We are sorry if you have experienced a miscarriage. This may be a difficult time as you process the loss of your baby, your pregnancy and your anticipated parenthood. We hope that the information and coping strategies we have collected here will be helpful to you.

 

It is normal and healthy to grieve and feel sad, or many other emotions, after a miscarriage. You may also experience symptoms like difficulty sleeping, low energy and frequent crying. Hormones may initially play a role in intensifying these symptoms (1). Please seek professional help if you or your family are concerned about your emotional well being or if you have any concerns or questions. This page offers information about looking after yourself, accessing help, looking forward after a miscarriage, and supporting someone going through a miscarriage. 

Confused miscarriage emotions
 
 

When and where to access help

There is no time limit, rule or definition of what normal, healthy grief is. However, grief can sometimes lead to the development of mental health difficulties such as anxiety or depression. There are some signs of not coping that may indicate that professional help is required. 

Signs of not coping:

  • intense sorrow or distress

  • not getting out of bed

  • change in appetite

  • difficulty pursuing interests and activities

  • not finding pleasure in things that used to be pleasurable

  • isolation or social withdrawal

  • ongoing neglect of self-care and responsibilities

  • avoiding or pushing away difficult emotions

What kinds of help and treatment are available in New Zealand?

 

Talking therapies - Also known as counselling, talking treatments, or psychological therapies.

Research shows that talking therapies can help people recover from loss. Search for a psychologist or counsellor using the links below

  • You may be entitled to up to 6 free sessions with a Brief Intervention Counsellor (BIC) which can be accessed through your local doctor. Each DHB is different so talk to your doctor about whether a BIC is available in your region. You may be asked to fill in a short questionnaire in order for you doctor to assess whether you meet the eligibility criteria. If you do not meet the criteria your doctor will be able to recommend other options for counselling or support. 

Medication

For some people medication may be appropriate and helpful. Consult with your doctor or seek a psychiatrist. 

 

Research-based complementary therapies (self-care strategies)

There is no quick road to recovery. Maintaining your usual routine as much as possible, eating well, exercising and sleeping are small steps that you can take each day that promote resilience and help you to think in adaptive ways. If you are struggling with self-care, get assistance wherever you can. You could buy a daily planner or a diary to set out a routine for yourself, or have a list of daily tasks on a blackboard. It may also be a good idea to ask someone you live with to help you stick to your desired routine; sometimes you just need someone to switch off the TV. You could consult a nutritionist for support with healthy eating, or sign up to a service like My Food Bag. To help with your daily exercise you could join a sports team, get a personal trainer, join a gym, enlist a friend as a running or walking buddy, take up yoga, or go for a swim at your local pool (once the miscarriage bleeding has ceased). For sleep assistance check out the tips in our self-care section or speak to your local doctor. 

 

Support Groups

Sands New Zealand supports parents and families who have experienced the death of a baby at any stage during pregnancy and early life. Sands have support groups dotted across the country. Each Sands group operates in their own way; some offer one on one meetings by request, others organise monthly meet ups, and many offer direct ways to get in touch via phone, email or Facebook Messenger. Check out the Sands group in your area to see what they have on offer. Support groups can also be found on social media. See if your local Sands group hosts a private Facebook support group. 

Where to access help 

  • Local Medical Centre

    • Book an appointment with a doctor at your local medical centre  - they may refer you to where you need to go next or offer you a prescription if appropriate. You can search for your nearest medical centre here.

  • Counsellor

    • Search for a counsellor in your area here

    • Talk to your doctor about Brief Intervention Counselling.

    • Some hospitals offer free counselling, for example, Christchurch Women's hospital offers free professional counselling services. You can contact them at any stage before or after a miscarriage by phoning the Christchurch Women's Hospital Social Work & Counselling Service (03) 364 0420 (1).

  • Psychologist

    • Search for a psychologist in your area here.

