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After Your Miscarriage

Ways to Cope

​​​It’s normal for feelings of grief and memories to return throughout the year. It can happen during the holiday season, the anniversary of your loss or pregnancy, or your due date. Look ahead on your calendar and plan something special for yourself so it isn’t so hard on the upcoming day, anniversary, or holiday.

Part of the healing process is taking care of your physical, mental, social, and spiritual health. You may find yourself switching between getting by, getting better, and grieving. Find ways that work for you and try new ways to relax and look after yourself.


  • Admit you’ve had a loss.
  • Take time for yourself. Get a massage, listen to music, read, or paint.
  • Take time to look at special mementos or your memory box.
  • Create a place that’s calm and relaxed with soft lighting and comforting music.
  • Practice mindfulness or meditation.
  • Write a letter to your baby, write in your journal, or blog.
  • Let yourself be angry and find healthy ways to express it


  • Take care of yourself and drink lots of water. Tears can be dehydrating.
  • Make sure you eat. If it’s hard, eat small amounts more often.
  • Stay active. It will help you sleep and give you more energy.
  • Try to keep your normal bedtime routine.
  • Practice yoga – even a few minutes before bed can help you sleep better.


  • Reach out to loved ones and support persons.
  • Let friends and family help out with cooking, housework or errands.
  • You may feel jealous of people with babies or pregnant women. This is normal and doesn’t mean you‘re a bad person.
  • Do things you enjoy.


  • Take part in spiritual or religious activities.
  • Find ways to remember your baby during holidays (e.g., a special ornament).
  • Make time to remember.
  • Go to events like a candle-lighting ceremony or a walk to remember.
  • Plant a tree or your favourite flowers to help you remember your baby.

Supporting Family

During a loss, the focus is often on the parent. But, grandparents, siblings, cousins, and other children may have also been excited about the pregnancy. They may also be grieving the loss of hopes and dreams they had with a pregnancy.

Supporting Children

Death can be confusing for children. It’s important to use clear simple language to help them understand. Try not to say things like “the baby was sick” because they might get scared the next time someone is sick. If you say the “baby went to heaven” explain what heaven is.

It’s best to tell a child that the baby died and explain what death means. Children may also use play to understand what happened and to help them cope. Be gentle and caring when answering any questions they have, even if it’s the same question over and over again. Try not to overwhelm children with too much information. A child will let you know through their questions and actions when they’ve heard enough.

Children often blame themselves for their parent’s sadness. Be open with your feelings and include your child when you remember your baby. Share photos or do drawings together. As a family, plant a tree, release a balloon, or light a candle. Always include family when you can (e.g., memorial service or ritual). If your child isn’t ready, wait until they are. It’s important to try and keep up your child’s routine, especially around meals and bedtime. You may find children behaving like they did when they were younger (e.g., thumb sucking, wetting the bed, not listening). Keeping to a routine will help limit these behaviors over time.

Remember, the baby you lost was a part of your family. It will take time for everyone to adjust.

For Friends and Family

When parents go through the loss of a pregnancy or a baby, others may not know what to say or do.

There are no magic words to take away the pain of the loss. Tell them you’re sorry for their loss, and ask what you can do to help. Usually it helps to just listen and be around in case you’re needed. Acknowledge the baby and what the baby meant to the parents. If the baby was named, call the baby by name. Be open and let the grieving parents tell you what they need. Give the parents time to cope with their grief—there’s no time limit for grief.

Grief is different for everyone and everyone copes differently. It may take a long time before parents can go to family gatherings, social events, celebrations, or be around other babies.

Grief around holidays or the anniversary date of the loss can be hard. Parents need their own unique, important way to remember the baby over their lifetime. Show your support by helping with ways to remember on special occasions with cards or mementos.

What to Say

  • I’m sorry for your loss.
  • How can I help right now?
  • I want to listen, understand, and help support you.
  • Say things about the baby (e.g., special features, feelings during pregnancy).

What Not to Say

  • You’re lucky you have (or can have) other children.
  • It’s meant to be, it was part of life’s plan.
  • You didn’t have time to get to know the baby.
  • You need to move on.
  • Don’t cry and don’t be sad.
  • When’s a good time to visit? (Don’t ask them to call you, call them.)
  • I’ll pray for you (unless the family asked you to).
  • The baby is with the angels now. (Don’t talk about God and angels.)

How to Help

Ask the parents what would help and what they want. Try not to take over, parents need to be in control. Here are some ideas of how you can help:

  • Prepare meals, help with housework, or organize others to help at different times.
  • Let others know about the loss if the parents ask you to.
  • Offer drives to and from appointments.
  • Help with funeral arrangements and go to the funeral or memorial service.
  • Help with ways to remember the baby (e.g., write a poem or letter, give a special memento like ornaments, jewelry, art, or ceramics).
  • Offer to look after other children.

Watch for signs of depression like ongoing sleep problems, changes in appetite or activities, blaming, feeling guilty, or having suicidal thoughts. If you notice any of these signs, encourage them to seek professional help right away.

Current as of: August 18, 2017

Author: Women’s Health, Alberta Health Services