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“Empathy involves communicating that incredibly healing message of ‘you are not alone’”

“Friends are the biggest gift. Life does not make any sense without interdependence. We need each other, and the sooner we learn that, the better it is for us all”

“I hate grief! I Don’t want this anymore!” Please help me make it stop! It is really hurting me!” These are comments we hear all the time on the Knafayim phone lines.

“Worst club, best members.” This quote is included in many infertility and pregnancy loss platforms and sites. It introduces the idea that – while we have not asked for it – we are now part of a universal community that has been affected by pregnancy loss.

When we struggle, we often hope that our friends can somehow diminish the weight of the heavy load we are carrying. We may think that they should somehow be able to read our minds and know the exact kind of support we need.

Giving guidelines or gentle boundaries about how you want your friends to support may be helpful.

It is also important to consider how safe you feel with the people with whom you decide to share and to consider if they can hold the space necessary for you to share your pain.

When we are frightened and in pain, we need a friend with whom we can be honest. We need to reach out to someone who is safe, who will not judge, and who will not shut or shun our pain.

Your friends ability to support you in times of pain is largely dependent on their ability to empathize with your experience. Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and to vicariously experience with they are feeling, thinking, and experiencing. We need others who can enter the abyss with us, sometimes again and again. We like to surround ourselves by those who “just get it”.

Yes, it is a skill that takes practice. Providing empathy even to a close friend is a skill that can be learned. It is hard work, because it means that your friend needs to be brave, expose herself to your pain, and have the strength to sit with you while you are in it.

Solace and care come from many sources. Having someone who can listen deeply, attentively and nonjudgmentally, and having a friend that provides your much deserved empathy, that is the support that will keep you going.

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