Miscarriage is birth. Miscarriage involves a postpartum period and recovery. Miscarriage requires emotional support. I am incredibly grateful for the support I had as I went through my miscarriage. It breaks my heart that not everyone is supported during these times. Some people go through miscarriage alone, some heal through miscarriage alone, some have not told anyone they are even pregnant yet so they choose to keep the miscarriage to themselves, some do not have the assistance of a medical professional, some do not have a supportive spouse, some feel the need to be strong to not upset others, some do not have the ability to take time off work, some are unaware of the support groups available and some go through it uneducated. Not only is this person recovering through a postpartum period they are also grieving a loss. Whatever their circumstance, a lot of change has just occurred. In these moments, knowing someone cares about you can make all the difference. If you know someone who is going through a miscarriage or pregnancy loss here are some things you can do to let them know you are thinking of them, that you care about them and that you are willing to help.
How to Support Someone Through Miscarriage
- Bring homecooked, nutrient dense meals and their favorite snacks – see my favorite miscarriage meals
- Ask if they need anything to help them feel better (i.e. maxi pads, hot water bottle, food, medications, etc.)
- Offer to help with house chores – vacuum, dishes, laundry, cleaning, helping with their pets or kids, grocery shopping, etc.
- Offer to give them a back, foot or head massage
- Thoughtful messages and notes
- Phone calls and visits
- Hugs and cuddles
- Play a card game, help them with a puzzle or watch a movie together – something to take their mind off of the grief and pain
- Write them a love note or affirmations
- Open ears – reserve your thoughts or opinions unless asked. There is no need to try and offer “feel better” phrases that try to fix the situation. It’s hard to know what to say when someone is experiencing loss. Sometimes the best thing to do is just be with the person to listen to them, let them know that you are there with them through the darkness. Grief is a process. It can be uncomfortable to go through, however by-passing someone’s experience is also not helpful. Saying “I see you and I will sit with you through the darkness” is what I needed to hear in those moments.
- Honor where your loved one is at – allow for time and give some space, don’t expect a quick text reply and don’t take it personally if your loved one isn’t ready to share their experience.
- Help them find a local pregnancy loss support group
It Can Be Hard to Know What to Say to Someone Who Has Experienced Loss
Before having a miscarriage, I didn’t give much thought as to what to say to someone in times of pregnancy loss. When others were going through loss, I would usually take the role as the space holder, being with them in silence, offering them hugs, homecooked meals and an open ear to hearing their experience. During my own pregnancy loss I was offered so many words of love, compassion, encouragement and strength. We won’t always get our words right, and I for one never took any phrases to heart. The people in my life would offer their words with the best intentions and that’s what I felt deep down. I came across the below infographics from @ihadamiscarriage on Instagram that offered some prompt phrases for those that feel lost for words.
Deep down, we all know the feeling of loss, shock and grief. It may not be from pregnancy loss, but we can still hold that emotion in our heart for what the other may be feeling. Empathy is the ability to feel with people, it fuels connection and allows you to be with someone in their darkness without feeling the need to judge, offer solutions or “fix” the situation. Empathy is needed in times of grief. Sometimes we don’t need to say anything, rather just sit with someone through their darkness so they can feel seen, held and less alone. I highly encourage you to watch the video by Brené Brown of “Empathy vs Sympathy“. She describes that rarely can a response make something better; what makes something better is that connection. So please don’t get too hung up on your words. We can not expect everyone to be trauma informed or to know exactly the right thing to say. If someone is offering their love to you, that’s what you can feel. If your intention behind your words is pure that’s what truly matters.