A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Help a Friend Who Has Had a Miscarriage

A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Help a Friend Who Has Had a Miscarriage

Written by One Mama Midwife

Comfort Items From Birth and The Dummy Debate

Experiencing a miscarriage can be one of the toughest things that a couple may face in their lifetime. 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage and a lot of these families are suffering in silence. If a friend or family member lets you know that they’re experiencing a miscarriage being a supportive friend can make an enormous difference in their grieving journey. It can be hard to know what to say or how to support your friend through this tough time.

Here is your step-by-step guide to helping your friend through their miscarriage:

1. Choose your words carefully – Going through a miscarriage can be a very sensitive time. Let your friend know you are thinking of them and expressing your sympathy. Something as simple as “I am sorry for your loss. I’m here for you” can go a really long way to helping your friend feel supported. Don’t say things like “it wasn’t meant to be”, “at least you know you can fall pregnant” or “everything happens for a reason”. These comments may seem like they’re helpful, but they’re sometimes more harmful during these tough times.

2. Listen actively - Give your friend the time to talk about their feelings and emotions about the miscarriage. Let them know that you're available to listen without judgment. Sometimes, all someone needs is a listening ear.

3. Offer practical help - Miscarriage can be physically and emotionally draining. Offer specific ways you can assist, such as cooking meals, running errands, or helping with household chores. Your friend may not ask for help directly, so offering specific tasks can be more effective.

4. Flowers aren’t helpful – flowers may not be a helpful gift to get a grieving mother, instead think of practical gifts like a cleaner, meals or something sentimental that can be kept as a keepsake to remember the baby.

5. Respect their privacy – Understand that your friend may not feel ready to talk about the miscarriage or their emotions yet. Let them know that you are there for them if and when they are ready to talk.

6. Encourage professional help if needed – a professional grief and trauma psychologist can have an enormous positive impact on providing support and guidance. Again, some families may not feel emotionally ready for this step so this would need to be a very gentle conversation.

7. Try to remember the important dates – Be mindful of specific dates related to the miscarriage, such as the baby’s due date or the date the miscarriage occurred. Reach out to your friend on these days to let them know you’re thinking of them and acknowledge their support.

8. Grief doesn’t have a specific timeline –
Your friend will be grieving for an extended period of time, try to check in with them regularly after their loss. To let them know that you’re there for them and their feelings are valid.

9. Avoid asking when they’re going to start trying again – Although these questions are well meaning, they may not be well received. Comments like these may make families feel as though the miscarriage was not significant and that they shouldn’t have time to mourn that loss.

10. Be mindful of subsequent pregnancies – Every pregnancy following a miscarriage will bring anxiety and fear of another miscarriage. Being supportive and present during subsequent pregnancies can help her, especially when she reaches a similar gestation to when the miscarriage occurred.

Remember, everyone's experience with miscarriage is unique, so be flexible in your approach and adjust your support based on your friend's needs. Your presence, empathy, and understanding will go a long way in helping your friend through this difficult time.