If you are reading this series because you want to understand how to help a loved one who has experienced a miscarriage, here are nine practical ideas:
- Acknowledge the loss and the life of the child that grew within. You won’t worsen the pain by talking about the loss, but silence may send the unintended message that you don’t care.
- Pray for and with the parents; let them know that you are praying.
- Send a card or note of encouragement, particularly on special days (such as what would have been the due date, anniversary dates, Mother’s/Father’s Day, holidays, etc.).
- Give a gift, keepsake or memento in remembrance.
- Look for ways to serve. Bring a meal, shop for groceries, clean their house, or offer to care for older children. Don’t say, “Call if you need anything,” because this places the burden on the couple to ask for help. Instead, take the initiative.
- Recognize the child as a member of the family and incorporate their memory into family traditions.
- Don’t forget Dad. He’s often overlooked and seen as the “protector” or “gatekeeper” to the mom. Instead of asking only about mom, ask how the couple is doing or make a point to ask Dad specifically how he is doing. Acknowledge how difficult it must be for him to maintain strength as he protects and cares for his wife, while also grieving the loss himself.
- Be sensitive to their feelings with regard to birth announcements and baby showers.
- Avoid insensitive comments and clichés, however well intended. Simply being with them, offering a hug or a simple “I’m sorry” will mean so much.
If you need further guidance and encouragement, Focus on the Family has a staff of licensed, professional Christian counselors available to talk with you at no charge. Just call 800-A-FAMILY (232-6459)
And Then You Were Gone: Restoring a Broken Heart After Pregnancy Loss, by Becky Avella
A spiritual and practical guide to healing after pregnancy loss, pointing grieving hearts to real hope and equipping family, friends, churches, counselors, and others with understanding and tools for ministering to hurting families after loss.
A 10-week study that will encourage and challenge women to delve into a deeper understanding of God’s Word in the aftermath of miscarriage or infant loss. As women engage in biblical teaching, they will learn to embrace God’s promises of love, goodness, purpose, comfort, peace, refinement, restoration, hope, and eternity.
Safe in the Arms of God: Truth from Heaven About the Death of a Child, by John MacArthur
With scriptural authority and the warmth of a pastor’s heart, bestselling author John MacArthur examines the breadth of the entire Bible and reveals the Heavenly Father’s care for every life in this compelling book.
Online Support Resources:
Hannah’s Prayer Ministry
M.E.N.D. Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death
Mommies with Hope
Sufficient Grace Ministries
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Early Pregnancy Loss: FAQ090. ©August 2013. www.acog.org.
Norman Brier, “Grief following miscarriage: A comprehensive review of the literature.” Journal of Women’s Health. April 2008, 17(3): 451-464. doi:10.1089/jwh.2007.0505.
Drake, T. “‘The God of all comfort:’ Experiences from a biblically based perinatal loss support group” (2010). Graduate Theses and Dissertations, Iowa State University. Paper 11413.
Drake, T. (2012). Hope for today, promises for tomorrow: Finding light beyond the shadow of miscarriage or infant loss. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications.
Toffol, E., Koponen, P., and Partonen, T. “Miscarriage and mental health: Results of two population-based studies.” Psychiatry Research. 2013 January; (205)1-2:151-158.
All Scripture verses are from the New American Standard translation unless otherwise noted.