How to Help Your Family and Friends Cope With Pregnancy Loss

help friends and family cope with pregnancy loss

With any pregnancy loss even the closest of friends and family can struggle to know what to say and know whether to bring up what has happened or not.

Good Intentions, Kind Thoughts, Poor Words

Because of their lack of understanding, we are often forced to listen to well-meaning (but unwanted) advice and encouragement like:

“At least it was early before you got too attached.”

“At least you know you can get pregnant.”

“You can try again soon.”

“At least you already have one at home.”

“It was nature’s way.”

“It happens a lot.”

The comments may come with good intentions, but they do nothing to validate the grief we feel. There is rarely any acknowledgement of what is now gone – a precious and much wanted baby.

Respond to the Spirit of the Words

It would be remiss not to acknowledge that many friends and family members respond in a way that leaves us feeling loved and truly respected.

Plenty of people have shared with me the amazing support and kindness that they have received from loved ones, and even from those they didn’t imagine would provide that level of care and support.

Support Can Come From Unexpected Places

In the darkest times we can be uplifted by the person we least expected and this in a way rebuilds our faith in the human spirit.

Your Grief and Healing Follows Your Timetable

As time passes there is often an expectation from others that our grief and sadness will too.

This isn’t always the case.

Grief comes in its own time and way for everyone.

The worst part of grief is that we often can’t control it.

The best we can do is to let ourselves feel it and let it go when we can.

We must do this with the knowledge that the very minute we think we are okay, it will rear its head again and take our breath away.

Be True to Yourself and Your Healing

Those around us can become less tolerant and forgiving as time passes and sometimes the responses we expect from people change. What was once support can become impatience and a lack of sensitivity as time goes by.

The best we can do is be honest with ourselves and others and continue to be true to our feelings.

“She should really be over that by now” is a common opinion expressed by those who are bewildered by the complexity of our grief.

What they may not understand is that there is no set time to get to a certain place in our journey. Grief may be a thing we all have in common, but it looks different for each of us.

Responding to “Insensitive” Comments: Ignore or Express

When a friend or family member says or does something that is unwelcome, we have a choice:

We can either allow the moment to pass without addressing the point of difference or we can express how we feel.

Ignoring Unwelcome Comments: Risks Rupture of Relationship

One of these actions will almost always result in rupture. If we choose not to share how we feel either immediately or soon afterward, the resentment and frustration will begin to undermine the stability and trust that previously existed.

It may seem unreasonable to be expected to repair a damaged bond when we are feeling so consumed in our own pain.

Responding to Unwelcome Comments: Sharing Strengthens Relationships and Understanding

The obvious way to avoid this is to not allow the relationship to rupture in the first place, which means we must be honest about any reactions we have to anything that is said and done.

If a friend passes one of the standard comments in their attempts to console us, it may be best to express that we know they are trying to help but that type of comment isn’t something we can relate to.

It would be helpful to them if we share how we are feeling and what type of support would work for us.

This may be challenging to put into words, but if we don’t then we are simply leaving them in a struggle to find the ‘right’ things to say and we’ll inevitably feel hurt when they get it wrong.

If the relationship is important enough to us, we can have this conversation at any point, even months after the event.

It may come as a surprise to our friend, but if we give it context by explaining that we are doing it because we care and we want to have a good relationship without resentment, it may be very well received.

Foster and Protect Relationships

It is important to acknowledge that while we may be going through a difficult time, experiencing loss (or any kind of challenging experience) doesn’t absolve us of our responsibility to foster our relationships.

Take care until next time



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