Supporting Friends through Infertility, Miscarriage, & Child Loss

I read an article years ago about making investments in your 20’s and 30’s, and these weren’t investments of the financial nature – they were investments in people. It was a reminder to not forget to make deposits when the responsibilities of home, babies, careers, and marriages found a way to quickly turn weeks into years. The idea of investing in people through thick and thin and reaping the dividends in the future really stuck with me. The conversation I’ve had about it in my head over the past 15 years have really had an impact on how I’ve shaped parts of my life. It has also led me to the gift of counsel. It has given me the ability to talk about things that people are scared to talk about. To teach people that are scared to talk about things, how to do overcome their fears…and invest when it’s deep and dark and twisted.

As we’ve moved into the reproducing stage of our lives, the hardest of these conversations circle around infertility, miscarriage, and child loss. I still don’t know why we’ve put ourselves in the situation where we find it scary to invest in our people when they are in these situations. I’ve logged an insane amount of commuting hours {thanks Houston traffic!} talking and listening to dear friends figure out how to overcome adversity when growing their families. I’ve sent hundreds of texts and emails to soul sisters and near strangers checking in on them after devastating losses. I’ve coached people “on what to say” because “you just know how to say it”. What follows are my tips and conversation starters for those situations where you know you need to reach out, to invest, but don’t what to say or where to start…

THIS SUCKS.

I know it’s not the prettiest word, but for some reason it’s a great ice breaker. It’s relate-able.
“Sarah, this SUCKS. I’m so sorry. Gosh, this just sucks!!!” feels so much better than “I’m so sorry.”

LONELY.

Infertility, miscarriage, and child loss are isolating and very lonely places to be. The reminder that your person isn’t alone can move mountains. Life gets hectic, and it’s hard to remember sometimes…but make the effort, make the investment. Set a reminder on your phone! It can change someone’s day.
“Sarah, just thinking about you today. Huge hugs coming your way, I’m always here.”

QUESTIONS.

Don’t be scared to ask questions. Test the boundaries, you’ll know when to back down. Most likely the person wants to talk through the situation. It’s constantly on their mind and getting it out is cathartic. When you lead, it allows them to drop some walls and it makes you an ally – removing the uncomfortable.
“How are you feeling?  I’m here if you want to talk about it.”

IT’S GOING TO BE OKAY.

Yes, yes, yes. It will one day be “okay.”  But it won’t look the same, it won’t feel the same, and it will change someone forever. I feel like this one just slips out because we are stuck and don’t know what to say. I know these are words that come from a good place, but let’s change them up a little.
“Sarah, being angry is completely warranted.”
“How are you doing today? I hope it’s just a little better than yesterday.”
“Just wanted to let you know I’m here when you need me.”

KEEP TALKING.

The most important piece of advice I can give is to keep talking. Keep investing. I’ve said the wrong things many times, and the wrong things have been said to me. But these relationships were grown for a reason – they were here before infertility, before miscarriage, before child loss, before whatever, and the best way to preserve them is to keep the conversation going. Keep talking and keep listening.

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