  • 1737

    • Free call or text 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor or check out their website here

  • Sands

    • Find support from your local Sands group here

  • Or check out these other services: 

 

I had thought about talking to someone for a while. We started trying to conceive another baby a month after the miscarriage and not getting pregnant straight away was really hard (especially since the first time it happened so fast). Every month not being pregnant was like a loss all over again. Over time the trying, waiting, hoping and then the crushing disappointment of a negative test, coupled with thinking I would have been x months pregnant now and weekly pregnancy announcements from friends wore me down. About 6 months later we did get pregnant and it brought up a lot of trauma from the miscarriage. So that’s when I got referred to a psychologist. I talked to my Dr and she gave me a referral. Public is about a 4-6 week wait so I decided to go private as I wanted to be proactive and not wait until I was completely overwhelmed." - Shea, 2019 (b)

 

Understanding the emotional impact of miscarriage

Miscarriages have an impact on our physical bodies and they have a psychological impact on our mental health. Everyone has a different experience of miscarriage and whatever you are feeling is okay. Some common emotions people experience include: sadness, anger, resentment, hurt, disappointment, grief, guilt, confusion, uncertainty, shock, disbelief, fear, isolation, vulnerability, helplessness, loneliness, anxiety, depression, despair, numbness, relief, acceptance,  and physical symptoms (2). Research suggests that you can help reduce the intensity of an emotion by identifying it (3). Ultimately you want to process emotions by acknowledging and accepting them, without feeding them or trying to push them away. If you can do this, emotions will eventually pass on their own. 


Ideas to help process emotions

  • Allow yourself to feel and experience your emotions. 

    • Being sad and crying is okay

  • It takes time.

    • Try not to rush the process, or to avoid or force away unwanted emotions 

  • Express instead of suppress.

    • Talk to someone about how you are feeling. This could be friends, family or someone who has had a similar experience. Try to choose someone who will be understanding. 

  • Write down the emotions that you are feeling.

  • Write down your thoughts about what you have experienced. ​

  • Join a support group

    • There may be a stage in the process of dealing with your emotions at which support groups could be helpful. However, some Facebook support groups can cover intense content that could be upsetting. 

  • Take time off work if you need it.

  • Find meaning in the loss you have experienced.

  • Devise a way to honour your loss. See our ways to remember blog posts for ideas.

  • Talk to a professional (doctor, counsellor, psychologist)

  • Look after yourself 

"In the weeks after my miscarriage none of my family or close friends remotely pressured me to talk, but they would constantly ask me to go on walks or things similar and I found doing something physical amazing for my mental health. As the days went on I found myself wanting to share more and more of my story. I also decided during this time that when I felt comfortable I would tell all my friend group and others (work colleagues etc) about what happened because it's something that should be spoken about and people certainly shouldn't feel shy or whakamā about. I also found after talking about it that so many people I know had experienced miscarriages and I just felt this huge connection to them as I knew they got it. It was one of the hardest times of my life and writing this now would've been around my due date which is also a bit raw, but it has been so lovely having my support people around me who just continue to do little gestures and show that they remember what I've been through and it truly helps. Things certainly do get better with time and the best thing I realised for myself from this experience is that life throws you all sorts of hurdles and there are so many things (like miscarriages) that are simply out of your control, so I decided to focus on something I could control which for me was my health. I started walking everyday with my daughter and eating better and this helped me to heal both physically and mentally, it has been a huge process but has also meant for me that something really positive came from my experience that I will never forget." - Bridie, 2019 (a)

                Key Messages
  • It is normal to feel a range of emotions
  • Emotions can and do change
  • Instead of trying to get rid of an emotion, such as sadness, accept that the emotion is reasonable 
  • Remember there is no right way to experience a miscarriage, it’s different for everyone. It’s okay to feel whatever you feel
 

Dealing with grief and loss after a miscarriage

It can be useful to acknowledge the loss you have experienced and to remember that, although it is unpleasant and painful, grief is a healthy, common and normal response to miscarriage and loss. It is common for people to talk about the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance (4). However, not everyone experiences all these stages and they are not linear. You may not feel any grief at all and that is ok too. Sometimes grief can be delayed or come and go. Moving forward does not mean forgetting. Moving forward is acceptance and doing better physically and psychologically. People move forward and recover in many different ways and there is no time limit. Adjustment to loss can be assisted through good self-care such as sufficient sleep, good social support, eating well and exercise.  There are no rules for what healthy and normal grief looks like. Everyone processes grief in different ways and in different timeframes, however, ongoing signs of not coping may be an indication to seek professional help.

