How to Support Someone After Miscarriage
Watching a friend or family member go through a miscarriage is not an easy thing. Because many miscarriages tend to happen in the first three months of pregnancy, many couples don't even tell their loved ones they're pregnant yet. For this reason, navigating through loss can be a very isolating and painful experience.
If you happened to find out that a loved one recently miscarried, chances are they're struggling through the emotions and everything else that comes along with it. There are a few things you can do to help your loved ones feel less alone and be supported. Here are some things we suggest:
5 Ways to Support Someone After Miscarriage
Acknowledge their loss
Some people will want to talk about their miscarriage, and others might not be ready to share their feelings yet. Whatever your loved ones choose to do, make sure to acknowledge their loss. Whether their baby was five weeks old or five months old, it's important to make sure their feelings are made valid. They may back away from others, let them have that space but also let them know that whenever they are ready, you are here for them. You can always check in with their partner if they have said they want to be alone and just let them be aware that you are concerned and here for them. Allow them to express their feelings of guilt, shame, anger, or disappointment without judgment.
Choose your words carefully
Throwing around insensitive comments like "I know exactly what you're going through, "At least you know you can get pregnant", "You're still young", "At least it wasn't far along", or "You can always try for another" can feel very insensitive even if they're well-intended.
If you don't know the right words to say, it's okay to let them know that and say you're very sorry.
Check in and offer your support
Miscarriage can be emotionally and physically exhausting, so it could potentially help to take some things off their plate. You can offer a variety of things like prep meals for them, asking if she needs child pick-up, or just offering to take a walk with her or a giftcard to her favorite restaurant.
Help remember and commemorate their baby
As time goes on or they do eventually get pregnant again, feelings of loss or postpartum depression may still come up. Help remember and commemorate their baby with specific dates. Offer flowers, a gift box from a gifting service (There's a local one based in Southern California called XO, Box that ships across the U.S.), or even a text to let them know you're thinking of them on the day they choose to commemorate their baby.
Be a good listener
Above all else, be a good listener. If you don't know what to say, that's completely okay. Let the couple know you don't know what else to say besides you're sorry and you're there to listen at any time they're ready to share.
Things to Avoid
Do not minimize their loss.
Many women and families who go through miscarriage will find it very hurtful to hear phrases that start with "At least" or "It was God's will" or "Count your blessings you already have a healthy child." Their feelings should be made valid, so let them express their emotions without judgment.
Avoid asking when they'll try again.
Miscarriage can be a very traumatizing experience, so they might not be ready to answer or talk about it yet. Avoid asking when they plan to try for another.
Do not offer unsolicited advice or stories.
This is about supporting your loved ones, so keep your stories, advice, and opinions to yourself unless they ask. Don't try to fix them or speed up the healing process. Support them through their grief by allowing them to feel their emotions and move forward when they're ready.
Miscarriage and infertility is difficult. The feelings and experiences that come along afterward may not be any easier. As a supporter of someone going through it, make sure your loved one has someone to talk to. If you need help figuring out how to support your friends through loss, please don't hesitate to reach out at ElizabethKing.com or point them to the Mamas After Miscarriage guide to help them heal their heart and understand the process.