What to do and say to a friend after miscarriage

say to a friend after miscarriage

You may or may not have been there….but when a friend, family member or someone you know has had a miscarriage it can be so difficult to know what to say or do. If you’re reading this right now on the back of someone in your life having just had a miscarriage and you’re worried about saying or doing the wrong thing, or not doing anything at all, please join me with this Q&A with my good blogging friend Laura from Five Little Doves who works tirelessly to raise awareness of baby loss having had 15 miscarriages of her own.

Every person is different, but firstly could you perhaps share some of the thoughts and feelings someone who has just miscarried might be experiencing?

I think with your first miscarriage, the main feeling is of complete and utter disbelief. You go through such a range of emotions, having been so excited and expectant for a baby you had hoped and planned for, to suddenly having all of that taken away from you. It’s utterly heart breaking, it’s disappointing and it all feels so terribly unfair.

I personally experienced 15 miscarriages, and I know that every time I went through another loss, the anger and despair crept in. I think anyone experiencing multiple miscarriages goes through times where you question whether you can continue to put yourself through so much pain.

It can be so hard to know what to do or say when someone we know has had a miscarriage….what are your words of advice for trying to figure this out?

My advice would always be to be honest and open with your friend or family member. Don’t try to second guess what you should be doing to help them, don’t avoid them because you don’t know what to say, don’t crowd them because you don’t want them to feel alone. Simply ask them, “How would you like me to help you?”. Be there for them, in whatever way they need you to, every one is different.

It might be tempting to  avoid the issue because we ourselves feel uncomfortable – how can we move past that?

This is something that I experienced countless times. Some of my friends felt very uncomfortable due to not knowing what to say, and unfortunately they handled it by avoiding me altogether. At a time when I needed my friends more than ever, I took it very personally when they avoided visiting or changed the subject if I mentioned my miscarriages.

With hindsight  I think it’s only natural to feel uncomfortable, especially when it’s something that you may not have been through personally, but educating yourself is a great starting point in moving past that.

What are, in your eyes, some of the dos of helping someone after miscarriage….?

The main one for me is simply being there for them. Whether that’s in person, over the phone, sending flowers or a thoughtful little gift.

I also think that acknowledging their baby is so important as, to a Mother who has miscarried, that baby still matters.

And the don’ts…..?

Don’t try to act as though it hasn’t happened, you’d be amazed by how many people try to do just that. Also don’t take it personally if your friend or family member pushes you away in the short term or needs time to themselves to grieve. Remember that miscarriage is such a personal experience and allow your friend or loved one to do whatever it takes to get through it.

What are some helpful things someone who wants to be there for someone who has miscarried can say?

If there is anything that needs to be said it is simply, “I am here for you.” Those five words meant the world to me after each loss, just to know that no matter what, whether I was sad or angry or struggling with just how unfair life was, someone was there for me regardless.

And what should they avoid saying at all costs?

“You can always try again.”

“At least it wasn’t a real baby yet.”

“It could have been worse…”

“At least you have a child already.”

“You need to move on.”

“You’re lucky it happened now and not later.”

“It just wasn’t meant to be.”

I could go on and on, listing the insensitive things that I heard throughout my miscarriages, all of which devastated me and added to my grief. Don’t ever imply to somebody that their baby didn’t matter, nor that another baby will take away from their grief. I always say to others, if you’re not sure what to say, a hug will speak volumes.

Anything else you would like to add?

From a mother who has lost fifteen babies to miscarriage and our son Joseph at full term to the one who has miscarried, you will survive your loss. It may not feel that way in the moment, and nor will it be easy, but you will find a way to get through it. There are some amazing websites out there that I would recommend for more information on miscarriages and baby loss including Kickscount, Tommy’s and SANDS, all offering excellent support and advice.

I really hope the above Q&A has been helpful to anyone who is concerned about what to do and say to a friend after miscarriage. If you have any questions or concerns please do feel free to share them in a comment below and please visit Laura’s blog Five Little Doves for more on miscarriage and baby loss.

What to do and say to a friend after miscarriage

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28 comments

  1. Thank you for allowing me to share in this post with you. I hope that it helps someone who is going through a loss, or whose friend or family member has experienced miscarriage. I love that you are raising awareness of it, I think we all need to speak about baby loss and be more mindful of how we can support those going through it. xxx

  2. Years ago there was a mum at my son’s school who lost a child to cot death, I was worried about saying the wrong thing and upsetting her, so I just said I am sorry to hear about your baby, she started crying and so did I which made me feel terrible but a month or so later she thanked me by saying you are the only person who acknowledged that I had a child none else has even mentioned him, I explained that it was because we were all afraid of upsetting her more, I learned a lesson that day!

  3. What an important insight into how to talk to someone experiencing such a tragic loss. I always worry about offending or upsetting my friends and this has helped to know how to deal with it.

