Helping a Friend Through Pregnancy Loss

  • Don't pretend the baby never existed.
  • Don't explain all the reason this loss is for the best.
  • Don't tell her she is young and can try again.
  • Don't explain that it's a good thing she wasn't very far along (if this is the case).

Say, "I know you had dreams and hopes. I am sorry." This may have been a "just a pregnancy" to you. To your friend, it was a welcomed child. Perhaps she was a blue-eyed, curly-haired daughter who would play piano and be a doctor. Or maybe the baby would have been a tall, stocky, dark son who would share his father's love for woodworking. Listen when she needs to share. She loved this baby and she loved the dreams and hopes. Memories are not all sad; many are happy creations. It is healing to remember these.

  • Don't compare the loss of a pet to the loss of her child.
  • Don't be afraid to mention the baby.
  • Don't tell her to quit obsessing about the baby.
  • Don't think that another pregnancy will replace this baby.

Say, "What can I do to help you? Could I bring supper? Baby-sit?" While your friend might want to be left alone to absorb the loss, she may also have basic needs you can meet. Offer to help with specific items -- like meals, childcare, or shopping. She might not be able to come up with a concrete need by herself, but may be able to choose what she does need from a list. And don't forget a simple card or flowers. They can speak to the heart and remind her that you care even though you're not there in person.

  • Don't insist she accept your help. Some women want to be alone.
  • Don't worry if she seems isolated. Being alone and being quiet is okay if that is her choice.
  • Don't be afraid to meet a need you see.

If You're Pregnant or Have a Baby

As strange as it sounds, you may feel guilty because your baby is alive and your friend's has died. You will need to discuss these feelings together. While staying away to spare her the constant reminder of her loss seems like a kind deed, it may not be. She has already lost her child. Does she also need to be deprived of support from her best friend?

  • Don't ignore your feeling. Your friend will be glad you are sharing.
  • Don't expect her to always welcome your pregnant image or your baby.
  • Don't forget that a card or phone call can say, "I'm thinking of you."

Try to understand if it is difficult or awkward for her to be around you for a bit. Acceptance of your pregnancy or baby has to be at her pace. That may mean an emailed note just to say you are thinking of her, or a conversation shared over a split piece of hot fudge cake. The message is the same. You are there.

The Gift of Caring

The most important gift you can give right now is that of yourself -- your love and compassion for your friend. Follow her cues and just be you. A caring friend, willing to share the burden, will make the journey through grief easier.

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Margaret, I am so sorry. I always wonder about my babies -- what they would be like today, which activities they'd love, who they'd chose for friends, how they would have carved a special place in the family.

Time has eased the pain. It's much gentler now. But I remember and am thankful for the weeks we had together and wish they could have been more.

Thank you for this article. It has been just over a year now and I still feel it was like yesterday that the radiologist told us that Bailey had no heartbeat. There are times where I cry daily for my lost baby. The chemical pregnancies were hard but having Bailey die was harder. I hesitate to answer when people ask how many children I have, Bailey was with me for 11 weeks and I will never forget my baby.