21 answers

Miscarriage Support Advice

Hi Ladies. I am hoping that some of you who have suffered similarly will know what I can do. My S-I-L (across the country from us) has suffered a miscarriage.
After a long struggle for a baby (multiple miscarriage after IV), they were able to adopt 2 children, then became pregnant with a third, which she delivered by C-section after some complications last summer. In December, she was unexpectedly 2 months pregnant. She has lost this baby. She did not reveal the pregnancy to us or many in the rest of the family (didn't want to deal with all the questions while struggling to digest it themselves, and worried about carrying to term). What do you suggest my husband and I do to support her? I don't want to pry or butt in, but we love them, and I'm not sure that I can pretend to not know what has happened. What do you suggest?
Thanks for any suggestions.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks ladies. I went to some of the miscarriage-grief websites and found what I think I really needed to know. It's not the loss of the pregnancy that she didn't want us to know, but after having miscarried several times before, there is a fear in letting anyone know you are pregnant. So, I am proceeding as if we knew all along... she needs to know that we recognize their loss.
Thank you ladies for being willing to open up about such painful memories.

Featured Answers

Don't do anything. I had a misccarriage a year ago and the last thing I wanted to do was talk about it and be reminded. Let her grieve on her own.

Just do something nice for her, send her a present or something if she's far away, and write a note like, "Random kindness for no good reason, to a great person" She may get the idea you know, but won't feel obligated to talk about it unless she wants to.

More Answers

I just read a great article in a parents mag, can't remember if it was Cookie or Parents or Wondertime... I want to say it was last month's issue of Cookie. This was written by a woman who had suffered miscarriage and told everyone to acknowledge the loss, just as you would another death in the family (except without flowers, etc.)... b/c even if the SIL did not share this with everyone, she knows you all know now. And to ignore it, even if you believe in your heart that you're doing her a favor by not highlighting the pain, the pain is there anyway. Nothing will take that away, but acknowledgment of her struggle, her pain and their loss is what they need. There are no perfect words or ways to do that. Just be real, be genuine and be THERE for them. That's all we can do. Whatever you do, if you have not had a miscarriage, do not say that you know how she feels... you cannot. Also, do not bother with platititudes about how it "must be for the best." She can't see that right now. If she is a Christian, you can give her the comfort that this is God's plan, all for good, even though the circumstances are painful. But that's up to you. Again, just be real.

My sister had 3 before she finally conceived her daughter and honestly, sometimes, I just let her cry, scream or do nothing. Sometimes, you just have to hold them and give them the opportunity to do what THEY need to do to deal with their grief. It's not about us but it's normal to feel awkward.

GOod luck!

2 moms found this helpful

if she didn't reveal the pregnancy to you, how do you know about it? I have suffered miscarriage too and the pain is so real....one of the hardest parts is that people have the attitude that this child did not exist yet and so they minimize the loss. I even lost a twin at birth, and you would be surprised how many people ask "well, did the baby die before birth or after?"....like the location makes a difference. In or out of the womb, my babies were still people! In a way it hurts more because society discounts them.

In your SIL's case, however....if she did not reveal the pregnancy to you, but you found out anyway, I would continue to pretend you know nothing. Otherwise you will betray the confidence of the person who told you! This can do real damage to their relationship, causing trust issues. Why go there?

If you want to help her, talk in general about the value of life, and how precious our babies are from the very beginning. That will help validate her loss.

K. G.

1 mom found this helpful

Dear V.,
Your love for your S-I-L is beautiful. It can be difficult to sit back and watch someone live with pain and hurt, but you are exactly where she needs you to be right now. At this point in time its about her needs. When we watch someone in pain, and we love them, we feel the need to take away their pain. She will reach out when and if she needs to. She is doing what she needs to right now. I experienced 3 miscarriages and a pre-term labor where my son did not survive. I kept to myself at times, and when I could cope, I reached out. All you can do is wait for her to need to be near you and your husband. Its ok to let her know that you know, she will connect when she feels ready. The time will come, but for now be patient and pray for her strength.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi V.,

I agree with Kimberly 100%. When I lost my twins I was devastated and it comforted me to know that people were thinking of us and praying for us but words, just for word's sake, does nothing. I know that this is not something she wants to discuss or keep rehashing. A note, some flowers and you're sincere words of comfort and care is plenty right now. An offering of an ear if she ever needs it will comfort her as well.

