Supporting a friend or family member through miscarriage

Knowing what and what not to say to people after the loss of a baby can be difficult. We have come up with a list to help you better comfort a bereaved loved one.

1. Listen. And listen again.

It’s important to let people grieve the way they want to. A parent’s love for their baby can’t be measured by months or weeks. They’re mourning the loss of hopes and expectations of the future.

'If someone just takes the time to let you speak about it, and REALLY listens to you; that's the best thing anyone can do.'

2. Say something. Express your sympathy.

Most people think, 'I don’t know what to say' – but it’s really important you acknowledge what’s happened, it’s a great source of comfort.

'Every single call, text and email counted. Just knowing someone was thinking of us really helped, even if it was just "I'm so sorry".'

3. Avoid using clichés, they may come across as though you’re not taking it seriously enough.

Breaking the silence is good, but there are some things to avoid, such as 'You’re still young', 'Everything happens for a reason,', 'Never mind, you can always try for another one.' 

'"At least you can get pregnant" after having 3 miscarriages, I don’t really care that I can get pregnant – that’s not the issue.'

4. Offer help – and be specific.

Rather than just saying 'call me if you need anything', offer to do the shopping. Or cook dinner. Practical help really shows you care.

'People coming over with some food, made us feel looked after.'

5. Be sensitive around pregnancy.

Please bear in mind that people who have lost a baby will often struggle to feel overjoyed when someone they know becomes pregnant.

'Miscarriage brings out the worst in you, you can’t bear seeing other people’s happiness. I couldn’t find joy in anything; and I hated the jealousy I felt towards other pregnant women.'

6. Remember special dates.

The pain doesn’t stop at the miscarriage, for some people it helps if friends remember important dates or times of year.

'My sister texts me on what would have been the birthdays of each of my babies.'

7. Let them know they’re not alone.

Encouraging people to find others with similar experiences of miscarriage can be comforting. Sharing details of forums and communities you have heard about will help. 

'I found a blog that helped me reach out and find others going through similar things. It helped just having someone listen to or read what I had to say.'

8. Don’t forget, partners are grieving too.

Remember that miscarriage can be emotionally devastating for both parents, so all this advice equally applies to them.

'I was so confused as to why my husband wasn't showing his grief the same way I did. Later on, he told told me he used to cry in the toilets at work or in the car on the driveway, as he was so heartbroken but felt he had to be strong for me... That really upsets me even now.'

9. Avoid the urge to try and fix things.

Just be there for them - if you want to help in the future, you could do a fundraising run in their name. 

'My baby would have celebrated her fifth birthday this year, I honestly cannot think of a better ways to celebrate her anniversary than doing something with people I love in her memory.'

10. Finally, if words fail, as they sometimes do, give them a hug.

'Sometimes the thing I want most is just to have a friend give me a cuddle.'

  • #misCOURAGE

    SHARE YOUR STORY

    Many couples find talking or writing about their experience of #misCOURAGE helpful. Help end the silence on miscarriage, and share your story here.

  • Research

    RESEARCH

    Find out more about the vital research into the causes and prevention of miscarriage, happening right now at Tommy's research centres.

  • Read the story

    READ STORIES

    Heartbreaking stories. Devastating stories. The miscarriage story needs to change. Go to Tommy’s Book of #misCOURAGE to read more stories.

  • Change the story

    DONATE

    Trauma, distress, heartache – the miscarriage story needs to change. Help end the distress by making a donation towards miscarriage research.

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