M.L. asks from Bakersfield, CA on July 13, 2007
Loss of Baby
Hi ladies, this is my first time writing to you and i wish it were under better circumstances...i have a friend that went to the doctor and he could not find a heartbeat for her baby. It is my understanding she was told that she would probably never be able to have children and so as you can imagine, she was estatic to find out she was with child! Today she had to go to the hospital to be "cleaned out" - she was a lil over 2 months along. i have known her since 5th grade and shes only 23yo-so i know shes waay to young, but my question is...have any of you ladies experienced this loss? she is going through it and i dont know what to say...im sure there is something (other than normal "loss sympathy") that would bring her comfort. was there anything anyone told you during your trial that really stood out? something that you culd pass along? and if you ladies cannot relate can you at least keep her in your prayers? Thank you.
L.A. answers from San Francisco on July 14, 2007
I went through this also many years ago. My oldest chid is just turning 17 next week. But about a year before she was born I went through a terrible miscarriage when I was about 4 months pregnant. I was devastated. I think the hardest things were that:
1) I was then a very private person who didn't like getting really emotional in front of people, but this was something so upsetting that I was just a wreck for a few weeks. And when family called to see how me and the baby were, I had to tell them I had miscarried. And deal with the feelings that came up and their response. Horrible! So maybe if someone, like her husband or mom, etc. could handle that job. So she only has to be vulnerable with people she feels really safe and comfortable with.
2)This was like the death of my baby to me. Most other people couldn't see it that way. For most it wasn't really real since it hadn't been born yet (and since I was barely out of my first trimester). Even my husband, couldn't get that this was so beyond thinking you're pregnant and then finding out you're not. So just to validate her own feelings of loss, whatever they may be, could be very supportive.
3)I felt so depressed for a while. And when it was okay to get pregnant again, I couldn't seem to conceive. I felt so worthless. Which sounds crazy as I believe women are SO much more than their ability to conceive! But the frustration of not being able to acheive what I so wanted, in something that seemed to BASIC...was heart wrenching. Now in hindsight I understand that things happen in their own time. I just had to be patient. So I would reassure her that her troubles now don't mean there's no chance she can't get pregnant. And that even if she can't physically conceive, it doesn't mean she can't become a mother through adoption. I firmly believe that our children are connected to us in spirit, and that it doesn't really matter how they come to us in the flesh. They get here how they get here. So they can be with us.
I think she should just give herself some space to grieve, to feel anger and disappointment too. And then she will come to that point where she's ready to start thinking about the future again.
To get involved in some kind of project might help her. ...Something I find really helpful to get me out of a funk is to help someone else. To share my loving kindness with someone else. I myself am a Humane Society volunteer, and giving my love and attention to those sweet little animal babies gives me such a lift. Talk about feeling appreciated! And it gets me out of dwelling on my problems -- which seems to elevate me to a more positive, constructive frame of mind.
C.N. answers from San Luis Obispo on July 14, 2007
This is a really hard one. You are right about it being beyond the normal hurts of life. I started loosing babies when I was about her age, and it continued until I stopped trying to have my 'own' children at about the age of 29. My problem was called spontaneous abortion, and I lost 5 babies. It was really bad, and caused a lot of pain and suffering, and depression. It was a long time ago , as I am 76 years old now. But I remember many days of crying and sadness and trying so hard to understand what was happening to me and why. The same thing happened to my sister, she stopped at 3 miscarriages, and we both began to talk about adopting children.
We never really did find out why this had happened to both of us, but maybe in these days they have better after care and counseling than we were given. The doctors just told us to go home and rest and not try to get pregnant for a year. Which seemed an eternity to each of us. I do remember that vividly. I pray that the doctors will be kinder to your friend than they were to us. Of course, now, we have the internet and can take some of our questions there.
We did adopt our children and had a glorious time with them as babies, and growing up. It was the best time of my life and I am so grateful to have been given these two wondrous children, now adults, of course. I love them to the very depths of my soul and, as we now say to each other "I love you to the sky and beyond." I have a wonderful grandchild - one of my children did not have any children of his own. My daughter gave me a great soul as a grandson, and he is turn has given me the best gift that anyone could every have - three great grandchildren, who are the angels of my life.
It was really, really hard on me in the beginning of losing babies, but I did survive, how, I do not know, but I did. From the depths of sorrow to the heights of joy, and it took a lot of years, and was worth every tear.
My sister and her husband adopted one beautiful baby girl and she now has a glorious grand daughter who is in the last year of high school .... beautiful and brilliant, of course.