 

How to move forward with difficult emotions and grief:    

  • Stay connected - talk to loved ones, friends and family, and others who have miscarried. You may need to let your family and friends know how you are feeling and how they can help

  • Give yourself time. It takes time to process loss and to make sense of your experience

  • Try to maintain normal routines where possible (family dinners, exercise and hygiene)

  • Communicate with your partner. You may discuss how you are feeling, how they are feeling and what kind of support you find helpful and not helpful

  • You may want to store away any baby memorabilia, maternity clothing, and baby items until you are ready to see them again

  • It may be helpful to engage in a symbolic gesture or to have something to remember your baby by - see ouWays to Remember blog posts for ideas

  • Derive meaning from the experience

  • Consider our well-researched self-care strategies to maintain good health

  • Develop a positive future outlook and sense of self (see our  Looking Forward section)

  • Talk with professionals: doctors, counsellors, psychologists, midwives

"While pregnant with my first daughter (now 19 months) I kept everything hush hush for those first 12 weeks, but after a successful pregnancy, this time round I told my family and a few close friends straight away (around 5 weeks).  I told myself that the people I told would be the ones who I would talk to in any case if things were to go wrong and thinking back this was completely true. I am so pleased I had told my family because being a reserved person when it comes to emotional/ personal things I would have run the risk of bottling my emotions and not letting people in." - Bridie, 2019 (a)

The well-meant comments

Insensitive comments or silence around miscarriage may be less to do with the particular suffering of miscarriage and more to do with the way that people react to each other’s suffering in general. Anytime something bad happens (miscarriage, cancer, death, divorce, or depression, for example) there are going to be reactions that miss the mark. People in general don’t like to bring up topics that make other people sad (so they avoid talking about certain things), they like to make people feel better (they try to think of positives, “at least you...”), and they want to prevent bad things from happening in the future (they try to find out what went ‘wrong’ or offer remedies). These reactions may come from a good, caring place but they can completely miss the mark and cause more harm than good. When somebody says something that makes you feel worse, or if they avoid the topic completely, it may be helpful to understand that they are feeling awkward, they are doing a crap job of trying to make you feel better but they are trying,  and all of us have probably made a similar hash-job in a comparable situation. 

                Key Messages
  • Grief is a normal response to loss and can be different for everyone
  • Moving forward is learning to accept and live with the changes that have happened
  • Normal responses to grief may also be signs of not coping if they continue too long
  • People in general are not great at reacting to other people's suffering 
 

Ways to look after yourself

- self-care strategies to aid recovery after a miscarriage

Lots of people may tell you to be kind to yourself, but how do you actually do that? Taking care of yourself is the best thing that you can do for your recovery, it can also be a way to give yourself a break from grieving. If you have been blaming your body for your miscarriage, self-care may be a good way to reconnect, understand and forgive. 

 

We have put together some suggestions for ways to look after yourself. As with many things in life, you know yourself best, so choose things that work for you, or that you enjoy. 

SUGGESTIONS FOR SELF-CARE     

 

Sleep 

Getting sufficient sleep is beneficial for recovery. A good night’s sleep reduces stress and helps us to regulate our emotions (5). Sleep deprivation on the other hand can make us irrational and irritable - even when we are not grieving! Sleep is valuable, give yourself the opportunity to get a good amount. However, it is perfectly natural for your grief to interfere with your sleep. Try to stay relaxed about it. Our other self-care suggestions can be helpful with getting off to sleep at night, so if you are struggling with your slumber it may be best to concentrate on the other self-care suggestions and let sleep come back when it is ready. You can also check out some sleep tips here from the NZ Ministry of Health. If you experience ongoing disrupted sleep it may be beneficial for you to talk to your doctor. 

