An baby angel statue is shown.
Parents grieve differently when they lose a baby to stillbirth or miscarriage. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

I recently attended the graveside service for a stillborn baby.

Although the rate of stillbirth is low, the rate of miscarriage is much higher.

Chances are you know someone who’s experienced a miscarriage if you haven’t personally. Studies tell us that one in four women have experienced a loss, either early or later in pregnancy.

This can be an emotional time for a mom and the family. The emotions vary from tremendous sadness and grief to relief. Personally, I have experienced four losses with two of them in the second trimester.

If you’ve experienced a pregnancy loss, here are a few suggestions I’ve found personally and online:

  • Allow yourself time to grieve. This is one thing I didn’t do for our baby that died right before Christmas. I didn’t want to affect others at that happy time of year. Grieving is a process that takes time. Allow yourself to go through the stages of grief.
  • Don’t expect your partner to grieve the same way. Since my husband didn’t feel the baby or see the babies, he grieved in a different manner.
  • Don’t close yourself off from others.
  • Get support. There are helpful support groups to attend in person or online.
  • Journal or make a scrapbook. After our losses, I wrote out the story of each baby and included ultrasound pictures, cards from others and personal items.
  • Have someone else take care of baby items if that will be easier for you.
  • Do something in remembrance. I have an ornament with Josiah’s name on it for his loss at Christmas time. I also have two bushes planted that flower at the time of the anniversary of other losses. My friend, mentioned above, has planted a beautiful flower garden in memory of her daughter.

If you have someone you know who’s miscarried or had a still birth, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t say they can have more children—you don’t know that, besides a new baby doesn’t take the place of the baby they have lost.
  • Don’t tell her, ‘At least you weren’t further along.’ Some women bond immediately with the positive pregnancy test, and some don’t. For me, I bonded right away.
  • Don’t say, ‘It was for the best,’ or, ‘There must have been something wrong with the baby.’
  • Try not to complain about your pregnancy to her if you’re pregnant.
  • Be a listener if she wants to talk. Let her know you care, but unless you’ve experienced a loss, don’t tell her how she should be feeling.
  • Remember the anniversary with her and acknowledge the baby’s existence.

Time will heal is a saying. It is true, although there will always be that special spot in my heart for each of our babies who didn’t live here on Earth.