You likely have friends or family who have experienced a loss. Unfortunately, 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage at some point, and it can feel difficult to know what to say.
If you’re supporting someone through a pregnancy loss, you might feel at a loss for words. The bottom line is that you do not need to be poetic and say the perfect thing; try your best to be supportive and comforting.
Keep reading to learn six things to say to someone who has had a miscarriage, as shared by an OB-GYN.
What do you not say to someone who had a miscarriage?
Let’s talk first about what not to say or do. As an OB/GYN, I have heard women being told by providers and family, “at least you got pregnant.”
This statement is the worst thing you could say to someone having a miscarriage. It not only minimizes the event, but it can cause guilt, anger, and shame for their future pregnancies.
Things not to say:
- “At least you can get pregnant.”
- “You are young; you can try again.”
- “You were only XYZ weeks along.”
- “It just means it wasn’t meant to be.”
- “It means the baby wasn’t healthy enough.”
Things not to do:
- Give advice
- Ignore their need to talk
- Tell them time will heal
- Discourage them from seeking professional help
Most women experiencing a loss are seeking comfort, understanding, and answers. Of course, every woman is different, but here are some things you can say that can help.
Six things to say to someone having a miscarriage
1. “I love you.”
Letting someone know what you love them goes a long way. Many women feel broken, or their bodies let them down. They often feel unloved. So telling her she is loved by you no matter what will ease that feeling. She deserves unconditional love.
2. “It’s OK if you are not OK.”
Be aware that grief can be physical as well as emotional. Grief can appear as a poor appetite, anxiety, insomnia, abdominal pain, headaches, or fatigue. It isn’t up to you to tell her how she should feel or act after a miscarriage.
But you can remind her whatever they are feeling is okay. You can validate their feelings and let them know they can have those feelings in front of you. And it’s even okay not to be okay.
Read next: Understanding Grief After a Miscarriage or Pregnancy Loss
3. “You are not alone.”
Unfortunately, miscarriage is common. Some women experience more than one. It can be isolating, and women often feel like they are the only ones going through this grief.
Show support by encouraging her to express her feelings. If you have had a loss, you can share that with her. But be mindful the conversation is not about you.
4. “I am sorry.”
One of the best things you can do is say you are sorry. While we know this will not change the outcome, these three words validate the feelings of grief. Most people make the mistake of giving advice or opinions.
Simply saying you are sorry is more helpful than advice.
5. “I am here.”
…and show her that you’re there by listening. Women often want to talk about what happened or even tell others multiple times what happened. Some women find telling their stories to be therapeutic. Listen and be supportive.
6. “It wasn’t your fault.”
There are so many do’s and don’t around pregnancy. Women who experience a pregnancy loss often look within for the answers—feeling guilty for working out, overeating sugar, or stressing out and blaming themselves for the loss.
But a gentle reminder from you that it wasn’t her fault is essential. It may not change her mind immediately but will help her grieve.
Encourage her to take the time to care for herself and her body. Let her know it is okay to take time to grieve.
Other ways to support someone having a miscarriage
Knowing the right thing to say is extremely helpful. If you want to continue to show your support, consider the below ideas.
- Drop off a home-cooked meal
- Send a sympathy card
- Offer to do a Target run
- Send a care kit for miscarriage or stillbirth (depending on when loss occured)
- Offer to watch the older children
- Check in every few days
- Ask if the baby had a name
Final words on supporting someone through loss
It can often feel awkward or uncomfortable to say to someone experiencing a miscarriage. But ignoring the issue or being silent can be more painful than accidentally saying the wrong thing.
Try to show support, love, and empathy. Be a friend, not a cheerleader.