10 Ways to help a hurting mom
Afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing after a friend loses a child? You’re not alone. I hear women often say, “I want to help, but I don’t know how.”
Here are ten ways you can support a friend going through a loss or miscarriage:
1. Pray for her.
Do it daily. Put it on your calendar. Set your alarm. Add it to your daily list. Then let her know you’re praying. It might not feel like those minutes will matter to her, but they do.
2. Follow her lead in the grieving process.
Don’t attempt to fix it, force it, or hurry her along. Grieving is a process that takes a lifetime. There’s no fixing a giant tear in your heart. When you call her, repeat these words to yourself: Listen. Don’t fix. Listen. Don’t fix.
3. Touch base regularly.
Call, text, email, stop by her house, Don’t avoid her. Avoidance is what we do when we’re not sure what to do. Even worse, she will notice that you stopped contacting her and will wonder why.
4. Stand by her through horrible pain.
Do # 3 and then keep doing it. Don’t abandon her for friends whose lives are easier or simpler. Listen to her questions. Let her ask, Why me? Don’t offer advice, platitudes, or stories of others who’ve gotten pregnant after going through loss.
5. Offer something you know you can give.
A cup of coffee, a meal, a walk, a babysitter. Then follow through with it.
6. Anticipate her needs.
Avoid the phrase: “Call me if you need something.” There are days so bad, she won’t have the energy to understand what she needs or who to call. Have an idea of how you can help and then take the initiative.
7. Lessen the daily grind.
If there are recurring tasks you can take over, offer to do them. Walk the dog, pick up her kids from school, or take out her trash. Some tasks, like laundry and house cleaning, do require her permission (but are extremely valuable). She may be embarrassed for someone to deal with her dirty laundry or she may be holding on to certain memories related to the last shirt she wore while pregnant.
8. Save the date.
Set calendar events for anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays. Then send a note saying, Thinking of you and your sweet baby today.
9. Consider a memory gift.
Plant a tree or flowers that bloom every year. Buy a special item (jewelry, a Christmas ornament or candle) to remember her child. Make a gift that is unique to her. All these things go a long way in helping her remember she is loved.
10 Say I love you and I’m sorry and I know I cannot make things better, but will be here no matter what.
To all the hurting mamas, out there: We’re in this together. You’re not alone. Let’s wrap arms of love around each other.