean so much. Making yourself available to your friend lets them know that they have your support, even if they're not ready to talk about it.
2. Bring Food
Miscarriage can be devastating for the entire family, which often means regular routines go out the window. A woman who has had a miscarriage may not feel like cooking or even bothering to try to find something to eat. Bringing over a meal or sending something from a local restaurant ensures your friend has something ready to eat at a time when the last thing on their mind is making dinner.
3. Make A Care Package
Make a care package for your friend that contains a little of all the things she loves. Maybe a few magazines, some of her favorite snacks, a nice pair of comfy slippers and a few DVD's you know she loves may make her feel better. A thoughtful package of things you know she loves may help lift her spirits simply by showing her you're thinking of her.
4. Reassure Her
Many women blame themselves for their miscarriage even though they have no control over it happening. It's often important as a friend to reassure her that the miscarriage was not her fault and nothing she could have done would have prevented it from happening. Listen to how she's feeling and reassure her that all of her emotions are completely normal.
5. Send Flowers
It's amazing how such a simple gesture such as sending flowers can help brighten someone's day. During a time when your friend is enveloped in sadness, a cheerful and bright delivery of flowers can bring a little bit of sunshine with it.
6. Offer Your Services
Miscarriage can be emotionally devastating and your friend may need some help with daily responsibilities while they recover. Offer to help run some errands, do the laundry, grab some groceries or even get older children to lessons or to school so they don't have to worry about it . Taking some of those daily responsibilities off your friend's plate, even for just a little while, can be a big help while they're still processing their grief.
7. Share Your Own Story
If you've also suffered a miscarriage of your own, it may help to share your own experience with your friend. Letting her know she's not alone can be a comfort during her difficult time. Many women who have had miscarriages say that talking about it with a friend who has also experienced them is incredibly helpful, because they can relate to what they're feeling and experiencing. Just being able to share their feelings with someone who knows what they're going through can mean a lot.
8. Consider The Family
While a miscarriage can be hardest on the woman, it also seriously effects other family members as well. Make sure to check in with the father and other children who may also be having a hard time dealing with the loss, just to make sure they're doing OK as well.
9. Remember The Baby
Acknowledging the baby your friend lost can be a sweet way to let your friend know that you're there for her. A donation in memory of the child to a children's charity, or a keepsake gift you had made for your friend that let's her know that you support her.
10. Check In
Don't forget to check in with your friend over the months after your friend's miscarriage, especially during the time she would have been due. A nice hand written card, flowers or simply taking her out to lunch to acknowledge the baby that she lost lets her know that you're there for her and thinking of her.