According to the Mayo Clinic, about 15 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage before the 20th week of pregnancy. With numbers this high – an estimated one in five known pregnancies – there’s a very good chance that a woman close to you has suffered, or is now suffering, through a miscarriage.
Women who have miscarried go through a range of emotions: sadness, guilt, anger, fear, loneliness. You, as a well-meaning friend or family member, want to support your loved one. You want to let her know that you are there for her and that you’re sorry for what happened.
Unfortunately, sometimes the things that people say can be upsetting to a grieving woman, even when they’re trying to be supportive. Reactions such as “you can try again”, “at least you already have children” or “there was probably something wrong with the baby” can be more hurtful than helpful.
In order to support a woman who is going through a miscarriage, the best thing that you can do is accept her grief. Don’t try to minimize it or make her feel better about her loss; instead, grieve with her. The most supportive things that you can say to a woman suffering through a miscarriage are often the simplest:
- I’m so sorry for your loss.
- Is there anything that I can do to help?
- I’ll pray for you.
- My heart aches for you.
- This is not your fault. Nothing that you did could have caused this.
As time goes on, your loved one will start to heal, but she may always miss her unborn child. Knowing that you also remember and miss the baby lost to miscarriage may bring comfort to her. If you know her well, you might consider sending her flowers or a card on her due date or on Mother’s Day, two dates that can be very difficult for grieving women.
Hopefully, your loved one will get pregnant again, and this time be able to welcome a new baby into her heart and home. In the meantime, knowing that she can count on your presence, your empathy and your love may help her feel less alone.