stillbirth and miscarriage

6 Tips for Supporting Someone Through Miscarriage and Stillbirth

A baby is a baby, no matter how small. Miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss are devastating experiences that so many families go through. It is estimated that 1 in 4 pregnant people will experience a pregnancy loss. Let that sink in for a minute. 1 in 4 pregnant people. 1 in 4 isn’t just a statistic though. It is your sisters, your mothers, your friends, your coworkers. It could be the bus driver or the person sitting next to you in the movie theatre. Maybe it is you. It is me. If it hasn’t been you, it can be hard to know how to support someone experiencing such a loss. Here are my suggestions for how to support someone who has lost a pregnancy or baby.

It is estimated that 1 in 4 pregnant people will experience a miscarriage or stillbirth.

A baby is a baby, no matter how small.

I have four living children, and one child I never got to hold or meet. It’s been 9 years, and I still grieve for what might have been. I lost that little life at 13 weeks, and it turned out it was an anembryonic pregnancy (which basically means that an embryo never developed even though my body thought otherwise). It doesn’t matter that technically there wasn’t an actual baby.
For 13 weeks, I began to make plans and have dreams about who my baby would be. I could picture her sweet smile as she cooed and giggled in my arms. I saw her as a kid coming to me for a hug with scraped knees and a dirty face. I saw her as a teenager slamming her door, mad at me for something or other. I pictured her graduating from high school. I dreamed of her holding her own sweet baby – the circle complete.
When those dreams and plans were destroyed, it was devastating. My heart broke. I still grieve for what might have been, even though I now have four other living children. No matter that she was so small, she will always be one of my children as well.

After my miscarriage, I found that many people didn’t know what to say or do.  It was hard to hear some of the well meaning advice. But there were some who knew exactly what I needed.

Do you know someone who is grieving the loss of a pregnancy or baby? Here are some suggestions for helping them heal.

  1. Don’t expect them to be normal. They will never be “normal” again. They now have to figure out what their new normal is as the parent of an angel baby. 
  2. Do talk about their loss. Don’t try to avoid it. They’re always thinking about it anyway, so don’t worry you will upset them if it comes up.
  3. Let them cry. They need to cry. Just sit with them so they know they aren’t alone.
  4. Say their baby’s name. If they have named their baby, say their name. They need to hear that other people acknowledge that they were here.
  5. If you don’t know what to say, just tell them how sorry you are. Don’t say “it was for the best” or “they’re in a better place” or “you can always have more” or “at least you know you can get pregnant.” They don’t care about any of that, they just want the baby they lost safely in their womb or arms.
  6. Most of all, just be there. Whatever it is they need, be there. Laugh with them, cry with them, hold them, sit with them, listen to them, hug them. Just be there..

When I look back on my miscarriage, the most helpful things that helped me to heal was other people who reached out and told me I was not alone, people who just sat in silence with me, and time. So much time. Do you need something to send to your loved ones grieving? Check out this letter from a mama who knows. 

Have you lost a baby? What things helped you heal the most? I would love to hear what helped you.

Love Sarah    xoxo