What to say or do when someone has had a miscarriage
There are, however, some things Mumsnetters agree are generally helpful - or unhelpful.
It could help to...
- "Say something simple like 'sorry to hear this, I will be thinking of you.' I've just had a miscarriage, and I don't really take in the words people are saying, but the sentiment that someone understands that this is a big deal for me and has taken the time to acknowledge that I have lost a much longed for baby means so much."
- Offer practical help, such as looking after other children, if applicable, or cooking food.
- Send a plant, or offer to arrange for a tree to be planted in memory. Many people prefer this to flowers as there is more longevity.
Sometimes just being there is the best thing you can do
- "I think the key to this type of situation is to be there and listen to her, whatever she has to say, while saying little yourself."
- "Give her a BIG hug when you first see her, tell her you're really sad/sorry etc and let her dictate the direction of your conversation. If she wants to talk about it, listen and take your cues from her. If you're not sure what to say, be honest with her about this, but say you're there to support her."
- "I was appreciative when people seemed to understand how upset I was - some people even seemed to be upset too. While I obviously didn't want to go around making people sad, at the same time it was a huge comfort to me because you go through a whole range of emotions, including often a feeling that you are totally over-reacting - so it is nice to have permission to feel completely shite! Hugs and friendliness were what I needed. And both the opportunity to tell the whole story again and to talk about something completely different!"
- "I have just had a miscarriage too and what I am finding so hard is people pretending it never happened and that I should be totally back to normal. A big hug and a sorry would have meant a lot to me, a card would have been wonderful. There is nothing you can say to make her feel better but you can be there for her if she needs."
Avoid saying (no matter how well-intentioned)...
- "How many weeks were you?" This can be construed as meaning that grief is less warranted in the case of early miscarriage.
- "How long have you been trying to conceive?" Miscarriage is devastating no matter how many you've had...
- "Do you already have children?" - and regardless of whether you already have children.
- "When are you going to start trying again?" This will be a very personal decision, and - further down the line - they could already be trying, and struggling.
- "You can always try again" - that doesn't make losing this one any easier.
- "It'll be okay next time" - you don't know that.
- Anything along the lines of "it wasn't meant to be" - the fact that carrying the pregnancy to term wouldn't have been viable is of no comfort to someone who was expecting to have a healthy baby at the end of nine months.
- Anything that tries to put a positive spin on the situation.
Last updated: 5 months ago