Day 10

When my neighbor’s sister went into labor at 23 weeks a year and a half ago, I was heartbroken for her. The baby lived only a few hours. I wrote about not knowing what I could possibly do to help. What was there to say? What comfort could I give? With my limited funds, what could I give her that would show how sorry I was for her loss?

I’m glad now that I wrote about that experience, because it helps me understand how you guys might be feeling. I feel bad that anyone else is sad – it seems bad enough that Jarom and I are going through this; I don’t want friends and family to have a hard time too! Looking back on that experience, though, reminds me that we “mourn with those that mourn.” It’s part of being human. We do feel sorrow when misfortunes befall those we love.

One of the things I’ve heard people say most is, “I wish I knew what to say.” Unfortunately, aside from changing the facts of the situation, there isn’t really anything you can say that will make things better. A lot of the time I don’t even know what to say. But, because I’m a generous and magnanimous person, I’ve compiled a list of things that make me feel better – both things you can say and things you can do. Obviously, the sentiment behind these has to be real, because otherwise it isn’t actually meaningful.

Things I like hearing

  • I’m sorry you’re going through this.
  • I’m heartbroken with you.
  • I went through this (which, if it is the case, I’m so sorry that you understand) / I know someone who did. (I’d rather not hear “I knew someone whose baby was really sick but lived” because . . . well, just because.)
  • I’m bringing you dinner / taking your kids / sending you a note in the mail.
  • I’m thinking of you.
  • What can I do to help?

It’s hard not to want to do something concrete. I’ve had lots of general offers of help, but often I can’t think of something specific on the spot or I’m just too unwilling to actually ask for help. Some of these things can only be done if you live nearby, but others are good even long-distance.

Things you can do

  • Bring a meal, especially one I can put in the freezer.
  • Take my kids away for a while.
  • Bring or send a game or project I can do with the kids. Playing with them helps me A LOT.
  • Mail a note. Knowing that people are thinking of me makes me feel loved.
  • If you want, pray for us.
  • Come keep me company while I do housework – I really struggle when I don’t have a grownup around to talk to – or even do the housework yourself. (I hope I don’t sound selfish or demanding; it’s just harder to keep up with housework lately.)
  • Send a package. I have an Amazon list, which is probably legitimately selfish to link to, and I’ve been thinking it would be nice to have some nicer toiletries to take with me to the hospital. Body wash? Shampoo? Lotion? (Not long before I had Evan, my sister-in-law gave me some amazing body wash from Victoria’s Secret. I saved it to take to the hospital and I always remember feeling pampered by the luxurious soap.)
  • Email, Facebook, comment on the blog, or text to see how I’m doing. There are times when I really need to know that someone is thinking of me.
  • If you know someone who’s lost a baby, ask if they’d be willing to talk to me. In the end I doubt there’s much I can do to truly prepare, but it might be helpful for me to connect with other parents who have an idea what I’m going through and who can share their experience.
  • Babysit in the evening so Jarom and I can go out. Spending more time together helps us feel better, as does trying to have fun and enjoy ourselves.
  • Stop by to say hi.
  • Ask any questions you have. Talking about it is good for me.

What do you think? Do you have other ideas of what friends and family can do?


11 Comments on “Day 10”

  1. Jim says:

    Movie tickets!

  2. Bethany says:

    That is a GREAT list! I think it’s wonderful that you’ve given us examples of ways to help you!

  3. Rebecca says:

    Thank you for offering up some ideas for us. I know that I am not the only one who has been wanting to express love and care for you and your family, but struggle to know where to start.

    A couple of us girls from work would like to come over Saturday evening, around 4:15-4:30 to take care of the kids, feed them dinner, and clean up a bit while you and Jarom head out for a couple of hours for dinner and some alone time. Does that fit your schedule? If not, we may be able to arrange for another day. Just let me know.

    With love,

    Rebecca (Legally Mine)

  4. Nicole says:

    I really appreciate this list. I had a couple of miscarriages before Katie, but they were really early and not really at all the same thing, so I’ve been feeling so terribly tongue tied. I’m praying for you, and will be following up on a few of your suggestions soon.

  5. George Wells says:

    Good afternoon. You don’t know me, but I’m a friend of Brian’s, and he shared your situation with me in a conversation recently. I just want you to know that although I can’t do much for you, being very far away, you are in my prayers.

    Not really the same thing, but my sister-in-law misscarried several times between the first and second child. The worst was when the doctor told her that the baby had died when she went to her appointment on a Friday. He told her to come in Monday to have it removed. Our hearts hurt so much for her.

    I don’t think there is any greater pain than losing a child. Again, you don’t know me, but please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  6. Angela Araya says:

    Mika! I have been thinking about you. My daughter was pulling books off of our bookshelf yesterday and found this way cute little book called “Hug”… You gave it to me! Do you remember that book? or giving it to me? Well, I hope you are getting lots of real hugs right now. I am really sorry that you and your family have to have this trial. Much prayers and love your way. Angela (Sutton) Araya

  7. Camile says:

    My mother-in-law told me to let you know she had a very similar experience at the 20 week appointment where the baby had cancers for lungs and the heart was misplaced. I think I have that right. Anyway, they did a funeral for the baby, so if you have any questions for her or want to talk about it, she said you were welcome to call her. Let me know if you are interested and I’ll give you her phone number.

  8. serena hary says:

    You don’t know me personally,I’m friends with Brian. I’m so very sorry, that you have to endure this. I think what your doing right here is healthy, and potentially very helpful to others. I have a friend who recently had to endure a still birth. If and when your ready I would love to get one of your watercolors for her. It can either be a gift from you, or from me. Your choice. You can find me on Brian’s Facebook. Serena Laidlaw Hary. From one mother to another, I just felt that I wanted to say your story touched me deeply.

  9. Heather B. says:

    I lost babies at 16 and 14 weeks. I am soo sorry you are gong through this!!! A good friend told me I was now part of a club no one wanted to ever join but your glad your not the only member. I can’t remember for sure how far a long she was but she also found out she was losing hers at her 20 week ultrasound. I wish I could take it all away for you. I know that there are support groups and lots of online forums. If you ever want to talk let me know.

  10. Diane Schrader says:

    Mika, I heard about your situation through your uncle on Scribophile. My daughter, Brandy, had a baby boy seven years ago with Potter’s Syndrome. She went through everything you are now, all the questions, doubts, fears and like you, she held on to every moment she had him with her. It was her first baby and although she now has three healthy boys, the loss of little Ian will always be there. We all gathered at the hospital the night he was born. Ian lived only one hour but we all held him and loved him. The pastor was there to baptize him. His life, however, brief, still had a purpose and enriched our family. May you be strong and have faith that there is a higher purpose to all things and through these difficult times may God grant you his peace and healing comfort. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

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