Over the past decade or so, people have begun to dismantle the culture of secrecy surrounding miscarriages.
More and more people are using the term “rainbow baby” (coined circa 2008) to describe a healthy child born after miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of a child in infancy. The rainbow signifies the bright light after the storm.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Tips on How to Offer Condolences for a Miscarriage
- Condolence Message Ideas for a Miscarriage
- Other Ways to Show You Care
But even though societal misconceptions about miscarriages are now being cleared up, it’s still challenging to come up with the right words to communicate condolences.
Death is hard to talk about, already, and the end of a wanted pregnancy is even more potentially fraught.
Post-planning tip: If you are the executor for a deceased adult child, handling the emotional and technical aspects of their unfinished business can be overwhelming. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.
Now that people are becoming more open about miscarriages, you may see social media posts from people talking about the miscarriages they have had in the past. They may even share news about a miscarriage that has just happened.
If a pregnancy announcement has already gone out via mail or email, you may receive a notification about a miscarriage via email.
This ensures the news gets to as many people as possible in as direct and efficient a wayWith a Facebook or Instagram post, news of the miscarriage may not reach older family members or people who avoid social media in a timely enough manner.
If you do receive an email or see a social media post about a miscarriage, it’s often best to respond in a new, separate email chain instead of simply hitting reply or commenting on a post.
When someone is freshly grieving the loss of a pregnancy, they may opt to turn off comment notifications on their social media posts so they don’t have to be faced with the proof of their loss every time their phone makes a sound.
As for email, replying to the original message may end up with your note buried in a thread with dozens of other responses. Sending a separate response can make things less confusing.
Emailing someone is a simple matter. Make sure your subject line subtly telegraphs what your email is about so your loved one won’t be surprised by the subject matter when they open it. Something like “With Sympathy” or “Our Deepest Condolences” works just fine.
Your tone should be somewhat neutral. Being over the top about your sadness may make the recipient feel ashamed or guilty. But striving for a positive spin may be even worse.
Avoid phrases like “You’ll get pregnant again,” which diminishes the genuine sense of loss your friend is experiencing about the loss of this particular pregnancy, or “It just wasn’t meant to be,” which sounds like you’re saying they weren’t meant to be a parent. Stick with simple and straightforward messages of sympathy.
Still not quite sure how to offer condolences for a miscarriage in the most heartfelt way? Here are some simple messages you can borrow or draw inspiration from:
For a friend
- “I know how much this baby was loved and wanted. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss.”
- “You are one of the strongest people I know, but please don’t feel like you need to be strong right now. Being kind to yourself is more important.”
- “Grief has its own timeline. I am here for you whenever you need to talk about this, whether that’s in ten minutes or ten years.”
- “You and your little one are constantly on my mind and in my heart.”
For a family member
- “I know it can take a long time to grieve a loss like this. Please know that however long it takes, I’ll be with you the whole way.”
- “I wish I had the right words to say to make you feel better, but I know no words could really be enough. I am here for you always, to talk or to listen.”
- “This baby was so, so loved. No matter what, they will always be a part of our family.”
- “Please don’t forget to be as kind to yourself as you can right now. Allow yourself the same grace you would afford anyone else.”
- “I hope you know you can call me anytime and I’ll always pick up the phone for you, day or night.”
For an acquaintance
- “I’m so sorry for your loss.”
- “I know we don’t know each other well, but if you ever need someone to listen to you without judgment, I am here for you.”
- “Please know you are often on my mind. I am here for you if you need me.”
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Sometimes actions speak louder than words. Be willing to show up and step up for your friend as they cope with pregnancy loss. There are some small things you can do that will have a massive impact on the life of someone who is grieving.
Even relatively early in a pregnancy, excited parents and grandparents may have picked up some unisex baby clothes, toys, or other keepsakes. If that has happened, you can offer to take these items and return them to stores if they are still in the refund window.
Some stores that cater specifically to mothers and children may offer a more flexible return window in the case of child loss. If these items cannot be refunded, you can offer to pack them up and put them somewhere out of the way for a hopeful future pregnancy or donate them to a shelter or charity.
If the pregnancy was announced and people already sent baby gifts, offer to contact gift-givers and allow them the option to have gifts returned to them. Let them know that any gifts they don’t want back will either be held onto in hopes of a potential future pregnancy or donated to a specified charity.
If people sent items like handmade quilts or monogrammed gifts, offer to pack them up and hold onto them until the grieving parents can cope with having it around again.
More generally speaking, make sure to offer to do the same things you might offer to do for someone mourning the death of a spouse or parent. Volunteer to come over and help out with housework.
Offer to organize a meal train so no one in the household has to worry about shopping or cooking for a little while. If the grieving parents have older children, offer to babysit them so the parents can get some rest or get out of the house for a while.
If the person who lost a pregnancy doesn’t have children or a partner, offer to spend the night with them from time to time, so they don’t feel so alone. In short, do whatever you feel will provide the most personalized level of support.
Expressing Sympathy in the Aftermath of a Miscarriage
Even if you have never endured a miscarriage, you can still respond in a compassionate and empathetic way by saying the right thing, giving a unique sympathy gift, and giving your loved one your time.
Whether you send a simple message to a friend expressing sympathy and sorrow, or you step in to help deal with the more practical aspects of life after a miscarriage, you could prove to be a real source of strength and support to a family in need of some understanding.
If you're looking for more ways to support someone during a miscarriage, read our guide on coping with a miscarriage.