What To Do When Your Friend Has A Miscarriage

It is never easy to know what to do when a friend is experiencing pain or a loss of any kind.  And miscarriage is particularly hard to discuss openly because it affects each of us who experience it differently and it is a tragically taboo topic.  It is the loss of someone we didn’t get the chance to know, the loss of a dream for the future family we imagine, and a loss of innocence for future pregnancies. As we approached the due date for the pregnancy we lost, I wanted to reflect back on the things that other people did for me that really helped during that tough time. I felt so unbelievably supported and cared for because of the outpouring of love from my friends.

Here are some ideas of things to do for your friends if they are going through a miscarriage, taken directly from what my kind, generous, thoughtful and funny friends did for me:

 

Send a note, email, text, telefax or telegram.

It is so hard to know what to say when a friend experiences a loss like this, and it may seem easier to do or say nothing out of fear for saying the wrong thing.  Not sure what to say? Then say, “I don’t know what to say. I’m so sorry.” No matter how eloquent or ineloquent, every single letter, text, note, email and voicemail meant so much.

I was just settling into the second trimester when I miscarried, so that meant most people in my world knew that I was pregnant.  I was so grateful when a dear friend volunteered to tell our nearest and dearest about our loss so that I didn’t have to do the talking.  This may be a job best suited for a sister or bestie, so if that’s you, volunteer to be the bearer of bad news.

 

Drop by food.

I was emotionally out of commission on the days following the no heartbeat news, and physically out of commission for a few days following my D&C.  I so appreciated the simple meals and sweet treats dropped at the door for our family when cooking wholesome family meals was the last thing I wanted to do.

 

Share your story.

After I shared my story about my miscarriage, so many people reached out and said “me too.”  It is at once heartbreaking and comforting to know that so many of other women have gone through this.  Hearing their stories helped me know that I wasn’t alone.

 

Give a gift certificate for something your friend likes.

A thoughtful friend surprised me with a gift certificate for a pedicure with a note that said treat yo self.  It was such a treat, and definitely in tune with the be gentle with myself mindset I adopted as I healed physically and emotionally.

It’s certainly not an occasion for champagne, but a bottle of wine is always divine.  A sweet neighbor dropped off a bottle of wine at my door with a simple note basically telling me that she would totally understand if I drank it all by myself that afternoon.  Flowers are nice too.

A best friend who has been there before sent me a sweet care package with a cute tea-cup, the makings of a vodka cocktail, ridiculous Jessica Simpson brand negligee, cozy socks, and an awesome sticker book for my daughter that prompted hours of independent play. Getting mail always puts me in a good mood and this particular package made me feel especially known and loved.

 

Get out with the kids.

Having a miscarriage sucked.  But it was made better by the fact that I had two precious children already.  That said, it is hard to be an emotional basket case in the fetal position and continue onward with perky parenting protocol as if nothing is wrong.  Sweet friends took my oldest daughter on adventures, ice cream outings and playdates while I was out of commission.  If a friend of yours is going through it, tell her that you are coming by to take her child on an adventure, outing, or playdate.  I’m pretty sure that my oldest daughter had the best few days of her life while I was feeling low…which made me feel a little better.

 

Remember the dad too.

It takes two to tango, and the baby’s father experiences his own grief.  It was amazing to see how supportive my husband’s friends were to him.

 

Sometimes tell, don’t ask.

In some cases, it is best to tell, don’t ask.  So often we say no when someone offers to do something kind for us or offers to help us in any way.  Instead of asking, “can I bring you dinner?” “Can I come get your big kid?” Tell.  “I’m bringing dinner. I’ll leave it on the back porch.”  “I’m going to pick up your daughter and take her to the park. I’ll have her home by 6.”  Your thoughtful initiative will be appreciated.

 

Check in.

Check in a week later, a month later, and around the due date.  Knowing that we were due in September, my nearest and dearest asked how I was doing, or simply told me that they were thinking of me.


Odds are that someone you know has had or will have a miscarriage. So if one of your friends experiences a miscarriage, take a page from my peoples playbook and show you care.  Any little word or deed will go miles to make your friend feel loved.

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8 Comments

  • I really enjoyed reading this post. I have personally used “Sometimes tell, don’t ask” many times to help friends out in various situations and it works! I love all of the suggestions.

  • This is a great post – thank you for sharing. Our first pregnancy ended in miscarriage just 2 days before Christmas 2015, when we had planned to announce our big news. Since only my parents knew our anticipated announcement, I wasn’t sure how to tell our closest family the sad news. My mom helped by telling my siblings, I told my best friend, and my husband told his family. We received varying degrees of responses, some listed above, and it was very much appreciated.

  • Thank you for this post. My first pregnancy ended in miscarriage and I was devastated for months. The friends of mine who didn’t pressure or expect me to move on after a matter of days or weeks or even months were the ones that helped the most.

  • Thank you for this. I think it’s also important to write a few things of what NOT to say. People said things to me like “well at least you know you can get pregnant again” after my miscarriage I couldn’t and had to do fertility treatments for almost a year. Someone also said to me “it just wasn’t your baby” yeah, that comment I never knew what they meant. It was hard enough thinking I was pregnant only to find out it wasn’t a missed miscarriage and I carried my dead child for 6 weeks, but some of those comment she really didn’t help. They hurt. A lot and I just didn’t want any to deal with those people.

    • I agree with Sarah G in regard to a post about what not to say. After miscarrying, it took my HCG levels 5 months to fall below 5, which meant I didn’t get a period again for 5 months after the miscarriage. I had weekly blood draws to test the levels, which was a weekly painful reminder about our loss. My mother in law, despite knowing what we were going through, continued to ask when we would be giving her grandchildren. The hardest time she asked this was on our actual due date of that lost pregnancy (she didn’t realize her poor timing). I didn’t even know how to respond as I was so incredibly hurt and still feel bitter about that interaction (for those who care about my response, I did gently remind her that ‘today was our due date’). I would urge friends and family of those who have gone through a miscarriage to make a note on the calendar to send a text, phone call, card, or small gift on/around the due date to show them that you’re thinking of them.

  • Thanks for sharing this Jennifer. It is great advice. I do think we also need to remember that the mother herself doesn’t know what to say. At least I didn’t know what to say when I had a miscarriage. The best thing for me was to go out and not care about the world for a while. So I think another advice that should be added is take the mother out for ice cream or something.

  • I love this. I had a miscarriage at eleven weeks pregnant. One friend totally walked me through it. She just sat with me, brought me dinner and flowers, and even took for pedicures and shopping a few days later. It meant rhe world to me. Another friend totally avoided me and the subject, which was very wounding.

  • Thanks for sharing!! Unfortunately misscarriage is a tabu, and in a moment when the mother needs more support most people don’t even ask how is she, not because they don’t care but simply, because they don’t know what to say or to do that may be useful. Thanks!!

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