Supporting a friend suffering a miscarriage can be this beautifully simple
The power of friendship.
Miscarriages are common. So common. In fact, as many as one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage, which in Ireland means that around 15,000 women every year suffer a pregnancy loss.
But just because they are common, it doesn't make them any less heartbreaking – as so many of us know.
And when we feel the most broken, we need those around us - even when we are unable to figure out what it is exactly we need.
Supporting a friend suffering a miscarriage
When US-based mum Ashlee Gadd recently experienced a miscarriage, one of her friends showed up for her in a simple, yet so utterly beautiful way. The way only friends can.
And when Gadd took to Instagram to share what friendship amind a miscarriage looks like, needless to say, it resonated with mums everywhere.
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Captioning the two-picture post, Gadd simply wrote: "Friendship: A thread."
In the first photo, all we see is some toilet paper and a box of Cheez-Its sitting on what is clearly the front step of a house. The second photo in the slideshow shows a text her friend Anna sent her – a simple text that included four option for some help – and a request that Gadd picked one.
The options included picking Gadd's other children up from school, grabbing whatever she needed from the supermarket, having dinner delivered or, as a last option, "politely declining" her offer to help right now.
Replying to her friend, Gadd responded with a photo of a half-roll of toilet paper.
"Would you believe me if I told you this is all of the toilet paper in my entire house right now?" she texted Anna back. "Would gladly take you up on the target offer — we need toilet paper. You'd be saving me a trip."
Gadd also admitted she would love some Cheez-Its.
This might seem like such simple and ordinary things to request, and might not seem like a grand gesture at all for her friend to get for her – and yet it is right here, in the ordinary, in the simple, that true help and support lies, Gadd argues.
Just two everyday items that carried a lot of weight for her while she was, as Gadd described to TODAY, still "grieving and bleeding."
Gadd's friend Anna told TODAY that when she has a friend who is suffering or struggling, she thinks tries to be helpful in a resourceful way.
"I know that Ashlee has other friends who can offer totally different resources, like sharing their own vulnerable stories of miscarriage or offering beautiful flowers or gifts," Quinlan said. "I'm not as great at those resources, but I can drop toilet paper and crackers on your porch by 3 p.m."
And the simple text was just what she needed at that time, Gadd revealed.
"More often than not, I think most of us default to, 'Let me know if you need anything,' she explained.
"I’ll speak for myself — I’ve sent that text a hundred times. She gave me something tangible to grab onto, without the emotional fatigue of trying to think of what I needed."
It just goes to show, I think, how simple it can be done. Showing that we care, offering to help – sometimes it is best kept simple and straightforward.
When we are at our lowest, it can feel exhausting reaching out for help when someone tells you 'just shout if you need anything.' And so by giving a grieving friend a few simple options, where all she has to do is answer yes or no, well, it takes the burden out of reaching out, doesn't it?