Quick Tips for Faith Leaders
Are members of your congregation struggling after pregnancy or reproductive loss? Wondering how you can help individuals, or your whole congregation, through this type of loss?
Even if you have not been approached by anyone in your congregation about this subject, you may be surprised how many people in your congregation are impacted.
You can become a safe place for those impacted, to help them by offering an opportunity to share their story and help process the pain of pregnancy and reproductive losses like miscarriage.
October is an ideal time to raise this topic. It is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. These two events provide an opportunity for you to raise the subject throughout your congregation.
Please note that the feelings after reproductive loss are as unique as fingerprints. Below are some tips to help anyone in your congregation who may express feelings of grief or pain to you, or show signs of struggling.
What To Do
- Listen to their story. Try not to interrupt. It is ok to be silent.
- Acknowledge their emotions by nodding and when appropriate repeating the emotions back to them.
- Assure them that whatever they share with you will be kept confidential.
- Gently remind them that they are not alone.
- Refer them to our Helpful Toolkit for Everyone. Within this are helpful toolkits for women who have miscarried, men impacted by miscarriage, and toolkits for loved ones. This includes our Top 10 Terrific Things to Say and Do, and Top 10 Terrible Things That Caring People Say.
- If it makes sense, refer them to our healing websites: MiscarriageHurts.com or AbortionChangesYou.com.
- Say: “I will remember with you.” This is a powerful phrase to share. For anyone who has lost a child, their biggest fear is typically that no one will remember their child or their loss.
What Not To Do
- Dismiss their experience – even if you don’t understand or agree with it.
- Suggest that there is a right or wrong way to feel after an abortion or miscarriage.
- Try to force them to talk about their experience.
- Minimize or exaggerate how they feel.
- Discourage them from working through their emotions.
Helpful things to say…
- “You are not alone.”
- “I’m so sorry for your loss.”
- “That must be so hard.”
- “How can I help?”
- “I’m here for you.”
- “It’s not a big deal.”
- “It’s best not to dwell upon it.”
- “You can always try again.”
- “You should__________.”
- “You shouldn’t__________.”
- “At least__________.
Also refer to our Memorial Suggestions and memorial items in our Shop, which may also bring comfort and peace to hurting members of your congregation.