God bless you!


1 mom found this helpful

Hello V.,
My own history includes a miscarriage after 3 months; it was called a blighted ovum. Then I lost a daughter in my 7th month of pregnancy due to an umbilical cord twisting. She was fully developed. I was so ill from side effects of the induced labor that I got out of the hospital one hour before her funeral. So I do know how you feel, and how she feels. I did have two sons after those, for which I am grateful.

You are not butting in. God bless you for thinking about her! First of all, an appropriate sympathy card sent via regular mail would be great. That helped me tremendously. You could e-mail her, or write in the card via regular mail, that you are sorry for their loss. Ask her if there is anything you could do for her. Offer your thoughts and prayers. She may say no to any kind of help, but at least you have asked.

Here are two sites for support. The second one may offer you some more advice on what to say. She may or may not be receptive to these click-ons you could provide (copy from below). Check them out yourself. There are many support groups online now. I did not have those when I was pregnant.




1 mom found this helpful

I on the other hand is that mom who has had 2 still births one at 21 weeks and one at my 23rd week. Thats rough but life. I have also had 4 miscarraiges in my first trimester. I didnt tell any one either of the pregnancies until after the 3rd month. My wonderful doctor told me that believe it or not the odds of carrying a child was less than having a miscarriage. I do have 4 wonderful children and if money was endless I would keep having them till I couldnt. I am thankful for my losses, they could have been something wrong. Even the stillbirths, where there were no signs of any problems, something was wrong. I am a very healthy person!
I wouldnt have wanted to here about my losses anymore than what was already planted in my mind.
Maybe I am harsh but I am all about getting over it and going on. Everything happens for a reason and I think if people went on about it I would have lost it.
Quiet time is all I needed.
Make your decision on her personality and she will let you know if she needs to talk, it will just come out.

Just do something nice for her, send her a present or something if she's far away, and write a note like, "Random kindness for no good reason, to a great person" She may get the idea you know, but won't feel obligated to talk about it unless she wants to.

MPO: I would just say that you are opened to talk with her if she needs it and leave it at that. I have been through three miscarriages myself, but we have two beautiful kids out of those complications. If you bring it up more than once -- you could open that wound over and over again for her. I think having a miscarriage that early in pregnancy is better than later in pregnancy. It's easier to handle mentally (though it still hurts) and physically. I can totally understand your concern of her situation. After you let her know that she can talk with you anytime about sensitive subjects, you need to not bring up the subject again.

Good luck!

So sorry about your SIL. I lost my baby girl at birth - looked so beautiful, but she didn't breathe because she was in the birth canal too long. That was in 1970, before medical knowledge was what it is today. The most supportive way to help is to send "thinking of you" cards - send them like every week for a few times. No need to pry - she doesn't want to talk about it. Just let her know that you love her and are there for her. Pansy

Hi Victoria,

I would like to say to you that you're on the right track regarding your heart for your SIL, but regarding her circumstance I can tell you from experience that when it comes to dealing with certain things the family is not always going to understand. I mean that in a good way because everyone is not on the same level. I'd like to encourage you to take your request for her and her family to God and just pray for them. Ask God to reveal to you whether or not you should go to her and when, and if He sends you, what to say. We have to understand and be so careful especially as women to remember that time and space are a needed and reccomended cure in most cases. I'd like to also commend you on how you shared this delicate story because it takes a lot of integrity to be apart of people's lives as inspirations and encouragers especally those who are hurting. Also, I encourage you to use wisdom with who it is you should share your decision with concerning What god leads you to do.

