A miscarriage is never easy. Mourning the loss of a valued baby can be a traumatic experience that may take months or even years to recover from, as there could be a strong bond formed between the parents and baby — however short the pregnancy.

Your older children may also be grieving, be fearful, think that they too are in some way responsible for the death of the baby.

The grieving process may take the family through a whole range of emotions that include different stages which may be experienced in any particular order:

  • Shock and disbelief

  • Anger and guilt

  • Sadness and despair

  • Acceptance

While a miscarriage is both painful and difficult, here are some steps you can take to help you and your family survive your pregnancy loss:

Give yourselves time to heal

Be kind and don't blame anyone. Acknowledge the miscarriage and know that you and the family may need time and space to work through your grief.

Give yourselves plenty of time to grieve and closure will come gradually. Grieve as much — or as little — or as needed, to heal both physically and emotionally. This could mean lots of rest, eating well-balanced meals, or just talking to someone about the experience.

Instead of brooding, one way to lighten the atmosphere is to fill the family’s free time with a favourite activity or try something new like—drawing, going for walks, screening a movie at home or trying out a new recipe.

Saying goodbye

As a family, consider doing something together to say goodbye to the baby. For example, you may have a burial or a farewell ceremony that allows the family to mourn together and receive closure.

Reach out

As you work through this difficult time, ask for any help you need. You could talk about it with your partner who is also mourning the loss of a baby; but may show grief in a different way and may recover faster or slower than you. It may be a comfort to share your feelings with others like close friends, a support group, or someone who has experienced a miscarriage.

Before talking to your young ones, start by taking care of yourself and ensure you are coping with the pregnancy loss. Do talk to your children to help them understand what happened. If they somehow feel they had a part to play, reassure them that it is not their fault and that you love them nonetheless. You could also read them stories that talk about death and loss to help them understand what happened.

Or if the family is having trouble coping, seek outside help. This person could be your doctor, nurse, a counsellor, your religious or spiritual leader, or a helpline.

Consider contacting these helplines if you or your family need to talk with someone: