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The Do’s and Don’ts of Pregnancy Loss Etiquette

How to be supportive while avoiding a faux pas.

Key points

  • Key tips on how to support those who have lost.

Ten to twenty percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage (Mayo Clinic, 2019). If approximately one million expectant parents per year experience a loss, why do so many people struggle on how to act towards them? Most people are well intended and want to be supportive, but have no idea how to go there and there are plenty of heartbroken parents with war stories of post-miscarriage social awkwardness.

A loss is a loss and can happen at any pregnancy stage for any reason. Unfortunately, a positive pregnancy test does not guarantee a healthy baby. The nature of the loss is nobody’s business. Parents are entitled to feel whatever they feel, so here are some dos and don’ts on how to support them at this stage:

DO

  • Realize they might be in a vulnerable place.
  • Show a random act of kindness to make them smile.
  • Listen if they need an ear, no matter how painful the story.
  • Respect whatever they need, whether it is space or company.
  • Let them know they are in your thoughts.
  • Say nothing if you do not know what to say.
  • Be patient when they do not seem like themselves.
  • Continue to show up for them.

DON’T

  • Mention having another baby.
  • Ask questions; they will tell you what they want you to know.
  • Flaunt babies, since it can be a painful reminder of what they lost.
  • Minimize the situation.
  • Judge if it seems like they are taking a long time to bounce back.
  • Run away from them.

Hopefully, the parents will heal their souls and will be “themselves” again. They will be in a better place and it will not be as awkward for you. All you can do is be there.

References

Mayo Clinic (2019). Miscarriage.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pregnancy-loss-miscarriage/symptoms-causes/syc-20354298

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