Supporting Moms through Miscarriage
by Christa C Hogan
Our MOPS leadership team starts all of our planning meetings with prayer, and one night last January I felt led to pray for all of the moms in our MOPS group who would have babies this year. Almost as an after thought, I included any expectant moms who might experience difficult pregnancies or miscarriage. Little did I know that a few weeks later I would be one of them.
Even though we’d experienced one miscarriage before my son was born, I was stunned when I started to miscarry a second time, this time at six weeks. A few months later, we found ourselves pregnant again. The pregnancy was progressing well without any signs of distress, and we were almost out of our first trimester when an ultrasound in July failed to show a fetal heartbeat.
While we’ve been coping with our losses, I’ve also been serving as co-coordinator of a MOPS group in North Carolina. I find myself surrounded by other mothers of preschoolers who are going about the joyful business of birthing their second, third, even fourth babies. Meetings are filled with suckling babies, swollen bellies – constant reminders of our loss, while my husband and I try for our third pregnancy in less than a year.
And yet I wouldn’t miss it for the world. The women of my MOPS group have supported my family with meals, cards, prayers and most of all, love and friendship. Who better to understand the desire for children, the pain of that loss but other moms? My first miscarriage four years ago was hardest because I felt alone. Now my MOPS friends carry me in their hearts and pray and yearn with me.
Every woman and every miscarriage is different, but here are a few ideas you can consider to support a mom experiencing pregnancy loss in your group:
- Support grieving moms with notes, cards, phone calls or meals immediately after the loss. The grieving process can be very long and difficult though and she may need support even weeks later. Just a call from a friend to say, “How are you doing?” can mean the world.
- Women who experience miscarriage often hear incredibly insensitive things from well-meaning friends and family, so she may be hesitant to talk about her loss, fearing further hurt. Be there to listen, but don’t feel pressure to offer answers on why it happened or how. If you can’t think of anything else to say, try, “I love you. I’m praying for you. I’m sorry for your loss.”
- Miscarriage isn’t contagious. Don’t avoid addressing the needs of moms in your group who’ve experienced pregnancy loss and infertility because you’re worried you’ll offend or scare expectant moms.
- Healing from pregnancy loss can be more difficult when a mother feels pressured to make everyone else around her feel better too. Tell her it’s okay to mourn and that you mourn with her, but don’t overdo it. The loss is hers alone.