6 Ways to Love on Someone After a Miscarriage

Although miscarriage is becoming less stigmatized to talk about, we still have no idea how to handle it. It’s a form of loss and grief that somehow seems less legitimate sometimes. But that doesn’t make it any less painful. If someone you love, or even just someone you know, has had a miscarriage, here are some ways to walk alongside them.

How to Love on Someone After a MiscarriageAcknowledge miscarriage just like any other loss

Think about what you might do for your loved one with any other loss, then do that. Calling or texting to say you are so sorry. Loving on them extra. Sending flowers, chocolates, or booze. Bringing them dinner, or taking something else off their plate. Showing up to their house with a bottle of wine and a plan to watch trashy TV. Strip away all of the secrecy and hushed tones of a miscarriage; it’s a loss like any other. 

Follow their lead

How to Love on Someone After a MiscarriageYour person may want to talk about this a lot. Or not at all. They may want to process all of the things they dreamed of that they were looking forward to that now won’t happen, at least not with this child they were dreaming of. Let them talk if they want to talk. Or let them pretend everything is normal if that is what they need. It’s about them, not you. If you find yourself doing something just to make yourself feel better or dispel your uncomfortable feelings, that’s a sign to steer back toward them instead. 

Just assume we are talking about a baby

Yes I know most miscarriages happen very early in pregnancy. Yes I know that at that point an embryo is a ball of cells. Yes I know I am inches away from a weird pro life debate here. The point is, if your loved one is mourning the loss of what they considered a baby, and you say something like “it was just a ball of cells anyway”, then you’ve just twisted the knife. Wait for them to steer you there first. See above, follow their lead.

Stay away from “at least” statements when talking about miscarriage

“At least you know you can get pregnant.”

“At least you already have one kid.”

“At least you can try again.”

“At least you can always adopt if it doesn’t work out.”

“At least” is the statement that tells you some dismissive sympathy is coming. We are all prone to it. We want our person to get past this, to stop being sad, and to feel like they can have hope for something. But when we are in the midst of grief, no one wants to hear all the things they should be grateful for. Megan Divine, author of It’s OK That You’re Not OK {my favorite book on grief} also cautions us against ascribing meaning to our loved one’s loss. “Let them choose meaning,” she instructs.

Be extra gentle with them

If it’s soon after their miscarriage, your loved one may be going through some intense physical stuff while their body processes the aftermath of that. And there’s no FMLA for miscarriage. Offer some extra gentleness with them. Send them a basket of pampering. Or a gift of heavy duty pads. Or babysit their kid so they can lay in bed for awhile. While you’re at it, excuse them from all baby related celebrations for a time. It’s utterly painful to have to paste on a smile and pretend to be cheery at a shower when all you want to do is wallow. And maybe punch that other pregnant lady in the face because her body cooperated and yours didn’t. 

Know that if/when they get pregnant again, they are going to be anxious AF

Miscarriage is not a one and done thing. It can happen again, and once it happens once, you just wait for the other shoe to drop, while also doing every single thing you can to try to prevent it, no matter how senseless it feels. Don’t tell your friend that of course she can have coffee while she’s pregnant, or that it’s no big deal if she isn’t feeling sick in that first trimester. Just meet her where she’s at. Commiserate about how much it sucks to go without caffeine. Listen to her worries and tell her you will be there for her no matter what happens. There’s nothing you can say that will silence the fear gripping her every damn day until that baby comes out healthy. All you can do is stand beside her and support her. 

Miscarriage grief is a wiley bitch, but if we can look her dead in the eye and bring her out in the open, we can lessen her blow just a little bit. 

“Some things cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.” -Megan Devine

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