How do you tell your friend that miscarried her child, you are expecting your own child? Very carefully. As Elmer Fudd says: “BE VE-WW-WY, VE-WW-WY CAREFUL”.
I felt inclined to write this after my best friend recently told me she was pregnant. It was the THIRD pregnancy announcement since we lost our son on March 30th. Alert the presses: pregnancy seems to be contagious.
I’ll be honest, I have felt so many emotions with each announcement and a lot of them were not good at first. However, I am beyond happy for these three women, it just takes a moment to get there. I appreciated the care that these friends took when telling me their special news. They were gentle, mindful and sensitive to my situation.
To every woman out there pregnant and needing to tell your college bestie, co worker bestie, your workout bestie or whatever friend it is: you could possibly hurt your friendship if you do this wrong the wrong way.
It sounds dramatic. Really dramatic. But when a person is grieving, there is no telling how they will handle anything. Grieving mothers are the most extreme, want an example? The week after I delivered my stillborn son, his pathology report came back from his autopsy. I Googled every term on that piece of paper and concluded that I had an infection. Which then I Googled more and found out you can get infections from your partner. I went down the Google rabbit hole even more…you can get an STD from your partner, that causes the infection, that causes your child to die.
With my hand on my hip, I cornered my sweet, unsuspecting husband and point blank asked him: “what girlfriends in your past did you have unprotected sex with?’ It was like that moment in a cheesy sitcom where everyone is dancing and someone says something and the DJ stops the music.
<—–His face said it all. And then he hid the pathology report from me until our next doctor’s appointment and forbid me to Google.
Yeah. YEAH. I KNOW. That is how crazy a grieving mother can get. I was hormonal, in physical pain from 12 hours of labor, sobbing, not sleeping, barely eating and desperate to find out why and how I lost my first born child.
(For the record, after seeking a professionals opinion and not the wise people of Google, we learned we lost our child due to an umbilical cord accident. He died in the womb about 10 days before I delivered him. Our son’s little body began decomposing in my body, causing an infection in my placenta. Moral of the story: DO NOT GOOGLE and DO NOT corner your sweet, unsuspecting husband.)
So now you get the point. Your friend has all sorts of hormones and emotions going on and this could make her or break her. Here are 8 things to consider when delivering your wonderful news to your friend:
- Tell her: As much as you are worried about upsetting her, do not leave her in the dark to find out later that you’re pregnant through your adorable and well planned and photographed pregnancy announcement. We may be hurting and crying every single day but bottom line, we still want to know.
- Try an email or text first: This is very important. After you have shared your exciting news with your family, decrease the chances of her hearing it through grapevine by telling her before the rest of the world knows. Text or email her privately to allow for the news to settle in before you chat face to face or pick up the phone. She is most likely going to have all sorts of emotions and some tears, so give her time to gather them. Wait for a response and go from there.
- Follow up with her: You may have received a response from the initial email or text, you may not have. Give it a day or two if you haven’t heard anything pick up the phone and follow up.
- Expect a reaction: There is no schedule on when a bereaved mother is having a good moment or a really hard moment so the chances are she is going to blubber like an idiot. This is normal. It doesn’t mean she is upset with you, she is just hurting for her own child.
- Show sympathy: Be gentle with your words and let her know that this was hard for you. Let her know that you are thinking of her and her child. Just be kind, be the friend she knows so well.
- Avoid complaining: Be mindful on social media, texts and phone calls. We know pregnancy isn’t a walk in the park, but GOODNESS what we wouldn’t give to still be pregnant or holding our baby. Complaining about your pregnancy will only push your bereaved friend away, find another friend to vent to when you are eye level in the toilet with last night’s nachos.
- Check in with her: We know you are growing a miracle but occasionally ask your friend how she is doing. The occasional text and call will help more than you know during this time. Maybe send her a bottle of her favorite wine. Because, wine.
- Remember she is happy for you: Know deep down know she is happy for you. Tears, anger, frustration may appear but it’s only because she is in pain and wished we were still pregnant or cuddling her infant.
Focus on your friendship and know that you two will get through this together. Just remember to be gentle when sharing the news with your friend. This is your pregnancy and your moment to be over the moon, congratulations on the bun in the oven!