Miscarriage, stillbirth and infant death are devastating experiences for both parents and their families. In the United States, approximately 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. The CDC reports that 1 in 160 births are stillbirth in the United States. We can sometimes feel unsure how best to support our loved ones through this process. Below are tips on supporting loved ones through Pregnancy Loss.
Acknowledge The Loss
Let your loved one know you acknowledge their pain and their child’s life. If they named their child, do not be afraid to say their name. By speaking of their child, it shows you remember and value their life. Following up with support is also important. For many parents, the support dries up when the physical healing is over. Remember them on difficult anniversaries or holidays.
Don’t Try To Fix It
Your loved one does not expect you to make sense of their loss. What a bereaved parent needs is someone to give them a safe space to feel their grief. Refrain from using at least statements, (at least you know you can get pregnant, at least it happened early in the pregnancy, at least you have other healthy children). These rarely provide comfort and can often leave your loved one feeling dismissed. Now is not the time to share the story of your neighbor’s cousin who went on to have a healthy baby after miscarriage. Someone in grief needs support on the hard days and unconditional love during difficult times.
Thoughtful actions like leaving a meal on the porch, sending flowers or a thoughtful text, babysitting older children so they can rest are all great ways to show support for your loved one.
Avoid Toxic Positivity
When interacting with a bereaved parent, we can find ourselves scrambling for the right words to say. Many times, we offer these sentiments to encourage our loved ones including, “You will get over it soon!” “Just think positive and you will get pregnant again!” “Everything happens for a reason!” These positive statements often invalidate what someone is feeling. There are no right words or perfect statements to offer so it is best to be honest. An honest response might sound like, “I don’t know what to say, but I want you to know I’m here for you. I don’t understand what you’re going through right now, but I want to.” The safest response is always, “I’m so sorry for your loss.” There are wonderful resources available for family and friends to utilize. Please visit the following sites for more information on how to support your loved one through pregnancy loss.