  4. Years ago I sat next to a friend of a friend at a toddler singing group – I knew she’d suffered a still birth some months before and at the end of the session I just put my hand on her arm and said “I can’t not mention Noah. I’m so sorry and what a beautiful name”.
    Little did I know that a couple of years later people would be doing the same to me (or not, perhaps) and how glad I am that I acknowledged her son that day.
    It’s never easy to know what to say, but a gesture of any kind can mean so much.
    Beautiful words as always Laura x

  5. A really helpful post thank you. I don’t personally know of anyone who has had this awful trauma but to read things like this makes you aware of how to speak to someone regarding any kind of sad experience regarding a child. I took away some useful points here. I’m so sorry to hear that you lost 15 babies. I cannot begin to imagine what that must have been like.
    #coolmumclub

  6. Laura really is an amazing lady! Having suffered a miscarriage at 12 weeks, I got a lot of those unhelpful comments, the worst one being from my then GP who was a woman herself. I hope this post really helps to educate people on how to help a friend or relative going through this #coolmumclub x

  7. What a beautiful post to write, I haven’t ever lost a baby but my two best friends did whilst I was pregnant, I was heartbroken for them, I felt selfish being pregnant, I wanted to wrap them up and tell them it would all be OK but I knew it wasn’t so I was just there as and when they needed me and I was understanding they may not always want to be around my bump and kids when they were grieving their loss. ❤️
    #coolmumclub

  8. What an important post about a subject that we just dont talk about. I have experienced miscarriage and it’s such a terrible time and you just seem to carry on with everyday life and all you want to do is sit down and talk to someone. #Coolmumclub

  9. It’s amazing how most people avoid a subject for fear of causing someone more pain than they already feel but that very avoidance just adds to the suffering. My sister suffered a miscarriage that nearly killed her too. I always speak with her about it and check in on her memories and feelings from time to time. Great writing as always Laura 🙂 xxx #coolmumclub

  10. What a helpful post. I’ll never forget my dad saying to me ‘you need to learn how to pray’. It’s amazing how insensitive people can be but at the same time how wonderful and supportive others can be. I got a phone call from someone would experienced miscarriage themselves and they listened and we talked. A good friend took me to the pub and she knew I was in shock but she let me be where I was at. A great post and we all need help to deal with it, even friends and family. #coolmumclub

  11. Gosh this was so heartbreaking to read but thank you for being so honest. I can’t imagine the agony of losing 15 babies. Really useful advice here that I hope makes everyone more aware of what other women need when going through such a hard time. Xx #coolmumclub

  12. I worry a lot about saying the wrong thing to people, whatever the situation. I tie myself in knots worrying about how they might interpret it or if it will make things worse. There are some people who just seem to say the right thing every time – I long for their gift but I’m not one of them. Posts like this are so helpful for people like me – to hear what that person may be thinking and how to help – practical advice. The anguish of losing 15 babies must be awful but I am a big fan of your blog, Laura, and you do such a brilliant job raising awareness and sharing the hurt to help others to process their experiences. #coolmumclub
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  13. This is such a wonderful post, I’m so glad it’s out there for people to read. I have lost 6 babies and have 2 kids… I think the worst one for me was “well it was only early days, so…” (all of my losses were between 8-12 weeks). I think the biggest one for me here is just asking what you can do. Sometimes there is nothing you can do, but just to have someone sitting with you, or holding you is all that’s needed. In my case, it was someone to hold the punch bag while I released some anger! Brilliant post #coolmumclub

  14. Talya this was really helpful to read. Well done Laura for writing this post. The biggest thing I can take away from this is if you don’t know what to say then a hug is the best thing. That is really helpful advice as words can seem just so meaningless in such a situation. I think a lot of people will get a lot from this post. So good of you two to write this. Well done girls xx #CoolMumClub

  15. I’m so glad this post exists. I my experience, people find it far easier to pretend nothing happened or that you need to take your mind off it by talking about other things and acting ‘normal’. I think the hardest thing to cope with was people who didn’t know asking me when we were having a baby or other such comments. ‘We thought you’d be first’ ‘what are you waiting for?’ ‘when’s the baby coming?’ ‘hurry up and get a move on’ were all things I was faced with weeks after losing a baby. #CoolMumClub

  16. This is such a brilliant and important post. I’ve been through 5 miscarriages and an ectopic and I found most people just avoided the topic completely and I really wish they hadn’t. Like you say, even just a hug or the words I’m here for you make a world of difference. Some people think they have to try and do something to make you feel better or offer some great pearls of wisdon or advice, but they don’t. Listening and being a shoulder to cry on are what’s needed most.
    #Coolmumclub

  17. This is such an important and useful read – like a few of the other comments, knowing what to say has never been my strong-point. When my best friend had a miscarriage however, I found that I could actually talk to her easily about it, which she assured me helped. Anything to raise awareness and let people know it’s not OK to be insensitive is the right step forward so thank you so much both for sharing #coolmumclub

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