How to minister to a hurting woman


~ If you have not lost a baby, simply say “I’m sorry.  I have no idea what to say, but I am sorry.”  Do not compare her loss to the death of a spouse, parent, friend ... it is not the same.  Let her loss be just that, her loss.  She needs your prayer, your support, your hugs, your tears, and your listening ear.  Nothing more.

~ Do not minimize her loss.  “At least it was early on.”  “You had not even felt the baby yet so you could not be too attached.”  “It could be worse.”  Her baby died.  Whether it was six weeks along or the day before the due date, her baby is gone.  Let her mourn ~ and weep with her.

~ Call the baby by name if she named him/her.  This affirms that you recognize the baby as a real person, someone who mattered.

~ Ask her to tell you her story.  Because honestly, no one asks.  People are afraid of details and show little interest in hearing the process.  The mother NEEDS to talk about it.  The how, the why, the details.  She needs to share ~ let her.

~ Please do not remind her that she has other children.  Phrases like “At least you have other children to love at home.”  “I know this is hard but Beth needs you to take care of her.”  She is more than aware of her living children and will probably hug them a bit tighter every night for a long time.  The knowledge of her living children does not bring comfort – she has just lost/buried a baby and that loss is what is causing her heart to break.  She needs to be allowed to miss that baby and not feel guilty for doing so.

~ Mark your calendar for a month after her loss. 
The first few weeks are filled with cards and flowers and visits and then BAM.  It all stops and everyone moves on with life ~ except for the grieving mother and father.  They are just beginning to feel the loss and are now living the reality.  NOW is the time to act.  Serve them, love them, and remember them.
Send a note, drop off flowers, or take the mom out for dinner a few months after her loss.
Get a group of friends together and take turns sending notes of encouragement and meals.

~ Mark the date of her loss on your calendar.  Send a card on the year anniversary of the loss/delivery/surrender to say, “I remember.  I have not forgotten.  I love you.”

~ Do not tell her to call you if she needs anything.  She will not call.  She feels utterly alone and like no one else understands what she is going through.  Take initiative – invite her over for dinner, go shopping to buy a new dress, send a card with a heartfelt letter, take her older children to the park for an afternoon – ACT.  She may not seem joyful or appreciative at the moment – but she will never forget it and it will be a soothing balm to her aching heart.

~ Ask the father how he is doing.  The fathers are almost always overlooked, if not forgotten.  Call him, send him a note.  He will probably not respond the way the mother does, if at all, but that gesture will never be forgotten.

~ Be direct.  Just because the mom/dad seem happy and are laughing and moving forward with life does not mean their hearts are still not breaking and the tears are not falling in private.  Do not be afraid to make them cry or bring up emotion – often times it is exactly what we need.  Look the mom in the eye and say, “How are you?  Is this is a good day or a rough day?  How can I pray for you?”  And HUG her like you mean it!

~ Seek to understand her heart.  If she seems to avoid pregnant women, or lacks joy for the news of someone else having a baby, remember ... her baby has died.  And her dreams of motherhood have died too.  She is grieving, hurting, and feels lost.  Everyone responds differently to miscarriage and some need more time than others.  Give her time.  Overlook the offense, knowing it is coming from a place of pain, and pray for the Lord to heal her heart and renew her joy for others ~ in His time.

~ Sometimes, a woman does not want to talk about her loss. At all.  She may even pretend that nothing happened and will say she just wants to move on with her life.  You may not agree, you may know she is hurting deeply ... let the Lord work.  She knows where you are, and when she is ready you can be there to soothe her hurting heart.

~ Pray!  For there is no other place to find true healing than at the foot of the cross.