Whether or not your pregnancy was planned, a miscarriage can be more painful than you ever imagined. You may be stunned, thinking, "Can I please wake up from this bad dream?" You may wish everyone would just go away and leave you alone. If you shared the news about your pregnancy with others -- or even if you didn't -- you may wonder how you will ever be able to tell them about your loss.
Sharing news like this is not easy. However, telling close friends and family may help you move through your grief -- and provide you some of the comfort and caring you need right now. Here are some suggestions that may help you talk about this painful news.
Take Care of Yourself First
You are the one going through this, so treat yourself with care. You don't need to reassure anyone that "everything is OK." You don't owe long explanations about why and when this happened. And you also don’t have to tell everyone you know.
How to Tell Others
There's no one right way to tell people about your loss. Remember that members of your family -- or even close friends -- may have their own feelings about the news. You even may want to do it in different ways, depending on who you are telling.
Say it in person. If you want hugs and emotional support, tell the people you most trust to comfort you in person. You know best who this might be.
Say it in writing. You might find it easier to write notes or send email messages to certain family members, friends, or coworkers. Explain briefly what happened and be honest about what you need in terms of support. And, if it's OK with you, let others know that they can ask questions.
Get a friend to spread the word. Another approach is to have someone else communicate the news for you. Maybe a trusted coworker can tell the people you work with. And your sister or mom can make a round of calls to the rest of your family. If there's something in particular you want said, or left unsaid, just let them know.
Telling children. If you have children, telling them may be difficult for many reasons. Depending on their ages, they may have trouble understanding what's happened. Use simple, honest words. You might say something like, "The baby wasn't able to keep growing." Saying that mommy lost the baby or that the baby is sleeping can be confusing for a young child.
Children may also grieve, but not know how to handle it. Be alert to changes in behavior, encourage questions, and assure them that they are not going to die. It may help to share a children's book about death and loss.
Be Prepared for Different Reactions
You can expect a range of responses from the people you tell. Some may know just the right thing to say and do. Others may not, so try to be prepared.
No response. It may seem hard to believe, but people often have no idea what to say in the face of grief. Maybe they have never experienced a loss like this and truly cannot imagine what you are going through. Or, they may be afraid they'll say something to worsen your pain. Sometimes people just have a hard time handling grief or dealing with death. It may bring up their own feelings that they don't want to face. If you don't get a response, try to remember that people do care about you -- even if they are silent.
Cliched condolences. Some people may say things that actually make you feel worse, not better. "It will go better next time" or "I know how you feel" may make you feel as though your grief is being swept under a rug. Most people don't mean to be insensitive. They may not understand that simply expressing something heartfelt like, "I am so sorry about your miscarriage" or "I know how much you wanted this baby," is all they really need to say.
Downplaying your grief. Everyone experiences grief differently. And, not everyone understands the impact of a pregnancy loss. Try to be honest about how you feel. If they still don't understand, seek out support from those who do.
As you go through this process, try to stay open. You may find you receive support from people and places you least expect.