Parents grieve differently when they lose a baby to stillbirth or miscarriage. (For Spectrum Health Beat)
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.

What helpful things have you said to or done for someone who’s had a loss? If you’ve experienced a loss, what did others do that was helpful? Share your thoughts in the comments below.