How To Support A Friend Through A Miscarriage
In February 2020, I had a miscarriage (my story linked here), and it was easily one of the hardest things I’ve gone through in my life. Since I have shared about our story openly, I often get messages from other women asking how to support a friend through a miscarriage. It is a difficult thing to navigate, especially if you’ve never been through it yourself.
It breaks my heart that this is something I get asked so frequently, but connecting with others who have also been down that painful road and spreading awareness about pregnancy loss has been extremely healing for me.
I feel so incredibly blessed to have my rainbow baby now, and I pray that it provides some hope for anyone who is currently going through a loss. If you are struggling right now, please know that I am thinking about and praying for you — for physical & emotional healing. Check out my blog post here for more tips on dealing with grief.
October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month, so I figured it was as a good a time as any to share some of the responses I gathered from others who have had a loss.
how to support a friend through a miscarriage looks different for everyone
A few months ago, I asked my Instagram followers who have had a miscarriage what was most helpful for them when they were grieving. How did they want others to show up during that difficult time?
The tricky thing is, this looks a little bit different for everyone. So please know that there is not really one best way to support a loved one, and simply *being there* is important. Some women find it helpful and healing to talk about it openly. Others prefer not to talk about it, and just want things to feel “normal”.
For me, it was helpful to have friends continually checking in on me. I also found it helpful to talk about what happened out loud in order to truly process it. I did this with friends, family, as well as a grief counselor. For some, it takes longer to open up and talk about it, and that’s okay. Grief is so individual, and it’s usually a bit of a roller coaster.
When I had my loss, one of my best friends shared this book (below) with me that was given to her when she had a loss. We went and got our nails done together and just talked, and that was really nice. Another group of friends sent me flowers, cookies and a sweet card. Another friend brought me ice cream and sat and ate it with me while we just talked — both about the loss, but about other things too, which was a nice distraction. Someone else sent me a little self-care box of bath goodies. Having company and reminders that people were thinking of us during that time meant everything.
what to say to a friend who has miscarried + how to show up
Now here are some of the responses I collected from all of you:
- Just hearing “I’m here for you”. Grief is such a journey and sometimes you just need a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes you just need someone to distract you. You just need your people.
- Getting dinners delivered. Nice to not have to worry about the little things.
- People talking about it and not pretending it didn’t happen.
- My friend just saying how bad it sucks. I knew it wasn’t my fault and that I would be okay.
- Waiting for me to talk about it. I want to feel like things are normal. I’ll talk when I’m ready.
- People reaching out and saying they are thinking of me.
- Friends left a fully made dinner on my porch, along with a “self care” basket.
- What to Expect App – miscarriage community pages
- Just letting me know they were there to listen when I was ready to talk.
- People checking on me in the later weeks/months after it happened, not just day one.
- Accounts: @ihadamiscarriage and @the_worstgirlgang_ever and @zoeadelle
- Honestly just appreciated a card. The little things.
- Thoughtful gifts – a card, candle, wine. Nothing big. Just letting them know you are there and checking in.
- Random check in texts after initially reaching out really helped me know people still cared and wanted to support me. Also validating ANY feeling they may have.
- Sent a friend food, Etsy gift box, daily “thinking of you” texts
- Give space but also continue to check in.
- Letting them know you are there for them, even a hug goes a long way.
- Talking about my specific experience with others really helped me process it
- Checking in and acknowledging it was most helpful
- Giving me space to talk about it openly and honestly helped me process it
- Friends just being there and asking if you need to talk, cry, laugh, etc. in that moment
- Having people acknowledge the baby I lost and having something physical to remember
- A necklace with the birthstone of my baby’s due date
- Just listening and being there for support
- Call / text or visits to check in
- Favorite snacks, cozy blanket
- Someone who asked all the raw details – it felt freeing to explain ALL the pain I experienced
- Check in around their due date. That meant the most to me.
- Going back to “normal” conversations once I was done telling them about it
- Space. Time and then listening when I was ready to talk
- Asking how I’m doing especially at difficult times like due date, holidays, baby showers, etc.
- Try to plan things they find fun. I found keeping my mind off of it helped a lot. Also just listen even if they repeat the same thing over and over. We want to be heard.
- Acting normal and not being awkward talking to me about their pregnancies / new babies
- Acknowledging it
- Offer support through frequent check ins, drop off snacks, offer to watch the older kids
- I have a locket of my ultrasound from my 1st miscarriage that I had tucked away
- We had family send us a postmates gift card which was a nice gesture
- A giant hug and sob session where we didn’t even speak, they just let me grieve
- Bringing a coffee or ice cream and just talking
- Just having someone there for me. It’s such a dark, lonely and upsetting time
- Checking in weekly with your friend
- Best response – I’m sorry, this really sucks.
- Being treated like normal. Not having people walk around on eggshells.
- Friends letting me talk about it as much as I needed to heal
- Talking to people who had gone through the same thing, especially if they have a rainbow baby now.
