Somewhere around 26% of pregnancies result in miscarriage—oftentimes before a person even realizes that they’re pregnant. That doesn’t make it any easier when they do happen. It’s not uncommon for people to feel anxiety, sadness, grief, and loneliness.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- How to Comfort a Loved One Who Just Had a Miscarriage
- How to Comfort a Loved One Who Had a Miscarriage in the Past
- What to Say to Someone Who Had a Miscarriage
- What NOT to Say to Someone Who Had a Miscarriage
- Frequently Asked Questions: Comforting a Loved One Who Had a Miscarriage
If you have a loved one who recently had a miscarriage, whether they’re your partner, family member, or close friend, they need people to be there for them as they move through this intense healing process.
Still, miscarriages are often this hidden and confusing kind of grief, and it can be difficult to know the right things to say or do to support your loved one.
If you’re wondering how to comfort someone who had a miscarriage, we have some tools and tips to help you help them.
How to Comfort a Loved One Who Just Had a Miscarriage
When you comfort someone, you let them know that they are held, supported, cared for, and loved, even in their most difficult moments. People need this kind of support and comfort. It’s how we can pick up the pieces and carry on, even when it feels impossible to do so.
There’s no set recipe when it comes to supporting people through grief. The same is true for people who have had a miscarriage.
Here are some tips as you comfort your loved one:
1. Be present
This may seem obvious, but the first and biggest thing you can do for your loved one is to let them know that you’re there for them, and you’re not going anywhere.
Even if you’re not physically there with them, send them messages to let them know you’re thinking about them, or check in with them to see how they’re doing.
When you’re with them in person, really be there for them. Don’t worry about saying or doing the right thing, because that only takes away from your presence with them. Instead, be kind and understanding.
2. Mirror their language
People have different language around how they discuss loss and grief, especially when it’s reproductive loss. Listen to your loved one and notice if they use “baby” or “fetus,” “miscarried” or “lost the baby,” “grieving” or “sad,” and match their language.
The words we use are powerful, and sometimes we have to be extra gentle or conscientious of them when comforting someone after a loss. Certain words may be triggering or more comforting for the individual.
You might not get it perfect, and that’s OK. The better you listen, the better you can comfort and care for your loved one.
3. Offer them resources
Being there to comfort them, hold them, and say kind things to them is important, but you can also help your loved one by offering them resources on miscarriage and loss.
Resources are tangible tools that convey other people’s experiences with miscarriage or practical tips they can use while they’re healing and processing.
Some resources you may want to offer include:
- Miscarriage support groups, whether they’re online or in-person
- Books on miscarriage or loss
- Comforting songs or poems
- Referrals to reproductive loss professionals like a therapist or full-spectrum doula
4. Take care of the little things
One of the best ways you can comfort your loved one isn’t by finding the right words to say, but by taking action. When you’re in the middle of grief, even the smallest things like doing the dishes and getting groceries can feel nearly impossible. That’s where you come in.
Bring your loved one some comfort by helping to lighten their load so that they can focus on themselves. It’s helpful to just take the initiative instead of asking them what they need. Sometimes it can be hard to ask for help or say what they need if you leave it open-ended. Instead, you can say to them “I’d love to bring you dinner, when is a good time to do that?” or “I’m running by the grocery store, what can I pick up for you?”
5. Offer distractions
While it is important to feel your feelings and lean into them when you’re healing from a difficult experience like a miscarriage – sometimes we need a little distraction. You may be able to help your loved one feel a little better by bringing some distraction into their life.
A distraction isn’t necessarily trying to get them to forget about what they’re going through or brush it under the rug, but to create moments for them to experience some joy and laughter in the middle of it.
Here are some distractions that you can use to help comfort your loved one:
- Put on or play one of their favorite songs.
- Put on their favorite funny movie/show.
- Bring up an inside joke.
Though these are small things, they make a big difference. Always follow your loved one’s lead to make sure you’re there for them in the way they need.
