A miscarriage is a distressing event both emotionally and physically, no matter how far into a pregnancy a woman might be. It can be tough to know exactly how to respond to someone going through this type of loss, but what I heard again and again from parents I talked to was “don’t ignore that it happened.”
What to say
“I wanted the pregnancy acknowledged—and the loss of the hope of a baby.” Samantha C.
“I have personally suffered three miscarriages and the hardest part besides the loss itself is the feeling like it’s our fault and our body has failed us.” Rachel P.
Miscarriage is a loss for both parents and can be tough on a marriage. Acknowledge the couple in your note. “My manager addressed his note to both Jason and me, and one thing he wrote was ‘Be extra gentle with each other right now.’ Looking back, that strikes me as such an insightful piece of advice to give.” Keely C.
“We want to grieve but feel like we are expected to get over it quickly and move on.” Rachel P.
- “My heart goes out to you as you grieve for the baby you were so looking forward to meeting. I’ll be thinking of both of you in the days and weeks ahead and checking in to see if there’s anything helpful I can do.”
- “Please be gentle with yourself right now and grieve however you need to.”
- “This was not your fault. You loved your baby so well.”
- “I know how devastating this is. And I know how bad you wanted this baby.”
- “Keeping you and Mike in my thoughts and hoping for healing to come to you in time.”
- “I’m so sorry on the loss of your pregnancy and your sweet baby-to-be.”
- “I am so sorry to hear about your miscarriage. Sending caring thoughts your way and hoping for peace and healing when you’re ready.”
- “I know how much your baby was already loved. I am so sorry you won’t get to hold your little one in your arms.”
- “Take all the time you need to grieve and heal. I’m here for you through it all.”
- Acknowledge the baby’s name, if they had one. “I’m so sorry for your loss. Baby Caleb was already so loved and I can’t imagine the pain you must be feeling.”
Miscarriage is estimated to occur in one in four pregnancies, yet most women who experience one feel isolated.
“I think it’s important to know you’re not alone. I didn’t know having a miscarriage was as common as it was and when I found out others had experienced them as well, I felt comfort in knowing it ‘wasn’t just me’ or that there wasn’t something ‘wrong’ with me.” Alecia S.
If you’ve also experienced a miscarriage, it would likely be helpful to say “I’ve been through this, too. It’s a terrible kind of grief. Please don’t blame yourself.”
What Not to Say
“It doesn’t matter how early you were in your pregnancy, as soon as you got that positive test result, you felt like a mom.” Olivia C.
“I had a 20-week loss and I can definitely tell you what not to say!” Amy G.
- “Everything happens for a reason” is meaningless and not at all comforting.
- “You can try again” or “At least you know you can get pregnant.” They are mourning the loss of this baby.
- “Maybe there was something wrong with the baby.”
- “At least it was early on.”
Other Offers of Support
- Remember and acknowledge the due date or anniversary of the loss. Most moms who’ve been through a pregnancy loss have these dates etched on their hearts forever.
- “A friend donated board books to a local children’s hospital in our baby’s honour. It meant the world to us.” Julia A.
- Many women won’t feel well or will need some time for their bodies to heal. Offer to bring lunch, watch older children, do chores, etc. to allow them rest.
- “The best support we got was a week’s worth of meat delivered from Omaha Steak Company so we could hide from the world and still feed ourselves.” Amy G.