How do you tell your child that you’ve miscarried?
Tommy's guest blog, 03/12/2016, by Laura Lawrence
The loss of a baby affects everyone in your family, including your children who have been awaiting the arrival of their new baby brother or sister.
Often, when a mother has previously had healthy pregnancies, experiencing a miscarriage can come as a complete shock.
Many of you who took part in Tommy’s #misCOURAGE campaign and submitted your stories said it was hard accepting that you were able to successfully carry one baby, but not another.
This puts parents in the heart-breaking position of having to explain to their child that they won’t be getting their little brother or sister after all.
Not only is this extremely emotionally difficult, it can also be a tricky concept for young children to understand.
Author Laura Lawrence was given the sad news at her fifteen week scan that her baby’s heart had stopped beating at nine weeks.
By this stage of her pregnancy she had told friends and family members about her pregnancy, including her first boy Dylan.
Dylan was just two years old and struggled to understand what had happened to his little brother or sister.
“My little one Dylan didn’t understand, he kept asking where the baby in mummy’s tummy had gone and that broke my heart even more.”
Laura tried to find sensitive ways to help Dylan accept her miscarriage.
“When I was going through it I looked for books or stories to help Dylan understand what had happened as they do understand a lot of things through stories when they are that young but there was just nothing out there.”
Laura decided to write her own story book for Dylan after he asked her to tell him what happened like a story or fairy tale.
She told us that writing the story, whilst difficult, was comforting and helped her work through some of her own feelings as well as Dylan’s.
‘This little story is to help my little boy and any others that are going through the same thing come to terms with their loss. My son has been asking when ‘Goo’ will be coming back and finding it hard to understand what's happened so having it in story form will help him.’
Laura’s husband will be doing the artwork her book.
‘He hadn't read the story before as he wanted to block out what happened so he could stay strong for me and Dylan. When he read it he cried and said he wanted to do the pictures. I'm really pleased to have him do them as it makes it a real family thing.’
Whilst it can be difficult to be open and honest with young children about emotional or painful subjects, it’s important that the effect of miscarriage on children is not forgotten or underestimated.
It is good to remain open as children are often much more disturbed when they sense something is wrong but don’t know what it is.
Children will often mull facts over and ask questions many weeks later. Try to answer them as frankly as possible and do not be afraid to show your emotions and let your child cry.
Laura wants her book to be made public and circulated for other parents to use if they too find themselves in this sad situation.
We had the privilege of reading Laura’s book and it is a truly beautiful.
We’re supporting Laura in getting this touching, sensitive and much-needed book out there to help parents talk to their existing children about loss.
You can read more about the effect of miscarriage on your existing children here.
If you need more support or advice following your miscarriage you can take a look at all of our information or advice pages here. We hope that you are getting the support you need at what we know can be a difficult time.
Watch this space for more news about Laura’s book and how you can support its publication.