Miscarriage Awareness is important for us all to embrace, whether you are trying to have children or not. Why? Because miscarriage is so much more common than you think. In fact, up to one in four pregnancies in Australia result in . And that woman who is the one in four is going to need a shoulder to lean on and a good friend to sit with. And that good friend may be you.
Sadly, the conversations that follow a loved one’s miscarriage can be amongst the most difficult you will ever have. Everyone grieves differently, so obviously there is no guidebook for the perfect thing to say. However, these tips can provide some help and support.
Miscarriage Awareness And The Importance of Your Sensitivity
One of the best ways to help a friend struggling with the grief of a miscarriage is to give them the time and space to process their feelings. Miscarriage Awareness is about acknowledging their loss. Allow them to know their pain is truly valid and that they are entitled to feel this way without limits and conditions. Say things like “I’m sorry for your loss “or “I’m here if I can help you”. Avoid making statements such as “You can always try again”, “It was God’s will” or “You will get over it in time.” None of these are helpful in the moment.
Similarly, it would also be sensitive to avoid bringing up children. Should you happen to find out you are also expecting, wait a while before sharing your own happy news.
Sit Together In Silence
In some instances, the suitable response is to actually say nothing at all to your friend. Simply be there for her. Or for him – miscarriage can have as much effect on the partner as it does the woman carrying the child. Respect your friend’s privacy and do not ask for additional details. Avoid pushing for specifics unless the information is offered freely. Trust that they will share what they want you to know – in their own time. In the interim focus on offering empathy, not your own curiosity. It’s about them, not you. Avoid saying things like “I know what you’re going through,” even if you have been through the same experience. Your friend will ask you how you coped should she needs to.
Sometimes the solutions may be to simply sit in silence holding your loved one’s hand and assuring them that you are their safety net during this challenging time.
Provide Practical Support
If there were ever an occasion where actions speak louder than words, it’s now. Alongside their emotional challenges, those struggling through a miscarriage, also often struggle to meet their own physical needs. You can help by delivering healthy, home-cooked meals so they don’t have to think about what to cook. Do their grocery shopping for them. After all, the last thing someone dealing with miscarriage needs is to navigate child-filled shopping aisle and checkouts.
Instead, coax them out of the house for a walk through nature (in a child-free zone to avoid triggers) to support their physical recovery – and subsequent .
Reassure Them That It Wasn’t Their Fault
While there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding premature pregnancy and newborn infant loss, miscarriages are very rarely the fault of either parent. They’re always due to factors beyond human control.
If your loved one is struggling to process their pregnancy loss, it’s crucial to reassure them that it was not their fault. A huge part of miscarriage awareness is acknowledging that there is almost nothing they could have done to change the situation. If you see they are truly struggling, if they are reaching for alcohol or other substances to ‘help’ them through, perhaps consider suggesting they explore .
Remind Them Miscarriage Does Not Make Them Infertile
It’s not uncommon for women who experience miscarriage to assume they are infertile, that they may never bear children. Many women will go down this path as they navigate the grief of miscarriage. Be there to remind them that many end in miscarriage and it is not anyone’s fault.
It certainly does not mean there will not be a happy healthy baby in the future. Now is the time to instil hope, but again, be careful how you deliver the message. There is a fine line of being overly optimistic while you are supporting them through their grief and being sensitive to their hopes and dreams.
They will need them time to honour and mourn the child they have just lost. And again, do not throw the idea of trying again immediately into the ring. Give it time and allow the acceptance of grief and miscarriage awareness to sink in and allow your friend to move through them. You will know when the moment is right.