Maintain your usual routine 

By maintaining your regular routine you can rely on your habits to get you through. Keep up your good habits of eating, sleeping, bathing and grooming. You may not feel like doing these things but just step into your old routine and do them like you would any other day. A nice warm shower, a good meal and clean teeth will feel better than no shower, hungry belly and furry mouth. Let your routine take over for you and your body. 

Exercise

Regular exercise helps to reverse the stress response, to improve mood and to build emotional resilience (6). Exercise can be a refreshing change of space and a breath of fresh air. Sometimes it is easier to process your feelings and think of a way forward when your body is in action. Or other times exercise may be a way to quieten your mind. Try to do some form of exercise every day. 

Eat well

Eating nutritious food can help to regulate your mood as well as improve your physical health (7). When you are experiencing grief it is normal to lose your appetite or to overeat. Take time to be kind to yourself by planning healthy meals and snacks. It is also a good idea to minimise alcohol and caffeine intake. Check out this article by the NZ Herald for some healthy meal ideas if you are on a budget. If you are not up to going grocery shopping right now maybe you could sign up to My Food Bag, or do ‘Click and Deliver’ with your local supermarket, or make a shopping list and ask a friend or family member to pick up the items for you.

Stay connected with others

Expressing emotions, talking and just hanging out with family and friends can be helpful for grief. People who access and utilise social support are generally more resilient and recover more quickly from difficult experiences (8) It is your decision who you tell and when. Not everyone will be understanding but you may be surprised by the number of people who have also experienced a miscarriage. Please don't be disheartened if you have a negative experience with the first person you confide in. Sometimes starting a conversation about miscarriage allows somebody else to speak up for the first time. 

There are support groups on Facebook, if you search ‘miscarriage support nz’ in the Facebook search bar, the top two results should be from New Zealand. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that you will benefit from online support groups. In our personal experience Facebook support groups have offered an opportunity to share knowledge and offer support to others, but they may also contain upsetting comments or images. 

Accept and express your emotions

Research suggests identifying your emotions and expressing them through talking or writing can reduce the intensity of the emotions and help with processing. Perhaps you could write about how you’re feeling and what you are thinking, or do something creative like writing a poem (3)(9). How has miscarriage changed you? How are you feeling today? 

 

Practice mindfulness

Research suggests mindfulness can reduce symptoms of grief, depression, anxiety and emotional dysregulation (10). Mindfulness is the practice of being present and aware of things happening around you and within you throughout your day. There are lots of free apps available to help you develop and practice mindfulness, we like Headspace and Smiling Mind. You can follow the steps at Health Navigator NZ, or check out suggestions of things that you can do every day to help with mindfulness over at The Mental Health Foundation, for a Maori perspective on mindfulness you could go to Mindfulness Education NZ. There may be mindfulness groups in your area too. 

In some cases mindfulness can be harmful and may cause flashbacks of trauma. It is best to seek the advice of a therapist if you are unsure if mindfulness is right for you. 

Do things that you enjoy
Doing things that are fun and make you happy are important for your well-being. If you are finding it difficult to do things that you enjoy, try doing something with a friend. We can’t change the loss of a baby but we can learn to live with the changes that the loss leaves behind. Experiencing happiness or laughter does not mean that you are not grieving or that you are disrespectful, all emotions are okay. People who have suffered loss are still allowed to dance, sing and laugh, right? Recovery is about being able to experience, live and enjoy the present while acknowledging the past. To recover is to work towards acceptance and learning to live with loss. Do things that you enjoy. 

 

Practice relaxation

There are many relaxation strategies you can use to help your body reverse the stress response, reduce muscle tension and assist with sleep. Try massage, breathing techniques or progressive muscle relaxation.