- People asking me about it, especially weeks or months after
- A book on miscarriage and friends actually asking about how I was doing
- The best thing someone said to me was “say it all”.
- Permission to feel what I felt was important. The good, the bad, the ugly.
- Not trying to make it better; just be there.
- Had a friend bring me goodies after the mc and on Mother’s Day which meant so much
- No unsolicited advice, just a listening ear
- Just sitting with me in my grief instead of trying to make it better. It’s okay to be sad!
- Little gifts on my porch to brighten my dark days
- My blog (thank you!!! Linked again here.)
- Would rather just talk to my husband about it and let me friends wait until I bring it up
- Drop any expectations of how you think they “should” grieve
- Talking with someone else who has gone through it
- Small gifts (flowers, candle, books) – we lost something we expected to hold, tangible things were nice.
- Once the time is right: little gifts with rainbows, notebook, keychain, etc. to remember baby
- My friend took me out for a day and just acted normal and let me feel normal. She made sure we had a quiet place and that’s when I felt okay to talk. She let it be natural and at my pace.
- People asking how you are doing instead of ignoring it.
- When people DON’T talk about it, it feels very isolating
- Loved hearing from women who had experienced the same pain. It’s nice to know you are not alone.
- If they want to talk about it, let them! Embrace the sadness, don’t avoid it.
- Knowing I had people to talk to, ask questions or just cry
- People validating my feelings and the cards we received meant so much
- Nothing can change it. Just be there and try to do things with them to take their mind off of it.
- Flowers or a small gift helped. Just something to say I’m here for you.
- My sister had a mc last year and she wanted to talk openly about it but struggled with it. She said it was very hard to communicate what she wanted and when at the time.
- Just be there for your friend. Don’t say anything. Let them handle how they want. I felt very rushed to move on from my MCs with most people, but my husband let me deal/grieve
- Random food drop offs and someone checking in made me feel less alone
- Bringing a meal and sitting in the pain with me
- Podcasts: Managing Miscarriage and It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way by Lysa Terkeurst
- LISTEN FIRST
- People just saying “that totally sucks” was helpful instead of trying to sugarcoat things
- “I’m here if you need to talk and will happily sit next to you in silence if you need that, too”
- Friend bringing meal or dessert, family calling to check in, receiving flowers or a card, reading book or talking to friends who went through a mc
- People asking me about it and honoring my grief, bringing meals after D&C
- A friend that listened and hugged me and stayed away from all platitudes. “I’m sorry” is enough
- My parents took care of my 4 year old while I healed
- Recognizing the loss as a true loss by sending flowers and a card
- An ear to listen even though you might not understand
- Check ins. As time passses, people forget / assume you’re better but usually not the case
- Remembering the birth month and acknowledging their loss
- Hearing other people’s stories
- People asking how I’m doing so I didn’t feel like a burden bringing it up even though it’s all I thought about
what not to say to a friend who has miscarried
These were also responses I collected from my Instagram followers, but I agree with most of them.
- Anything starting with “at least”, for example: “at least it happened early”, “at least you know you can get pregnant”, “at least you’re young and still have plenty of time”
- One thing I wish people wouldn’t say is repeatedly saying they are sorry
- Don’t TELL them how to feel. Just listen and support how they are feeling in that moment. And keep in mind that how they feel may change often
- Do not say “everything happens for a reason” or anything else close to that
- NOT saying “this was God’s plan” or “you’ll have another one”
- Do NOT ask “what did you do?” or anything to imply it was their fault or “you can try again”
- “God’s timing is always right” really stinks to hear. Even if it’s true, just LISTEN and be there.
Things I did for myself during my miscarriage:
These were things that my community said they did for themselves to process.
- Saw a grief counselor / therapist
- Processed pregnancy announcements in private
- Find yourself a safe space to cry and go there whenever you need to
- Cuddling with my dogs and crying with them
- Talking about it and finding community
- Going on walks, moving my body
- Writing down the memories, the story, how I felt, prayers
- Reaching out to friends when I was ready, doing things for myself / self-care
- Submitting our name to be placed on a wall of prayers at church
- Reading blogs of other women who experienced miscarriage
- I cried almost every time I talked about it, but I learned it’s okay to cry
I hope this post helps give you some good ideas of how to support a friend through a miscarriage, or how to ask others for help if you have had a loss yourself. The truth is, going through a loss just absolutely sucks, no matter what. But if you are someone who is looking to love on someone going through it, then you are already an amazing friend, and they are lucky to have you in their lives. Keep checking in. Keep showing up.
Thanks for reading,
I love this post so much. Another surprisingly harmful comment, as well intended as it may be, is when people try to comfort you by telling you about the people they knew who got pregnant immediately after a miscarriage. It makes it feel like your body is wrong if/when you don’t get pregnant quickly after, or as if it’s okay to miscarry as long as you can get pregnant again.
Thank you so much – I’m so glad you found this post helpful. And I completely agree with that. It is already such a hard season and it’s impossible NOT to compare to other women’s experiences, so hearing that can be extremely unhelpful. I should add that to the list. <3