Keep trusting Victoria,and remember to pray.

First of all, it's great that you are asking for advice instead of just doing what you think is right. I lost my first pregnancy this past summer on my twelth week. Everyone was so supportive b/c, unlike your SIL, I did tell everyone about my pregnancy. The one thing I did for myself was to buy a special piece of jewelry to always remind me of my child. I got an angel charm that I wear on a chain. It doesn't have to be jewelry. It could be something subtle that maybe only she will know what it means. It helps me a lot to have something tangible that reminds me everyday of my child. I don't know if this will help your SIL but, I know that it helps me.

She's been through this before, so please, honor her wishes. If she doesn't want anyone to know, then pretend you don't. Coming from someone who knows - when life is emotionally charged sometimes the LAST thing you need or want is someone else to explain it to or have to keep updated or explain your feelings to. Peoples "support" can be overwhelming too. If she wants to talk, I'm sure you've made it known that you're available. If she doesn't approach you and raise the subject, then don't cross the boundaries she has obviously set up.

Dear V.,

Having suffered the loss of three pregnancies myself I hope you will give my advice some consideration. LEAVE THE SUBJECT ALONE. If your SIL chose to keep her pregnancy private, and her miscarriage private, please respect that and allow her to grieve/deal with it in private. If and when she chooses to share the news, that would be the time to offer condolences, and not one moment before. Should she choose to never discuss it with you, please respect her.

When you say you are not sure if you can pretend not to know what happened, ask yourself who you are trying to comfort; you or her. She has made her choice clear by not divulging this information. Your knowledge of this information clearly indicates someone violated her trust. You could be adding to her distress by heaping more onto her. If you broach the subject she will know someone she trusted broke her confidence, she will have to respond to you when perhaps she is not ready, and she will probably feel the need to reciprocate some emotion she just may not be up to yet. We all handle grief in different ways, please allow your SIL to handle hers as she sees fit.

Best wishes to you and all your family.

Because she has chosen to be private about it I would simply send her a sympathy card. This will let her know you care and love her, but give her the privacy she desires. Make sure you put in the card that you are there for her if she wants to talk. That way it is her option to talk to you or leave it alone.

Hey V.,
I had 7 misscarriages before we got our 2 miracles. I thought for years I would be the best Aunt in the world. You never get over it. I did have a friend tell me that even unborn babies go to heaven. My hope is one day I'll be reunited from the 7 I miss so much.
Just let her know how much you love her. Check on her often with loving positive words. Let her grieve, grieve with her. With the children she has now, I'm sure she'll "bounce back" soon. I sure don't miss a day of appreciating my boys.
All my best,

Don't do anything. I had a misccarriage a year ago and the last thing I wanted to do was talk about it and be reminded. Let her grieve on her own.

Hi, V.. It sounds like your s-i-l isn't ready to talk about the miscarriage with you yet. It's really important to respect her space. She doesn't want to deal with the questions, I'm sure, and to relive the event, but she also probably doesn't want anyone feeling sorry for her.

What I would do is to let her know that you found out, and that you care, and that you're there for her if she wants to talk about it, and if she doesn't want to talk about it, you're there for her anyway.

I remember going through a horrible time in my life where all anyone would talk about was the horrible things that I was going through. I was divorced, estranged from my entire family, my son was ill and had to be hospitalized for a long time, and I was seeing a psychologist. So all I did all day and part of the night was deal with my son's illness. I realized that I needed some space from it. Unfortunately, the hardest thing was for other people to stop talking about the horrible problem. Everyone wanted to help me, but what I needed was a few hours a week doing something else. People were trying to help me too much. Even new friends I tried to make in what little spare time I had, wanted to play psychologist with me. I finally broke down and in tears just begged people to give me some space and help me get away from my problems for a while. Just give me something positive to do for a few hours so that I could relax and have some strength to face my son's illness, which also took me away from earning a decent living.