You can check out an instruction sheet for practicing progressive muscle relaxation at Health Info NZ 

You could also check out this free Relaxation and Mindfulness CD from the Cancer Society that features audio guidance for different relaxation techniques. 

     

Allow yourself time to adjust

Don’t expect to feel ‘back to normal’ straight away, or to be capable of all of your usual responsibilities and work tasks. Daily hassles can feel overwhelming when you are grieving or stressed. Be kind to yourself and, if you can, allow yourself time to ease back into your responsibilities. Maybe you need to reach out to friends or family to give you a break. Grief may surprise you by popping up weeks or months after you thought you were doing ok. This is normal and it is okay. Use your self-care strategies and support network. 

 

Practice gratitude

Reflecting on things that you are grateful for can be a powerful way to enhance resilience and recovery (11). Practicing gratitude can improve your self-esteem, reduce insomnia and depression, increase your happiness, strengthen your immunity and improve your self-control (12). You can practice gratitude by keeping a daily journal in which you list three specific things that you are grateful for that day (13). Yes it is really that simple! You could purchase a gratitude journal, or make one, or just use a regular diary or notebook. Check out the Youthline website for some cool DIY gratitude journal ideas. Awesome Ends In Me sells gratitude journals and has more information about the benefits of gratitude.

 "I didn’t realise at first, but I was actually pretty angry with my body. I felt like my body had let me down, like we weren’t on the same team. I think getting back into exercise and the first park run where I ran all the way was a big milestone for me. To finally feel like you are on the same team as your body and to appreciate how healthy and strong you are; to be grateful that you are able to get up in the morning and run 5km. That was a moment when I felt like I had gotten back something that I lost with the miscarriage." - Shea, 2019 (b)

 

Looking forward

A miscarriage may be a one-off occurrence, or part of a longer journey, it may be the first brutal invitation into parenthood, or the last attempt at it. It can be useful to mentally prepare yourself for the future, whether that may be conceiving another baby or forming new ideas about what your family may look like. This section offers information that may be useful as you look forward to a life  after miscarriage.  

Others with babies
It is understandable that you may find it difficult seeing strangers or friends with babies. You may feel upset (and sometimes also happy) when receiving news of pregnancies and birth announcements, or when seeing pregnant women and babies (they are everywhere!) There is no need to feel ashamed about feeling sad or jealous, these are normal responses which you can manage. It can be helpful to talk to others about how you feel but it may take time to process. 

Families come in many shapes and sizes

If you are unable to conceive again, or choose not to try again, discuss your options with your partner or loved one. You may consider adoption, surrogacy, fostering, or imagine what your life would be like without children or without any additional children. Talking to a professional can be really helpful if you need to change your perspective about what your future family may look like. 


Planning for another baby
If you plan to conceive again, prepare yourself for possible emotional triggers and anxieties that may arise. It is a good idea to wait until you are physically and emotionally ready before trying to conceive again. Some people get pregnant again straight away and other people take months or years to get pregnant again. Waiting for a positive pregnancy test can be a consuming thing. You may want to ask your doctor for guidance or to help you develop a conception plan before you try to get pregnant again. Approaching particular weeks or feeling certain sensations may cause you to feel worried. Talk this through with your partner, doctor and midwife and think about ways you can best manage this. You may want to keep busy, take a small holiday or start watching a new TV series. Identify your emotions, fears and worries throughout the course of your pregnancy and consider what aspects of your pregnancy are within or outside of your control. Focus on what you can control; like taking care of yourself, minimising stress, and acknowledging that your emotions are reasonable and that they will pass.

