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I Know Exactly How You Feel
Written by Clara Hinton   |  Oct 05, 2001
In our attempts to help someone deal with the loss of a child, we often say things without giving the words much thought. To the parent grieving a loss, words can be the only thing they have to cling to in the early weeks of grief. The words that come from the mouths of friends will be remembered for a long time to come, and some thought should be given as to what we say before we speak. In our attempts to help, often we are careless and end up hurting instead of helping.

Maybe because miscarriage is a common form of early child loss affecting as many as 200,000 couples in America each year (Silent Grief by Clara Hinton) we take it a bit too lightly and we often say things without really thinking what our words mean. Many parents who have lost a child will say the worst thing ever said to them were the words most of us have carelessly spoken, I know exactly how you feel.

Grief is a sensitive topic, and the way a parent grieves child loss is highly individual. We are taught that there are specific steps to follow in grief, but the truth is that nobody ever follows the pattern completely by the book. There is no timetable for grieving. There are no concrete rules that apply. One thing is absolutely certain, however. Nobody knows exactly how another person feels because grief is as personal as our own fingerprint!

When a miscarriage occurs, there are many losses that take place all at once. Parents dont have pictures and scrapbooks filled with memories to help ease their pain. There are no special toys the baby played with to be put in a special place to provide comfort. There are no reminders of fun birthday parties and visits to the zoo. The hope of those times spent together as a family was taken away very quickly, almost always without warning. To have another person say, I know exactly how you feel often sparks anger in the hearts of grieving parents.

Because we dont know how intense the bond of love was between mommy and baby and daddy and baby when a miscarriage occurs, we cannot possibly know the depth of pain the parent feels over this loss, their precious baby. So, what can you say that will help bring comfort?

The best thing we can say is to speak words directly from the heart. A good place to begin is by saying, I cannot even begin to know how you must hurt right now. These words of compassion are enough to speak volumes to grieving hearts. Parents need to know that you cannot ever fully understand the depth of their pain, but you accept the fact that their hearts are hurting more than they ever thought possible.

We need to be sensitive to the feelings of parents who have suffered a miscarriage, letting them know that we do not fully understand how they feel, but our hearts hurt, too. You dont have to say a lot of words to express your heartfelt sorrow. Learn to be a good listener. Allow the parents to express what they are feeling. Remember that its okay if tears fall. Above all else, when in doubt as to what to say, dont say anything. Just pull up a chair and sit beside your friend. Plain and simply put, parents who have lost a child just need a friend to be there!
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