It was the hardest thing for anyone to do, but it was exactly what I needed. Maybe what your S-I-L needs is for people to remember that she is still the same great lady she was before the miscarriage, and to speak to that great lady instead of speaking to her sorrow. She might even be less upset than everyone thinks. When I got divorced, for example, I knew it was the best thing I could do for myself, to get away from a negative, emotionally abusive man who didn't love his little baby boy. I was relieved and hopeful when I left him. However, all my friends were horrified and kept insisting that I was in tremendous turmoil. One of them even stated to my face [without even talking to me about how I was feeling] that she knew for a fact that I was in a horrible state, and she was not in a position to help me or talk to me about it, and that she couldn't deal with me as a close friend anymore. How about them apples? LOL It was other people's assumptions about what I needed that finally threw me into a deep depression.

So...my advice for someone who has had heartache with her son...find out IF she needs anything, and if she does, find out what it is. Don't let other people tell you what she needs. If you can be there for her, do what you can. That might be letting her know that you respect her and care for her as the beautiful soul she still is, or it may be a shoulder to cry on. It may change over time. If she does need you to help her through the crisis and the heartache, also be there for her as she heals. Don't assume that she will always be broken by it. The whole purpose of tears is to release our emotions and start to heal.

If you are a spiritual person, you might pray and ask God to show you how to be the best friend and S-I-L possible for her. If she is a spiritual person, you can offer to pray with her or be her prayer partner when she needs you to be. I personally find it to be an incredibly moving act of spiritual love when people pray with me.

I hope the whole family pulls together, and that everyone becomes closer and more loving through this happenning.


Hi V.. I lost a baby girl in 2004 -- not a miscarriage, as she was born at 24 weeks and died a week later -- but since then I have connected with many, many women who have lost babies to miscarriage or otherwise.

Truly, the best thing you can say is "I'm sorry for your loss". Many people feel they should say more and end up saying thing that are well-meaning but not helpful. Of course, you can tell her that you love her and will heep her and her family in your thoughts.

You may also want to tell her about Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support. Share is a wonderful organization and they helped me tremendously in the first few years after my loss. Their website is http://www.nationalshareoffice.com. The website has very active message boards, a weekly online chat, and many other resources online or to order by mail. There are even some local Share support groups in cities around the country.

I hope this has been helpful. It's great that you are so supportive of your SIL and that you don't dismiss miscarriage as just a part of life, instead of the terribly painful experience that it is. It is the loss of a child.

that a tough one. a friend of mine who has had a couple miscarriages told me that she really did not want to hear about how so and so also had gone through this and it happens all the time. While she knew that she wanted time to focus on her loss and not what had happened to others that made this so common. she was in pain and told me she felt people were throwing what happened to them at her constantly. people are only trying to help, I just thought hearing how she felt may give some help to you While I do think it is good to know you are not alone, I also learned that going through a loss like this you should be able to feel sorrow without everyone saying it always happens to many woman, it is a tough one because everyone is different with how they handle, with my friend I learned the best way to help her is focus on her and what she was going through and not talking about what I had gone through or someone else miscarriage. that my be helpful later but now is her time to mourn her own loss not someone else s, be there for her spend time with her ask her if she needs anything

Wow V., my heart goes out to you and your S-I-L! I would just let her know that you love her, are praying for her, and tell her if she ever needs someone, that you and your husband are there for her to do what ever you can. This way, you will not be butting in, but will give her an open door if she chooses to walk through it. If not, then I would not take it any farther than that. Everyone deals with loss in different ways and if you give an open door, she will take it if she needs it. The best thing in the world you can do for her is pray and let her know you care!

Bless you,

I've had six m/c's. There was a time when I didn't think I'd EVER have a live child. But what helped me was that it was acknowledge in some small way. Even if by card, flowers ect.... If I felt like talking about it those things helped open the door. Even someone saying "I'm sorry" with a hug helped huge. People that pretended that nothing happened KILLED me.0)

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