"Initially I took a lot of pregnancy tests and spent a lot of time trying to find information on ovulation and what is a normal cycle after a miscarriage. I had very clear ovulation symptoms before my miscarriage and then no symptoms of ovulation afterwards. A friend then told me to just make sure we were trying for a baby every 1-2 days from day 8 in the cycle till day 18. I liked this simple advice and it meant I didn't have to think about trying to work out when I was ovulating. I then told myself that negative pregnancy tests were not helping me, so I gave myself a rule that I wasn't allowed to take a pregnancy test unless my cycle was more than two days late." - Corrine, 2018 (c)

"I wanted to get pregnant right away and ideally be pregnant before my due date, as I felt being ‘back on track’ with our plans to start a family would soften the blow. I didn’t want to feel I had wasted time. In hindsight this was not a good idea as the ‘deadline’ put a lot of pressure on me (by me). We started planning ‘not pregnant’ dates; doing things I couldn’t do if I was pregnant, like sushi and sake at the nice Japanese restaurant down the road, cocktails, and a fancy medium rare steak dinner etc. A consolation prize of sorts. That helped and it was fun to think of experiences we loved and could enjoy during the before kids time in our marriage. In the end I found out I was pregnant exactly a week before my first baby's due date and that was a lot to deal with all at once. " - Shea, 2019 (b)

Coping with change and uncertainty
You have the ability to overcome adversity, change and uncertainty because you have done it before, everyone has. You have been through situations that you found difficult or that you felt unsure about, they are proof that you can cope. Life is full of change and uncertainty. One way to manage this is to accept that there are some things that we cannot control. Ask yourself, what is the worst thing, the best thing, and the most realistic thing that may happen? Most of the time the most realistic outcome will be somewhere between the best and the worst. There is no magic trick for overcoming difficult situations and emotions. For on-going inner healing and to build resilience, create a lifestyle with helpful thinking and positive habits full of the self-care strategies

 

Adaptive thinking
We have the power to change the way we feel by changing the way we think or behave. One way we can do this is by recognising whether our thinking is helpful or unhelpful. For example, an unhelpful thought may be, “I would be a better Mum than her”, a more helpful thought may be, “I think I would be a great Mum.” This may be a subtle difference but it can have a significant impact on how we feel and act. Each time we have a thought the neural pathways in our brain that produced that thought become stronger. The first time we have a thought it can be like cutting a track through a dense forest,  but as we think along those lines more and more the pathway becomes more like a highway. Highways are easier to travel than bush tracks so our brain naturally tends to travel down the same easy routes. Negative thoughts can become highways in our brain and it takes adaptive thinking to steer clear of them. To practice adaptive thinking, try to pay attention to your thoughts and, if you detect thoughts that make you feel bad about yourself or others, jump in there and question them; “Is this thought helpful?” “Do I know that to be true or am I making assumptions?” Each time you manage to steer your brain down a different path, of love, acceptance and understanding, you are working to strengthen those pathways instead. At first it will be difficult but the more you do it, the stronger you will be making those new positive pathways, until one day they may be your automatic thoughts.  If you notice unhelpful thinking patterns and negative automatic thoughts often, you might consider some therapy to foster adaptive thinking and promote your resilience. See when and where to access help.

"After my miscarriage I initially thought, 'my cycles are wrong and I have no ovulation symptoms so I can't get pregnant.' I then changed my thinking to, 'my body is different after my miscarriage, but different does not mean broken, I can get pregnant again.'" - Corrine, 2018 (c)

 

How to be a gold star support person

Are you wondering how you can best support someone who has experienced a miscarriage? It may be your sister, partner, wife, daughter, niece, friend, colleague, employee, brother, husband, son, nephew, cousin… Whoever you are here for, good on you for taking it seriously! We hope that this information will help you to offer support that will be appreciated.

 

Research tells us that people have different preferences for support at different times.  Ask the person you are supporting if the kind of help you are offering is useful, and try to recognise when something different may be beneficial. 


TYPES OF SUPPORT
Practical Support
This describes the actions you may do to help someone. This could be things like; cooking meals, cleaning, looking after children or pets, and grocery shopping.

Informational Support
This describes finding and providing your loved one with the information they are in search of. This might be finding out things like; the symptoms of miscarriage, how to access a counsellor, how to find a support group, or whether they are allowed time off work. Sometimes sending a simple link may be very helpful. We hope you can find a lot of what you need through this website.

