How to Support Through Miscarriage
According to the Mayo Clinic, 10 to 20 percent of pregnancies tragically end in miscarriage. And, because some women miscarry before they even know they’re pregnant, the actual number of miscarriages is likely much higher.
Despite the fact that miscarriages are common, it can be an isolating and devastating experience. Miscarriages often happen in the first 3 months of pregnancy, when many parents-to-be haven’t even told their family and friends yet that they’re pregnant. 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 friend or family member who is going through a miscarriage? 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 women 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 4 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
You should never ask a woman about her plans to have children but you especially shouldn’t ask a woman who just experienced a miscarriage. It’s a personal choice between her and her partner. If she wants to let you know their plans, she will.
Show Your Support Concretely
It’s one thing to tell your friend you’re there for her in the wake of her loss—and that’s important—but it’s also important to show your support concretely. If you ask her what you can do for her, she may not have an answer but you can offer to help with specific chores or needs.
For example, ask if you can make her dinner and bring it over. If she has another child, ask if she needs help picking them up from school or taking them to a playdate. Send her a gift card to her favourite take-out restaurant so she doesn’t have to worry about what to make for dinner.
Remember To Continue Checking In
Even as time goes on, your sweet friend may still be feeling the pain of her loss. Make sure you check in with her as the months go by.
Share Your Story
If you’ve experienced a miscarriage, share your story with your friend. It can be helpful for them to know you understand what they're going through.
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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. Breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for babies. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, mothers eat a healthy, balanced diet. Combined breast- and bottle-feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of a mother's breastmilk and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. If you do decide to use infant formula, you should follow instructions carefully.