How To Offer Support to Someone Who Has Lost a Pregnancy or Infant

When someone you care about goes through a loss of any kind, it can be very difficult to know what to say or do to show your love and support. For those who’ve lost a child, whether through miscarriage, stillbirth, labor complications, or during infancy, the pain and enormity of this loss are often unimaginable.

One of the hardest parts of losing a child is how isolating the experience can be. Many find themselves unable to find commonality with those around them after going through something so difficult. As a friend or family member of someone who has lost a child, you may feel that you’re out of your depth, concerned that your well-intentioned words and actions might accidentally make the situation more painful.

Even though pregnancy and child loss are both relatively common, no one is ever fully prepared to know what to say when it happens. We wanted to offer some thoughts on how anyone can provide support to a grieving family during an especially trying time.

Be Present By Showing Up

When someone loses a pregnancy or child, one of the things they often need from others is for their loved ones to be present. Sometimes this means simply holding someone’s hand while sitting together quietly, listening to them vent, holding them when they cry, or even watching a movie together on a video call. All of these actions may seem small on the surface, but it’s these tiny moments that often bring great comfort to others. Whether you’re able to show up for your loved one in person, by phone, or through emails and letters, just being there and being present can often be enough to make things a little easier.

Be Consistent Over Time

When someone loses a pregnancy or child, it’s not unusual for there to be an initial outpouring of love and support that gradually lessens as time goes on. After a few months, the emotions and grief they experience are still very much part of their daily lives, but they may now feel like everyone else has forgotten or moved on. Being consistent with your support can help make the transition from loss to recovery easier. This can be as simple as checking in on a regular basis; for example, even a brief note or text saying, “Thinking of you today, please let me know if you’d like to talk at all” can mean a great deal.

Remember Important Dates

The anniversary of a miscarriage or child loss, as well as the anniversary of the baby’s intended due date, are both painfully heartbreaking days for families who have gone through such an experience. Mark these dates on a private calendar or set a reminder so that you can remember to be extra sensitive to your loved ones around these days. Sending them a note or text that you’re thinking about them and would be happy to meet up or chat can go a long way in making someone feel even a little better. Ultimately, anyone who is hoping to be the best possible source of support they can be is someone who will be a great friend or family member to rely on.

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