My sweet friend,

Our culture doesn't do this grief thing well, especially when the source is as invisible as a miscarriage. Just how do you share that kind of news when you thought you'd be sharing the most joyful news of your life? Instead, you have to tell of one of your greatest heartaches.

I was pregnant, and then I wasn't.

Does this terrible reality negate the joy you felt when you saw that second pink line? Does it make your pregnancy any less meaningful? Does it make you any less of a mother?

My answer to you, dear one, is no.

I know what it feels like to see those two pink lines, only to see blood a few days later. In an instant after getting that positive test, a lifetime of dreams form within you: how your family will grow, who your child will be, the adventures you'll have, the ways you'll change. After a miscarriage, you're not just grieving the loss of a pregnancy. You're grieving the death of dreams that took root but never had a chance to grow.

By now, you've probably been on the receiving end of well-intended but hurtful platitudes: Everything happens for a reason. God needed an angel baby. God has a better plan. You can try for another child.

But I see you, friend, and I know you wanted this pregnancy, this baby, this life. I see how your mama heart was already growing and stretching to accommodate this precious little person, and I affirm that your heartache is well placed. Your baby is a part of you, one with you, created within your very own body.

So instead of those worn-out cliches, this is what I will say instead:

It's not supposed to be like this.

Mamas are not supposed to lose their babies.

This isn't fair.

You are allowed to grieve as long as it takes.

You do not have to be okay today.

You do not have to move on.

Your body is still good.

I hope you will learn to trust your body again, that someday you will decide to take another risk on love, and that as a result of this loss, you will become a more tender and empathetic version of yourself. I hope that when another friend walks through a miscarriage and confides in you, you will see her and embrace her and welcome her into our sisterhood of women who know how she is feeling and who are ready to stand by her.

Ultimately, I hope you come to see the time you were pregnant as something worth celebrating—maybe not today, but eventually. Because, friend, pregnancy is a gift meant to be enjoyed for however long we have it. Of course, I wish that gift had been yours for nine whole months. But whether it was for two weeks or 42, you carried life.

If each day with your baby is a gift, then even the very last one is both something to grieve and something to treasure.

And however you're feeling day by day—whether you're in awe of goodness or struggling under the weight of grief—I'll be right here to carry it with you.