A miscarriage or pregnancy loss is an incredibly trying time for someone, and unfortunately it is still a taboo topic for many. A miscarriage is an exceptional time of grief, and someone experiencing one needs all the support in the world.
After I experienced my own miscarriage, I quickly found out what were great ways of support from family and friends, and what were just downright not supportive ways. I know people mean well, but sometimes things are better left unsaid/done.
I have compiled a list of ways to support a loved one experiencing a miscarriage as well as things to probably avoid.
How To Support
There are so many ways to support your loved ones during the grieving process. So many in fact, that I am really only summarizing ways to do so.
Just remember to be fully there for your person and don’t let outside distractions be in the way of you and your loved one. They need all of you during this time, not just half.
Be there for your loved one. This can be physically, through various communication platforms, or through giving them the space they need. Remember to let the one grieving decide how much space they need though. We all grieve in our own ways, some of us want loved ones around a lot and others just want to be alone for a bit.
Even if you weren’t aware they had been pregnant, they still need your love and support. Send them a text every now and then to let them know you love them and are here for them in any way. If you do visit, help them out around the house. A lot of times, miscarriages cause pain and bleeding for a few days. Help your loved one out by doing a few chores if possible.
If your loved one wants to talk about their experience with their miscarriage, listen to their story. Many of us want to share our experience so we feel less alone, but to keep the memory of our child we lost alive. Talking about a traumatic experience, can be therapeutic for your loved one.
This has probably been the most therapeutic way of support for me personally. In the weeks after my miscarriage, I found myself sitting down with some of my closest friends and talking about the experience for hours. It was a way of closure, processing the ordeal, and sharing that love I had for my child.
This may just be a southern thing, but man did I appreciate the amount of food we received in the days after we lost our baby. The last thing I wanted to do was worry about what we were going to eat. From coworkers to family members, we were covered on meals for a good week and that was a huge help.
Frozen meals are always a great option as your loved one can save it for whenever they are ready. You could even do gift cards for some of their favorite places or grocery store.
Remembering Important Dates
If you know when the due date was supposed to be, try and remember it for your loved one. I cannot tell you have grateful I am to those that remember our sweet baby’s due date and sent us a text. One amazing friend sent us a beautiful bouquet of flowers in honor of Finley (our miscarried baby). The tears flowed, but man did I appreciate that gesture.
The due date is what many grieving woman dread the most. This is what should have been the most joyous time of one’s life, and instead your are empty-handed. The due date was the hardest for me as we were grieving our loss still while also experiencing a surprise pregnancy with our rainbow baby.
Other dates to recognize are the 20-week mark, a time where many find out what they are having, the miscarriage date, and that first what-should-have-been birthday. I’m 2 years past our miscarriage and still get triggered by the anniversary.
What Not To Do
While there are SO many things you can do to support a loved one experiencing a miscarriage, there are also SO many things you absolutely should not do!
Why should you not do these things? Because it can make them feel even worse in their darkest hours. You may have the best intentions, but words and actions hurt. And some of these can be forgiven, they may not be forgotten.
Please don’t compare either your grief from a loss experience or a friend’s experience with the person currently grieving. We all grieve in our own ways and we all suffer trauma from these losses. Just because one person grieves differently doesn’t mean they care more/less about that pregnancy.
Some of us show a lot of emotion after a loss and need time away from work/life. Others try and stay composed and push through with work. Everyone is just trying to survive and figure out their next steps. There is no right way to grieve.
*If you or a your loved one is struggling with depression after a loss, counseling is a wonderful treatment that can benefit those in need of help.
Do NOT diminish your loved one’s pregnancy or feelings in any way shape or form. This is very similar to the comparison but can show in different ways.
No matter if they heard a heartbeat or not, if they made it through most of the first trimester or not, if they knew what they were having or not, their feelings are valid. They are allowed to grieve their loss. Miscarriages and pregnancy losses are traumatic. Don’t put your loved one down because they lost their baby at only 5 or 6 weeks. A loss is a loss.
After my loss, Kevin and I chose to get separate tattoos to honor Finley. He chose to get Finley’s heartbeat and I chose a small heart within a heart on my wrist. I had one person making an incredibly negative comment about my tattoo and why it was unnecessary. I was quite taken aback as this was so unexpected, but also it was none of their concern what I did to my body to honor my child. After all we had been through, a tattoo shouldn’t matter. It is there to give me a reminder of the love I have for that baby and my precious children here with me.
Watch What You Say
Whatever you do, do NOT say “This is part of God’s plan.” That truly is one of the least helpful statements you can make. This is just not the time, your loved one is grieving and the last thing they need to do is figure out what the plan would even entail if this were true.
Other frequent phrases heard are: God needed them in heaven, you can always try again, at least you already have a child, and you were only [insert number of] weeks pregnant anyway.
Not a single one of these is helpful to your loved one during this time. I will never forget those who said remarks like this to me and Kevin after our loss. I know many were trying to be there for us, but they only made us feel worse during our grieving process.
I will say, all of these statements are said with good intentions. However, they just fall flat. If you need a better way of wording what you want to say try, “I know you’re hurt and grieving. Just know that your baby never felt pain, never felt hunger, was never cold. All they knew was your love, your warmth, and your safety.” One of my dearest friends sent me that text one night and those words stick with me today.
Maybe you think they need space and you are more help out of sight and they may truly want that space. But if you know someone is going through a loss, the least you can do is reach out and send some condolences.
The outpouring of love and condolences we got can make someone grieving a loss feel a little bit less alone and more loved.
Everyone is a little awkward, try not to let that get in the way of your love and support for those you care about.
It really can be the most simple ways to show your support for a loved one experiencing a miscarriage. Nothing needs to be extravagant. Even a simple walk around a park with some fresh air is a great way to be there. Just let them know you are there and that they are loved.