Emotional Support
Your loved one may need to talk. Active listening can be a really powerful way to help. To practice active listening is to really focus on what the person is saying; try to hold back from interrupting, try to understand what they are saying by asking questions and repeating back to them what you think they have said. Through the process of active listening you are helping your loved one feel heard and understood but not judged. Often people are not looking for you to solve their problem or share your own experiences (try to hold back from offering advice unless asked) they just want to be heard as they process their experience. Sharing emotional pain can be difficult, especially with those close to us so try not to be offended if they prefer to talk to a professional or a stranger. 

This video is produced in Ireland.

If someone you are supporting needs emergency help please dial 111

Support for Men

Research suggests that it can be challenging for men to manage their own grief while trying to fulfil their role of  supportive partner during and after a miscarriage. Men may experience isolation and feel powerless and helpless (13)

To support men through the experience of miscarriage:

  • Let them know it’s okay to experience their own grief

  • Listen if they want to talk, or support them to speak with a professional

  • Ask how you can help (practical, informational, emotional or other support)

  • Help them connect with someone who has been through a similar experience

Tips for family and friends:

  • Bring up their miscarriage.

    • This is a challenging one and it may make them cry at first, it may make you cry too, so choose an appropriate time and place. You might feel uncomfortable but if you can be honest and genuine then it can be a rare opportunity for the person to talk about something that they may be thinking about all the time. You could say things like: “I’m sorry about your miscarriage”, “I don’t know what to say about your miscarriage”, “Are you still thinking about your miscarriage?”, “How are you feeling since your miscarriage?”, “What was your due date?”, “Are you doing anything to commemorate your miscarriage?”, “Should I shut up about your miscarriage or do you like talking about it?” If we talk about uncomfortable things then, eventually, they are not so uncomfortable anymore.

  • Adopt their words.

    • Some people like to think about miscarriage practically and to keep an emotional distance, they may use words like, ‘it’ or ‘my miscarriage’. Other people use words that emotionally connect with the miscarriage,  they may say things like, ‘my baby’ or ‘he’ or ‘she’ or they may have named their baby. However they describe their miscarriage, if you adopt the words of the person you are supporting, then you are supporting their interpretation and understanding of their miscarriage.

  • Allow them to grieve in their own way. They may choose to talk lots or they may prefer to keep busy - let them decide how to manage their loss. 

  • Be there for them.

    • Let them know you are available to support them, but don’t overcrowd them. 

  • Keep inviting them to things and let them decline. 

  • Match your support with what they need – emotional, practical, informational. 

  • Do something fun together (go to the movies, go for a walk)

  • Do something nice for them - give them a massage, paint their nails, plait their hair, cook them dinner.

  • Support them if they mention that they would like to talk to a professional - you may even be able to help them start this process. 

  • Be mindful of times that may be particularly difficult, for example, their due date or the anniversary of their miscarriage.

"My mum and dad just took my one-year-old away and gave her some lovely play time and put her to bed that evening so none of that was on my mind. My sister came as soon as she heard what was going on and cuddled me on the couch, both of us crying, while we put some childhood movie on in the background (can't remember which). My husband just sat with us too and made hot drinks. What I remember vividly in terms of support was that I certainly did not want to talk about things or explain what was happening and that the most supportive thing people could do was just be there to cuddle me and let me cry and do practical things to help. I knew the time to talk for me would be later not during that time." - Bridie, 2019 (a)

"Some amazing friends of ours from Australia sent a meal to us (from Angel Delivery) which made us feel so loved and cared for. My Auntie checked in on me all the time asking how I was feeling which was great as that gave me an opening to talk." - Corrine, 2018 (c)

 

"I think the main thing is to reach out, even just to say ‘I’m sorry you lost your baby’ or ‘I am thinking of you’. Also stay away from ‘at least’ statements, even coming from a good place they are not comforting and can hurt a lot when things are still raw." - Shea, 2019 (b)

This page was reviewed: April, 2020

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