When someone you love, such as a friend, family member, or colleague, experiences a pregnancy loss, it can be hard to find words of support. You might worry about saying the wrong thing or think it’s better to say nothing at all. Agni’s Director of Marketing and resident Health Coach, Elisa Henry Morton, shares 7 tips for supporting a loved one navigating pregnancy loss.
Regardless of how far along they were in their pregnancy, a loss is a loss which, is why it’s important to acknowledge their loss and their baby. It can be difficult to find the right words or worry you’ll say the wrong thing, instead tell them that you’re sorry for their loss in a way that feels most authentic to your relationship. If they had a name picked for their baby, make an effort to refer to the baby by their name, and/or gender.
Resist the urge to offer unsolicited advice, or compare their loss to another person’s loss. Instead, be a safe space for them to share their story, and listen to them with the intention of listening. Respect their boundaries, and do not ask for details that they are not comfortable with sharing. You do not need to fix their problems or take away their pain. Just being there for them is enough.
The gift of nourishment is always greatly appreciated. Think of a friend that recently gave birth, is recovering from surgery, or mourning the loss of a relative. Without hesitation, you would jump at the opportunity to show your love and support with a home-cooked meal. Pregnancy loss is no different. Along with emotional pain, there is also the physical recovery and trauma of miscarriage. This alone makes it difficult to have the energy to prepare a meal which is why this gesture is so incredibly thoughtful.
Life gets busy, and when it does, it’s easy to forget about our friends. After the initial shock of a death or pregnancy loss, when people flock to support their loved ones, there is often a return to normalcy in the weeks that follow. The phone stops ringing, and people stop texting as frequently. This is not deliberate but a reality of our busy and fast-paced modern world. If it’s helpful, set a reminder in your phone or calendar to prompt you to reach out to your friend and see how they’re doing in the weeks and months after their loss.
If you find it difficult to express your emotions, or are unable to communicate with them in person, send them a card. This long-forgotten gesture is a beautiful way for you to pause before saying anything you might later regret and to articulate exactly what you want to say to them. Even if you don’t have the exact words it can be as simple as saying, “I’m sorry for your loss and am thinking of you during this time”.
Whether it’s an anniversary of a due date, or the birth of a baby born sleeping, this date is a significant event in your loved one’s life and should be remembered and honored with love. Make a note to send a card or flowers to let them know that you are thinking of them and their baby.
Even if you anticipate that their answer will be no, continue to invite them and their partner to any upcoming social engagements. If it’s a child-related event, acknowledge that it may be difficult for them to attend and be understanding if they decline, especially if it’s a last-minute no-show after previously saying that they would attend.