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After Your Miscarriage

For friends and family

When your friend or family member goes through the loss of a pregnancy or a baby, you may not know what to say or do.

There are no magic words to take away the pain a parent feels with this kind of loss. Tell them you’re sorry for their loss and ask what you can do to help. Usually, it helps to just listen and be around in case you’re needed. Acknowledge the baby and what the baby meant to the parents. If the parents named the baby, call the baby by name. Be open and let the grieving parents tell you what they need. Give them time to cope with their grief. And remember, there’s no time limit for grief.

Grief is different for everyone and everyone copes in a different way. It may take a long time before parents can go to family gatherings, social events, celebrations, or be around other babies.

Grief around holidays or the anniversary date of the loss can be hard. Parents often find their own unique, important way to remember the baby over their lifetime. Show your support by helping with ways to remember. Send cards or mementos on special occasions.

What to say

  • “I’m sorry for your loss.”
  • “How can I help right now?”
  • “I’m here to listen and help support you.”
  • You can also say things about the baby, like special features or feelings during the pregnancy.

What not to say

  • “You’re lucky you have (or can have) other children.”
  • “It’s meant to be” or “It was part of life’s plan.”
  • “You didn’t have time to get to know the baby.”
  • “You need to move on.”
  • “Don’t cry” or “Don’t be sad.”
  • “I’ll pray for you.” (unless the family asked you to pray for them)
  • “The baby is with the angels now.” (don’t talk about God and angels unless you know for sure that this would bring comfort)

How to help

Ask your friend or family member what would help and what they want. Try not to take over. Parents need to be in control. Here are some ideas of how you can help:

  • Prepare meals, help with housework, or organize others to help at different times
  • Let others know about the loss, if the parents ask you to.
  • Offer rides to and from appointments.
  • Help with funeral arrangements and go to the funeral or memorial service.
  • Help with ways to remember the baby. For example, write a poem or letter, or give a special memento like ornaments, jewelry, art, or ceramics.
  • Offer to look after other children.

Watch for signs of depression in your friend or family member, like ongoing sleep problems, changes in appetite or activities, blaming, feeling guilty, or having thoughts about suicide. If you notice any of these signs, encourage them to seek professional help right away. They can call Health Link at 811 to talk to a nurse about how they're feeling.​​​

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