Here are a few things you might want to do to show you’re there for them.
Acknowledge their loss
Many couples feel isolated after losing a baby and alone in their grief. Some people feel confused by this grief and wonder if they should be feeling it. Acknowledging their loss and letting someone grieve, rather than brushing it off or ignoring the situation, can really help them.
“Other than the comfort of my husband and family it was my best friend that really helped me to talk about things. She was straight to the point and asked me outright what had happened. I instantly felt like a weight has been lifted.” Catherine
The importance of ‘How are you doing?”
“This simple question meant the world. It acknowledged the significance of what I had been through and made me feel less alone. Being asked felt like validation that something happened.”
Send flowers or a gift
If you don’t know what to say, or are worried about calling at a bad time, sending a gift will let them know you’re thinking of them.
“From a very thoughtful friend I'd get wee surprise deliveries like a bunch of flowers on the doorstep, a cup of homemade soup and baguette just before lunch. Just wee gestures to let me know she was thinking of me.” Nicola
Sometimes it’s not encouraging words, or solutions, people want to hear. They just need someone to listen.
“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.”Anonymous
Let them know you’re thinking of them
Don’t ignore what’s happened. Even if you’re unsure of what to say, just a simple text message to say ‘I’m thinking of you’ can make a big difference.
“The text messages saying ‘thinking of you’ and people actually acknowledging our loss and asking about it, rather than being too scared to cause upset and staying quiet helped.”Anonymous
Don’t forget the physical aspect of losing a baby
Not only does miscarriage cause emotional pain, it also affects a woman physically. They may have had to go to hospital for an operation. They may be feeling overwhelmed by erratic hormones, or exhausted after losing blood, or the trauma of miscarrying. Look after a friend – just as you would a poorly friend – by cooking them meals, or keeping them company while they rest at home.
“My friend sent me a box of cooked meals I could shove in the oven. It was such a relief not to have to think about going shopping or cooking and washing up. But, more than anything, I felt so loved and looked after.”Clio
Choose your words carefully
It’s natural to want to make your loved one feel better and try to be encouraging about the future, and their chances of having a healthy baby. But sometimes these encouraging words aren’t what they need to hear when they are grieving for their baby.
“The worst two things I heard from family, friends and doctors were ‘You're still young’ and ‘At least you can get pregnant’.”Anonymous
“When I had my miscarriage the one thing that upset me most was when people would say ‘Well you weren't that far gone so really it wasn’t a fully formed baby.”’Anonymous
“You don't have to know what to say. We just ask that you be there for us, and let us talk about it if we need to. A hug is always welcome.” Sarah's story. Read more...
A special note for dads
It can be particularly difficult to know how to support your partner. You are having to cope with your own feelings of loss. We all have different ways of handling our emotions – and your way might be different from your partners.
“My husband was devastated when we discovered our baby didn’t have a heart beat at the 12 week scan, but his way of coping was to immerse himself in every day distractions. I needed time off and to talk about it so I had some councelling, it was exactly what we needed.” Anonymous
If you need support, please don't suffer alone. We have details of organisations who can help.
You and your partner have both experienced a miscarriage but you may react to it very differently. Everyone has their own way of grieving and it helps to accept and respect those differences.
You might be eager to try again, or not quite ready to think about the future – here are some things to consider when planning your next pregnancy.
Losing a baby can leave you feeling shocked, isolated and empty.
- The Miscarriage Association, Marking your loss: http://www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk/support/marking-your-loss/?gclid=Cj0KEQiA6bq2BRC6ppf0_83Z1YIBEiQAgPYNvVtQCXyxLhC0dK5Up4_whQsxfRzmGzB6Ds92HY5eEiEaAoZn8P8HAQ [accessed 28 February 2016].
ℹLast reviewed on August 1st, 2016. Next review date August 1st, 2019.
By Andrea (not verified) on 19 Jun 2019 - 10:23
This is very helpful; it's so hard to know what to say. Thank you.