How to Comfort a Loved One Who Had a Miscarriage in the Past
Although people often brush it under the rug or feel like they should be over it, the pain and grief from a miscarriage can last long after everyone else has forgotten.
Your loved one may still need comfort, even if it’s been a while since their miscarriage.
Here are some ways you can comfort them:
6. Offer to plan something on difficult days
Certain days, like the anniversary of their miscarriage, their original due date, or Mother’s or Father’s Day, can be especially triggering.
They may want to isolate themselves on these days, and that’s OK.
Before they do, you can try offering to plan something, even if it’s a simple outing, to help commemorate their loss or just distract them on these hard days.
You can offer to take them to a movie, out to eat, for a day trip somewhere, or something else that you know would bring them joy.
7. Leave the conversation open
Your loved one might feel guilty or like they’re burdening people for bringing up their feelings around a miscarriage, especially if it’s happened in the past.
Make it clear to them that they can talk about it whenever they want to. There’s no right or wrong amount of time for when they should be over it, and you will always be a source of comfort for them.
If you notice that they might be triggered or that intense feelings may be coming up, you can ask them how they’re doing, and if they want to talk about it.
It may feel like you’re treading tricky territory of wanting them to know they can always talk about it, but also not wanting to bring it up at a bad time. There’s no easy answer to this, but you’ll know when the right time is to bring something up or offer yourself as a support system.
8. Help them share their story
It can be so hard to talk about a miscarriage right after it happened. After some time, it usually gets easier and easier. You can help to comfort a loved one who has had a miscarriage in the past by helping them to share their story.
Storytelling is one of the most powerful medicines out there whether you’re hearing the story or telling it. It may be time for your loved one to tell their story so that they can help heal themselves and others.
Here are some ways you can help them do that:
- Help them start a blog.
- Be a listening ear.
- Share these miscarriage forums for them to tell their story.
- Encourage them to talk about how they feel on a site like Miscarriage Hurts, an online platform for sharing miscarriage experiences.
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9. Bring joy into their life
There’s no timeline for grief. Your loved one might have ebbs and flows of grief coming up, even if it’s been quite some time since their miscarriage. One of the best medicines is joy. It’s also one of the easiest ways you can help to comfort your loved one.
There are so many ways to help cheer someone up. You know your loved one best, what brings them joy? Is it being outside? Laughing with the people they love? Eating their favorite foods? Doing something creative? Help comfort them by being a positive force in a difficult moment.
The goal isn’t to make them forget about whatever they’re feeling. In reality, they probably can’t. Instead, focus on breaking up the heaviness so that they can feel a bit brighter.
What to Say to Someone Who Had a Miscarriage
When someone is going through it, especially after something like a miscarriage, even just a few words can change things around.
Your language has the power to help your loved one feel comforted and supported.
Here are some things to say to them:
10. “I’m always here for you.”
Just letting someone know that you’re there for them can make a huge difference. Knowing this can help them take a deep breath and know that they have people looking out for them.
Your loved one might feel guilty reaching out too much, and you also don’t want to overwhelm them. Find a healthy balance and let them know that you’re there when you need them.
You can also show them that you’re there for them with your actions like:
- Ordering them take-out or groceries
- Offering to tidy up their home
- Taking care of a couple of their errands
- Inviting them to an easy, nourishing activity like a walk or sitting in the park
11. “You’re not alone.”
One of the most common feelings that people experience after having a miscarriage is loneliness.
They might feel like they’re the only one that this happens to, or that they don’t want to burden people with their grief and feelings.
Sometimes they just need to hear that they’re not alone. Those three words can create a sort of container around them when they might feel like they’re flailing without something to hold on to.
They need someone to tell them that they’re not alone in their experience, that they have people who have been through the same thing, and people who are there for them.
This gives them one of the most fundamental pieces to healing—the feeling of being held. That’s true comfort.
12. “There’s no wrong way to grieve.”
