Home > Pregnancy > Stillbirth and Miscarriage > How to Support a Friend After a Miscarriage

How to Support a Friend After a Miscarriage

   PRINT

Miscarriage is every pregnant woman’s worst fear—and for up to 25% of all recognized pregnancies, that fear is a heartbreaking reality. If you know someone who has endured a miscarriage, or if you yourself have lost a pregnancy, you know that she needs care and support at this time. But figuring out what kind of support to give can be difficult and complicated. Therapists specializing in miscarriage grief, along with women who have suffered miscarriages, offer these tips to help you provide the right support.

In addition, Alana Shereen, a grief specialist and mother, answered questions about grief after a miscarriage in our online forum.  

Mirror Her Emotion

two women friends talking in a snowy park

Encourage a grieving friend to give in to the full range of emotions she may be experiencing. Help legitimate these feelings by mirroring them back for her. As Karin Feldman, a New York psychologist specializing in pregnancy loss, explains: “Mirroring is one way to validate the experience. If a woman says, ‘I’m so angry this is happening to me,’ mirror it right back. Tell her she is absolutely right to feel that way. Join her in the emotion.”

Create Something to Honor Her Loss

a square patch quilt with a bird design

Support the mother by doing something special to signify and remember her loss. As Kim Kluger-Bell, a pregnancy loss counselor in Boulder, CO shared via email, “This may include planting trees, holding memorials, buying birthstones or making quilts for lost babies. Being able to participate in these activities can be deeply meaningful for the grieving woman.” These purposeful and thoughtful gestures can serve as a lasting tribute and for many, ultimately prove important in the healing process.

Give Her Time

an old vintage clock face

There is no specific time-frame within which to process grief. You may expect a mom to feel “normal” after just a couple of weeks, but mourning after a miscarriage may take much longer than this. As Kluger-Bell explains, “Many women grieve for months following a loss... Many women feel the loss more intensely around their baby’s due date and appreciate friends remembering and asking how they are doing at that time.”

Offer an Open Door

two women friends talking at a coffee shop

If you know someone who has suffered a loss, make it clear that there is an open door to talk if and when she is ready to do so. But wait for her to bring up the topic. It is important for her to initiate this difficult conversation on her own time. If and when she does, be ready with a tissue, a hug, or just a friendly ear ready to listen.

Keep Checking In

a young woman talking on a phone

Continue to check in and let her know you are thinking about her in understated but meaningful ways. A simple “How are you doing?” can mean a lot to someone going through a hard time. Don’t pry for details; instead, keep it simple. A very brief check in over email, phone or even a quick hello in person can go a long way.

Ask What She Needs

two women talking in a snowy park

Ask what, if anything, she needs. Do not assume anything. Try to remember that grief is a highly individual process and may look very different depending on the mom going through it. Ask her specifically what kind of emotional and physical support she needs or wants from you.

Focus on the Present, Not the Future

a mom and her older daughter talking on a sofa

Do not minimize what has happened by focusing exclusively on the future. Comments like, “It will happen for you one day,” or “Just give it time and you’ll be pregnant again,” can upset a mother still in mourning. Give her the opportunity to be present in her sadness, rather than distract her with visions of what may or may not happen down the road.

Respect Her Boundaries

a safe zone sign

Supportive partners, peers, and friends should encourage moms in mourning to create safe emotional boundaries. As Feldman describes, certain experiences, like a baby shower or lunch with a pregnant friend, may serve as a painful reminder to a woman who recently miscarried. Give her the chance to establish a set of emotional boundaries or spaces that she is comfortable being in.

Avoid Canned Responses

a woman crying while her friend consoles her

Be careful not to dismiss the gravity and sadness of what just happened by giving a flip, quick, or canned response, such as “It will all be fine.” Even if a grieving mother may want to believe that, she may not be ready to hear it. Though you know she will be okay eventually, at that point in time she may feel that it might not be, and that’s okay too.

Help Her Practice Self-Care

two women running up stairs in a park

Try to remind your friend, sister, colleague or any mom who has suffered a miscarriage that she also needs to take care of herself; to do what she needs to nourish and comfort her own body from the inside out. Encourage small but meaningful activities to support her doing this. Help her resume a healthy diet by preparing and sharing a warm home cooked meal, or help her get a little exercise and get out of the house by inviting her to take a walk.

 
3PREVIOUS ARTICLE PREGNANCY
 
   PRINT