How awful. I can't begin to imagine how devastating that must be.
As others have suggested, I think the best thing would be helping with other children if she wants it, providing food for the family, doing practical stuff, and being there is she does want to chat, particularly a few weeks down the line.
I think flowers are best avoided. I think they'd just be a reminder of the terrible loss (not that she's likely to forget).
Thank you all so much for your responses. A card and food and an offer of school pick ups and drop off and play dates is what I'll offer. I really appreciate the advice. xx angelopal - I am so sorry for your loss. You are a courageous woman for sharing. x
I think volunteering to give her some breathing space by caring for her children for a couple of hours is probably the most helpful thing you could do. Can you do school pick-ups/drop offs so she doesn't have to face the school gate crowd just yet? Or take her children for a playdate and tea?
Failing that can you cook a meal for them, preferably something that can be heated up or frozen for a bad day when she can't be bothered to cook?
There is absolutely nothing you can say to make it better so don't try. The only thing that helps is "I'm so terribly sorry, is there anything I can do to help?"
I would have thought that if you bump into them then I don't think anything more detailed than "I was so sorry to hear of your loss" would be appropriate, particularly since they've indicated they don't want to have to talk about it.
How well do you know her? Is she a "smile at the school gate" mum or a "coffee sometimes" mum?
As an aside, a loss at 38w is a stillbirth or neonatal loss, not a miscarriage, which is the word generally reserved for losses before theoretical viability.
Hi I lost my first baby at 4 days old about 6 months ago. I would avoid flowers as we got to many. Do you know if she has named her baby? If so a card using the name would probably be appreciated. Also practical things such as food I found useful. As she already has at least one child could you offer a few hours childcare.
I'm reluctant to post about such a tender topic but a mother at my son's school has just had a miscarriage at 38 weeks. I am devastated for her loss and feel the need to support her and her family in some way.
Can I ask what would have been and what was helpful? The family has asked that people should be told so they don't have to talk about it at the school gates. What do I say when I see them? What can I do in the mean time to help them - flowers? food? card? I'm at a loss, what a devastating thing to go through.