It’s true what they say—sometimes, there are no words. When I experienced a miscarriage, there was nothing anyone could say to make me feel better. “I’m so sorry” made me feel like I had to respond with “It’s okay,” when it wasn’t. “At least it happened early on” or “you’ll get pregnant again” made me resentful, like they were missing the point entirely—I didn’t want another pregnancy, I wanted the one that had been taken away. I felt lost at sea, adrift in the middle of an awful experience, and words couldn’t double as a lifeline or miscarriage support.
Luckily, there are many people in my life who didn’t rely on words alone. It was their actions, big and small, that actually did help me feel better. If someone in your life has experienced a miscarriage, here are a few things you can do to make them feel seen and understood—as taught to me by my family and friends.
Be there in person.
When my mom found out about our miscarriage, she immediately hopped on a flight from Calgary to Toronto. She stayed for the week, helping with our daughter, cooking meals, cleaning, and giving my husband and I time to rest and recover. We would have never asked, but my mom sensed that we needed her, and she was there for us in a way that truly made a difference.
If you aren’t able to make it, send a proxy.
My sister, who couldn’t come to town, sent a stuffed animal in her place. In an accompanying card, she explained that during her own miscarriage, she was sent a stuffed deer named Ferguson who had given her comfort during recovery. I’m Ferguson’s third owner, and he’ll move on to the next woman when the time comes. This simple gift made me feel connected to other women who had experienced the same loss. Ferguson was a reminder that, someday soon, I was going to be alright.
Offer to lend a hand—and mean it.
“Let us know if there’s anything we can do” is something we heard over and over again. But that offer puts the onus on those who experienced the loss to reach out and ask for help. Instead, one friend suggested they babysit and encouraged us to choose a date; another came over and cooked us dinner; our neighbour offered to walk our dog. These simple acts of service shortened our to-do list and made us feel loved and supported.
A few friends pooled their funds and gave me a spa gift card. It was completely unexpected and allowed me to take some time for myself—something I may not have otherwise done. I also appreciated invitations to check out a yoga class, go for a walk, or grab a coffee. Anything that got me out of the house made me feel closer to normal.
Keep checking in.
We initially got a lot of support, but I really appreciated the family and friends who kept checking in week after week. It wasn’t their words so much as the intention behind them that made me feel continually seen. It confirmed that my loved ones weren’t expecting me to just forget what had happened, and they weren’t going to either.
Share your experience.
I personally know six women who have experienced miscarriages. One of my friend’s experience was similar to my own, so when I had to choose between taking misoprostol pills or booking a surgical procedure called a D&C, I knew who to call. She was open and honest, offering a ton of important information and emotional support.
Because so many women in my life have spoken openly about their past miscarriages, I knew I wasn’t alone when it happened to me. Continuing to break down the stigma benefits everyone, including those who have lost a pregnancy in the past, and those who will experience a loss in the future.