So there you are, that is all I know. Except that when we were continually losing babies, people started to blame us. Why? Who knows? People are mean sometimes, and that was the cruelest. So, she might be prepared for that and therefore protected by knowing ahead of time that it may happen. I felt that it was not only cruel, but ignorant. And, that knowledge helped me brush off those comments. Also, likely, they helped strengthen me and give me independence that I needed to develop.
NOW that is all I know. Sincerely, C. N.
J.R. answers from Stockton on July 14, 2007
Like the other ladies said, the best thing you can do is to be her friend! Be there for her, let her know it is ok to talk to you and your there to support her and listen. I lost my pregnancy about 1 1/2 months ago and i was 13 weeks along. My bf wasn't that great about being there for me because even though i was already 13 weeks he didn't look at it like we lost a baby as i did (it had little feet and toes already). I think worst thing i had people ask me over and over was "are you ok?". No i wasn't ok and i still have my days, a simple "i'm sorry for your loss, is there anything you need or i'm here to listen" would have been better than "are you ok?". I know everyone deal with loss differently, some women don't want to be around other babies after a loss so that is something you might want to be sensitive to. She is in my thoughts!
K.G. answers from Fresno on July 14, 2007
I am so sorry for the loss your friend is going through. I went through a miscarriage after five years of trying and was devastated. People will say alot of stupid things to her (they think they are helping) and then some poeple just won't talk to her about it because they don't know what to say.
It sounds like she is lucky to have you as a friend. My best piece of advice is to just be there for her when she needs you. Let her know it's OK to cry and feel the loss. She will be very emotional for awhile and will need your support and love. Let her cry, scream, whatever she needs to do express herself. One of the things that helped me the most was I went ahead and named my baby that I had lost and it helped me grieve for my loss.
I wrote a letter to the baby and I still have it. I also wrote a letter to GOD and let him know how disappointed I was and how hurt. It is something I will always have and it really did help me recover from the loss.
Understand she will always morn the loss of her baby and she will never forget, but the pain will lessen and she will move on. I still take an hour on the day my baby was supposed to be due and just sit and remember. Hopefully she will get to have another child. My docs also told me I probably wouldn't conceive again, and guess what, I have had two beautiful and healthy children since then.
Good luck, and she and you will be in my prayers.
C.A. answers from Sacramento on July 14, 2007
First of all, I am so sorry to hear about your friend's loss. My sister also has been told she could never have babies naturally. She does have 1 son by IVF. Well, about 9 months ago, she found out she was pg naturally. She was so excited. They found the heartbeat at 6 weeks, and then at 10, nothing. She also had to have a d&c. I found the best thing to do is to just let her know you are there for her if she needs anything, and always a shoulder to cry on. Some things NOT to say...It was God's will, you can try again, things happen for a reason...NONE of these things ever brought my sister comfort and just made her upset. I really think just letting her know you are thinking about her, and there for her goes a long way.
V.W. answers from San Francisco on July 14, 2007
It is so hard, but just be a friend to her - that's what she needs - the loss isn't going away... I lost two babies before I had my first - my ex-husband was told he could never have a child - - - after 2 years of trying we finally made a baby strong enough to survive - she is now 17 and the light of my life.... I ended up re-marrying and having baby #5 any day!!!
M.D. answers from San Francisco on July 14, 2007
I am so sorry for the loss of your friend's baby. I lost my 15 month old daughter in March of 2006. Since then I started a non-profit for bereaved parents. I have a lot of information on my site and also links to other sites. The website is www.angelwingparents.org . I hope this helps and my thoughts and prayers are with your friend.
M.R. answers from Sacramento on July 14, 2007
I am so sorry to hear about your friends loss. I can completely understand. I lost my first child at 7 months in utero. It was purely devastating. All of our friends had very young babies at home, and so they all separated from us because they didn't know what to do for us. I can you tell you that IS NOT the thing to do, because it makes the friend feel like she did something wrong. Be there for her, but be considerate and leave your little one at home. Some things not to say are things such as "you are young, you can try again", "God does things for certain reasons", etc. I couldn't believe the things that were said to me when I lost our son. I am sure some of the things were said not to mean anything, but when you are hurting this much, things said can be taken out of context. You don't want to imply in any way that it is God's fault, because she may be blaming him already; you don't want to imply that the baby was any less important than a child that is born full term, etc. Just be overly sensitive, and encourage her to talk when she is ready. It took me about three months to get out of my 'funk' and finally pursued counseling, and it helped me immensely. It also helped me to be able to deal better with our second loss-at 7 weeks. We were very lucky to be blessed with our son who was conceived via IVF, who will be one in August. good luck and I will keep her in my prayers.