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How to Talk to Your Loved Ones About Pregnancy Loss

There aren’t words to convey the grief that can come from a pregnancy loss. It is a difficult time for you and your partner, and it can be hard to figure out how to share with the people closest to you. You may even be deciding whether or not you want to share, depending on the stage of the pregnancy. However, know that sharing -- and receiving the support and comfort of loved ones -- can be an important boon for both you and your partner during this difficult time.

It’s important to do it at a time that feels right for you. Make sure that you have the exclusive attention of the person you want to talk to. You may also choose to talk to a group of people at one time if that makes it easier for you. Find a space that feels comfortable for you, be it in your own home or maybe on a walk in your favorite park. Make sure that the person is ready to listen. Tell them you have something important to discuss with them and ask them if they’re ready to hear it.

Whether your family and friends knew about the pregnancy or whether the loss happened before you announced, take time to figure out what you’d like to say before you speak to them. You don’t have to go into details, especially if they’re very personal and painful. Instead, you may choose to come up with a simple script to explain things, such as, “We recently had a miscarriage, and it’s been a very difficult time for us.” You may also choose to write a letter or send an email to those closest to you, if talking in person is too difficult or if you have a lot to share and would find it hard to communicate by speaking. Share only as much as you’re comfortable sharing at this point.

Your friends or family might not know what to say right away. And that’s ok. Let them know the best way to support you, even if it’s just listening. If you have a specific request for the way you’d like to see them show up, such as doing laundry or making dinner, tell them. You can say: “I understand you may not know what to say right now, and that’s ok. I just needed you to know and listen.” Or “I could really use your help taking care of our other kids while my partner and I go to couple’s therapy.” Or “I could really use some help making meals this week.” You may also want your closest friends or family to tell other friends or extended family members, so that you don’t have to go through the disclosure process again and again.

Some people will respond thoughtlessly or in an insensitive way. Prepare yourself for this and know that they may just be awkward with the situation or coming from a misplaced but genuine desire to make you feel better. As best as you can, shrug off these comments and don’t feel like you need to educate the person about them. Find other supportive loved ones to talk to or seek out a therapist who can help you process this difficult period.