How to Support Someone Through a Miscarriage
According to the Mayo Clinic, 10 to 20% of pregnancies tragically end in miscarriage. And, because some people miscarry before they even know they’re pregnant, the actual number of miscarriages is likely much higher.
Despite the fact that pregnancy loss is common, it can be an isolating and devastating experience. Miscarriages often happen in the first three months of pregnancy, when many parents-to-be haven’t even told their family and friends that they’re pregnant yet. On top of the loss of their pregnancy, they have to decide whether to share that loss. For others, they may have just shared the news of the pregnancy—and now they have to tell people about the miscarriage. Either way, it’s a difficult reality to face.
So, how can you help a loved one member who is going through a pregnancy loss? Nothing can take away the pain of their loss but we have some tips to help you be there for them.
Follow their lead.
Some people want to talk about their miscarriage and others don’t. Whatever your loved one wants to do, make sure you follow their lead. If you’re unsure about what they want, it’s okay to gently ask. Try something like, “If you want to talk, let me know. If you want me to come over and watch a silly movie with you instead, let me know.”
The important thing is to let them know that you’re there for them no matter what they choose. You can sit and hold their hand and cry or you can take them out for dinner and talk about other things. Healing is so personal and everyone does it differently. Just make sure your loved one knows you’re by their side for however they choose to heal.
Don’t minimize their loss.
Whatever you do, don’t minimize the loss of the pregnancy. It doesn’t matter if the miscarriage happened at four weeks—it is still a loss. Don’t use “at least” statements like, “at least it happened early.” That’s a definite way to make your friend feel unsupported and misunderstood.
Make sure you say something.
You might not know the perfect thing to say to your friend who just experienced a miscarriage and that’s okay. The important thing is that you reach out and let them know you’re there for them. You don’t have to know exactly what to say—just say something.
Don’t ask when they’re going to try again.
Never ask someone who suffered a pregnancy loss about their plans to have children or if/when they plan to try again. Remember, they're grieving now. Plus, the decision about when and how to grow a family is a personal one. If they want to let you know their plans, they will.
Show your support concretely.
It’s one thing to tell your friend you’re there for them in the wake of their loss—and that’s important—but it’s also important to show your support concretely. If you ask what you can do, they may not have an answer. Instead, offer to help with something specific—or just go ahead and do it!
Some ways to show support concretely might include:
- Make dinner and bring it over.
- If they have another child, offer to do school pickup or host them for a playdate.
- Send a gift card to their favorite take-out restaurant so they don't have to cook.
- Drop off a coffee, smoothie, or other treat.
- Pick up groceries.
- Send a gift card for a streaming service or Redbox so they can watch something that makes them smile.
- Help with yardwork or housecleaning.
Remember to continue checking in.
Even as time goes on, your sweet friend may still be feeling the pain of their loss. There's not a hard-and-fast timeline for grief. Make sure you check in with as the months go by.
Share your story.
If you’ve experienced a pregnancy loss, you might consider sharing your story with your friend. It can be helpful for them to know you understand what they're going through.
For additional resources for dealing with pregnancy loss, visit Postpartum Support International.
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.