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
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
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:
1. 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.
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2. 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.
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:
1. “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
2. “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.
3. “There’s no right 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.
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.
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.
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.