After a miscarriage, friends and family often desperately want to provide support, but just don't know how. Afraid of saying the wrong thing, many will say nothing at all. Unfortunately, silence can make it seem as though you don’t care. So what should you do and say after a friend suffers a miscarriage? Here, moms who've lost a pregnancy share honest advice on what helps — and what doesn't.
1. Do: Say something.
Rosemary A., whose extended family has experienced multiple miscarriages, advises that saying something, however simple, is important: “A simple word can mean so much because so many people avoid the person or the subject." She says that a hug or just saying, “I don’t know what to say, but I want you to know how sorry I am” is enough.
2. Do: Acknowledge that this baby was special and loved.
A number of moms who have had miscarriages recommend telling your friend that you know how important this baby was. They also suggest using the baby’s name as a way to help her know that you remember the baby as a person, not just an idea.
3. Do: Just listen.
When the grieving mom or family wonders aloud why this happened, they’re not actually asking for your help in finding a reason. In reality, they are expressing their bewilderment and sorrow that such a happy thing has gone so wrong. As mom Sharon B. puts it, “Don't try to make them feel better as nothing can make you feel better after the loss of a pregnancy.”
4. Do: Let your friend know if you’ve been through something similar.
Circle of Moms member Courtney W., who has experienced the loss of two children, says this is a time when a mom needs someone who knows what she is going through. Sometimes it's helpful to just have someone who can sense when to talk and when to stay silent.
5. Do: Offer to help out around the house.
Mom Sarah C. offers that sometimes “practical acts of kindness” are more helpful than words. Whether that means making a meal, looking after older children, or doing a load of laundry, it will be one less thing your friend has to worry about while she's grieving.
6. Don't: Say “At least you know you can get pregnant."
Sometimes, "words of kindness can actually be words with daggers,” Ashley J. cautions. She relays how furious and hurt she was when she was told after her miscarriage that “at least” she could have another baby while some women can’t. In reality, seeing her baby’s heartbeat and then losing her was so painful that Ashley says she would have preferred never being pregnant in the first place.
7. Don't: Say “You can always try to have another."
As Kath B. explains, you need to “understand that they will be grieving for the loss of all the hopes and dreams this child had already given them.” Circle of Moms member Samantha H. recommends treating the situation “as if they lost a child, because they have.”
8. Don’t: Say “These things happen for a reason.”
As Circle of Moms member Trenda T. points out, "grief won't accept" that things happen for a reason. There’s enough guilt and self-recrimination involved in the grieving process already.
9. Don’t: Say “Be thankful/grateful for the kids you have.”
When Circle of Moms member Andrea S. lost one of her twins, it was unfathomable to her that so many people reminded her she was lucky “to still have one.” Like many other mothers who have heard this remark, she says it’s incredibly insensitive. Having another child, she explains, doesn’t “rid [her] heart of the pain” she feels from the loss of his sibling.
10. Don’t: Say “I know exactly how you feel.”
Heather K. says the worst thing people said to her was that they understood how she felt. “Even if they have lost a child they still didn't lose mine!" she explains. Even if you’ve been through a loss yourself, remember that everyone’s experience is different.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.