Photo of toilet paper, Cheez-Its becomes lesson on supporting someone after miscarriage

·3 min read

Ashlee Gadd was seven weeks pregnant with her fourth child when she learned earlier this month that she suffered a miscarriage, her first.

"A miscarriage was not even on my radar," Gadd, of Sacramento, California, told "Good Morning America." "It took a couple of minutes to really hit me and I was crushed. The doctor asked if she could give me a hug and the moment her arms wrapped around my neck, I started sobbing."

It got even harder in the week that followed, while she waited to undergo a dilation and curettage, a medical procedure performed to clear the uterine lining after a miscarriage.

"In that week, I was still feeling very pregnant, feeling nauseous and my boobs hurt," she said. "My body felt very pregnant but my mind knew that I wasn’t going to be much longer. That was a really hard thing to reconcile."

It was also during that trying time that she received an offer of support from a friend. Gadd took to Instagram to share the message because it meant so much.

PHOTO: Ashlee Gadd, of Sacramento, California, opened up about her miscarriage in posts on Instagram. (Courtesy Ashlee Gadd)
PHOTO: Ashlee Gadd, of Sacramento, California, opened up about her miscarriage in posts on Instagram. (Courtesy Ashlee Gadd)

Gadd's friend, Anna, sent her a text that included four options for help, from which Anna said to pick one. The options included everything from allowing Anna to pick up Gadd's children from school or grabbing whatever she needed from Target, to having dinner delivered or "politely declining" her offer to help.

When Gadd saw the text, she said she immediately thought of the fact that she needed toilet paper and was going to have to go to Target herself to get it later in the day.

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A few hours later, waiting at Gadd's doorstep was toilet paper and a box of Cheez-Its.

"I was going to have to go to Target that day but I was still nauseous and grieving," said Gadd. "The thing that really stood out to me with Anna’s text is that she just made it so easy to say yes."

"It was such a relief to not have to put any thought into how she could help me," she said.

When Gadd, the founder of Coffee + Crumbs, a storytelling site for mothers, shared the message in a post on Instagram, it received more than 17,000 likes and thousands more comments.

"I was very surprised by the reaction, but I'm glad it got the attention it got," said Gadd. "If that post can help other women know how to be a better friend to their friends who are struggling, that’s a blessing and a gift."

"I know Anna’s text showed me that there’s another way to do this," she said. "The next time I see a friend walking through a hard time, I plan to send that text with the options."

MORE: Lawmakers try to change how people are supported after pregnancy loss

Gadd, who is writing a book, "Create Anyway," about motherhood, said she hopes her post helps other women both accept help and speak up during what is often the very lonely experience of miscarriage, even though it is common.

As many as 20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, according to the Mayo Clinic.

"I was flooded with DMs when I started talking about my miscarriage from women who confessed to me that they have never talked to anyone about theirs, and that was really heartbreaking," she said, adding that even though she's been open about her miscarriage, the journey for her has still been "really isolating and really lonely." "It’s just reminded me of our need for compassion and empathy as a society."

Describing the help she has received from friends and family during her miscarriage, Gadd said she has "surrendered" to letting people help her, and has watched friendships deepen as a result.

"I think women have a hard time with it, but when we actually accept the help, not only are we helping ourselves, but we're also allowing a friend to grow close to us through that accepted offer, and this is how friendship grows," she said. "So I hope that's what the post does, that it encourages women not only to offer that type of help, but also to accept it as well."

Photo of toilet paper, Cheez-Its becomes lesson on supporting someone after miscarriage originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com

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