Your loved one might feel like they should be on a certain timeline when it comes to healing emotionally from their miscarriage.
They might feel like they’re behind, or that they should be over it, or feel “normal” already.
Reassure them that they are allowed to grieve in any way that feels right for them, that there’s no timeline for grieving, and that they are the only ones who can decide what grieving looks like for them.
13. “It’s okay to rest.”
Grief can be heavy and exhausting. It may be difficult for your loved one to take the time they need to rest. They might feel guilty like they should be doing more, or just aren’t used to taking time to rest.
Remind them that it’s okay to rest whatever that means for them, to take time to themself, and to say no to things right now. Still, some things have to get done, you can help them rest by lightening their load a bit. This could mean helping out with chores around the house, school pickups, errands, or creating a meal train.
14. “Whatever you’re feeling is normal and okay.”
After a miscarriage, it’s normal to feel a whole range of emotions including grief, sadness, anxiety, guilt, relief, worry, and everything in between and outside of these emotions. Your loved one might very well be riding this wave of emotions.
On top of all these emotions, they might also feel an added layer of guilt for feeling them. That they’re not healing as fast as they should, or that they should be feeling a different way. You can help comfort them by reassuring them that whatever they’re feeling is totally normal and that it’s normal to swing from one emotion to the next. When they’re riding a difficult wave of emotions, they might just need to hear this and have a nice grounding hug.
What NOT to Say to Someone Who Had a Miscarriage
Your loved one is feeling especially tender right now and may be extra sensitive to words. While you might not know the exact right thing to say, there are certainly things you should avoid saying.
Here are a few of those phrases:
1. “You can always have another baby.”
You don’t know this. No one does.
Although having a miscarriage certainly doesn’t mean someone won’t be able to have a baby in the future, there’s no way of knowing for sure except waiting to see what happens.
They may have underlying health or genetic issues that would keep them from having another baby, or they might not want to for whatever reason.
Right now ,they need help focusing on their healing and just getting through the day-to-day, not thinking about what-ifs in the future.
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2. “Everything happens for a reason.”
Maybe it does, and maybe it doesn’t. Either way, this probably doesn’t help for your loved one to hear while they’re in the middle of grieving.
This saying goes along with a certain way of life or belief system. If it resonates with your loved one, then they may say it themselves. Or if they’re religious, they may say something along the same lines, like, “This was God’s plan.”
The point is, unless your loved one already uses language like this, it’s not for you to tell them.
Loss happens, and phrases like this are sometimes only triggering or harmful, even if you have the best of intentions.
3. Don’t comment on their body
It might be tempting to comment on their body to help lift their spirits.
Saying things like, “You look so good, though!” or “I can’t even tell you were pregnant,” can be incredibly harmful and triggering to your loved one.
Most likely, they want to still be pregnant, and hearing this is just a reminder that they aren’t anymore. A reminder that they certainly didn’t need.
Not only that, but discussing body image is only a distraction when you could be using your time to say valuable and comforting things, like some of the ideas we mentioned earlier.
When in doubt, stay away from body image comments, and speak from the heart instead.4
18. “At least you’re still healthy.”
This may seem like a comforting thing to say to your loved one, but it might not be helpful for them to hear at the moment. True, it might be a blessing that they’re “healthy”, but they’re still going through unimaginable grief and their health might feel irrelevant at the moment.
Being in “good health” doesn’t bring their baby back. Also, “healthy” is a spectrum. They might have other things going on that you don’t know about or that may have contributed to their miscarriage. Don’t take it personally if they don’t disclose this information to you, just let them tell you what they’re comfortable with.
When in doubt, avoid “At least” statements, and if you’re unsure about whether or not to say something, err on the side of caution and don’t say it unless they bring it up first.
19. “I understand what you’re going through.”
Even if you have experienced a miscarriage yourself, you don’t know exactly what your loved one is going through. Everyone experiences things differently, and their experience is not the same as yours.
