How can I help a friend who's had a miscarriage? Pregnancy Loss

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friends hugging
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When a friend has a miscarriage, it's common to feel powerless or afraid of saying the wrong thing. But your friend needs support as she heals physically and emotionally. There are different ways you can help; consider some of these suggestions from a doctor and women who've been through it.

Remember Your Friend Is Hurting

"Miscarriages can be both emotionally and physically traumatizing for the patient and her partner. Friends and family need to provide careful support for these women. Professional psychologic counseling is always helpful for the patient or the couple. Learning more about the causes of miscarriages and how to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome the next time provides patients hope. " -- Sunny Jun, MD, cofounder and comedical director of

"Miscarriages can be both emotionally and physically traumatizing for the patient and her partner. Friends and family need to provide careful support for these women. Professional psychologic counseling is always helpful for the patient or the couple. Learning more about the causes of miscarriages and how to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome the next time provides patients hope. " -- Sunny Jun, MD, cofounder and comedical director of CCRM San Francisco

Listen & Be Supportive

"Don't minimize the experience. Don't be awkward around her or try to walk on eggshells -- she's hurting, but she's not broken. Still invite her to things. Invite her to the baby showers. If she doesn't want to come, she won't. Listen to her when she needs to talk. If she needs to cry, let her. Be supportive without treating her differently."

Acknowledge Her Loss

"Acknowledge that there was a baby lost. It doesn't matter how many weeks; to her, it was a baby.

"Tell her it isn't her fault. Make sure she hears you on that. I am a nurse, and this is one thing that I wish doctors did more often. They are very good about explaining miscarriage, but often forget to explain that a miscarriage is generally due to no fault of the mother.

"Just be there. When she's hurting, be there. When she's angry, be there. When she is crying, be there. It's ugly and awkward and awful, but she needs you."

Allow Her to Mourn

"Let her mourn the lost of her baby. Never forget that she didn't just lose a soon-to-be baby. She lost her dreams of what could have been. When the mom is ready to talk, let her talk about what dreams she had for that baby. And if she's a very sentimental person, maybe you both can release balloons up to the sky."

Help Her at Home

"Babysit her other children if she has them. After the loss of my girl at 23 weeks, the most exhausting part was trying to keep a happy face, and keep up with my 2-year-old. I just wanted to be able to rest and recover, and cry when I needed to. To hold it in all day was agonizing."

Don't Keep Your Distance

"Don’t shy away or avoid your friend. Let her lead. Be there. Tell her you are sorry, that you love her, and that you are there anytime for her. You may not even need to talk. Just be there and listen. And bring ice cream with two spoons."    

Suggest She Talk to Women Who've Been Through It

"There wasn't much anyone could 'do' for me when I had a miscarriage. The only thing that really helped at all for me was my friend of 25 years who had gone through the same thing. Even my mom -- who is my best friend -- just couldn't really understand, as she had never had one."

Know What Not to Say

"Never say 'At least you weren’t that far along' or 'You can always try again.' Don't tell her 'Everything happens for a reason' or 'It was for the best.' Be supportive and don't minimize the situation. All I wanted was a supportive shoulder to cry on and permission to be a complete mess for as long as I needed to heal."

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.