Going through a miscarriage can feel incredibly isolating. While it’s important to help your loved one feel less alone during this time, it’s not usually helpful to equate your experience or feelings to theirs.
Instead of this, you could say something like:
- “I’m so sorry you’re facing this right now.”
- “I don’t know how you feel, but I’m here to support you.”
- “This sounds really hard. What can I do to support you?”
Frequently Asked Questions: Comforting a Loved One Who Had a Miscarriage
Comforting a loved one who has had a miscarriage can be tricky. You want to support them in whatever way you can, but you don’t want to trigger them or say the wrong thing. It doesn’t help to walk on eggshells either as they can sense that. Instead, what they need is support and kind words that come straight from the heart.
If you’re wondering what the right thing to do is when comforting a loved one who has had a miscarriage, we’re here to help. Here are some frequently asked questions that come up when supporting a loved one through a miscarriage.
What if your loved one doesn’t want to discuss their miscarriage?
If your loved one doesn’t want to discuss their miscarriage, it’s not on you to push them to do so. They might need time to process, or it might be too tender at the moment.
Also, keep in mind to not take it personally if they don’t want to discuss it with you in particular. It might feel frustrating if they’re talking about it with someone else, but you’re not entitled to their feelings or space, especially during this sensitive time.
If they don’t want to talk about it, respect their space, find other ways to support them, and say something simple like, “I’m here to talk about it whenever you’re ready.”
How can you support a close family member through a miscarriage?
It can be so heartbreaking to watch a close family member go through a miscarriage. You might feel like you just want to “fix the problem,” but that’s not possible. This is for them to go through, but it can be a little easier with their loved ones supporting them.
Here are some ways to support a close family member through miscarriage:
- Say the right things. If you’re wondering what to say and what not to say, take a peek at the above section in this article.
- Bring them comfort food. Never underestimate the power of a fresh-baked cookie!
- Respect their boundaries. It’s not because they don’t love you, they just might need to set boundaries for their own self-preservation.
How can you support a coworker through a miscarriage?
There are a lot of variables when it comes to supporting a coworker through a miscarriage. What support you offer depends on your company culture, how close you are with your coworker, and what their comfort level and boundaries are.
After reflecting on the above factors, you can use these tools to help support your coworker:
- Lighten their workload. If there are some tasks you can take off their hands or help them delegate, that’s a great action step to provide support, especially if they’re not able to take any time off.
- Respect their privacy. Let them know that you’re here to support them if they ever want to talk about it or even just have a hug, but understand that they might not want to, especially in the workplace.
- Help defend them against nosy coworkers. If there are nosy coworkers that are gossiping in the breakroom or are prying into your coworker's life, then do your best to shoot down these unsolicited comments so that they don’t have to.
What’s an appropriate gift to give a loved one after a miscarriage?
If you’re wanting to give a gift to your loved one who has had a miscarriage, you might be wondering what an appropriate one to give is. A possible gift is some sort of miscarriage keepsake like a piece of jewelry or a memorial stone. Know that your loved one might not want a reminder of their miscarriage.
In that case, here are a few other gift ideas:
- Create a meal train so that they don’t have to think about feeding themself for a bit.
- A very low-maintenance plant.
- A house cleaner. Cleaning may be the last thing on their mind right now, but it’s so helpful to have a clean home.
Comforting a Loved One After a Miscarriage: What to Remember
Remember that you might not get everything perfect, and frankly, there’s no such thing.
What matters is that you’re there for your loved one during a difficult period of their life. Miscarriages can be heartbreaking, and your loved one needs all the support they can get right now.
Every little thing you do to try and comfort them makes a difference. Approach each moment with compassion and an understanding of what their current needs are.
So remember, be there for them, let them know they’re not alone, and comfort them in whatever way they need.
- Dugas, Carla, and Valori H Slane. “Miscarriage.” Stat Pearls Publishing, 29 January 2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.