Miscarriage is sadly more common than many people realise, with one in three pregnancies ending before 12 weeks.
Yet couples often don’t discuss what’s happened with family and friends, as it’s too upsetting to talk about or they hadn’t yet told people they were expecting.
Even a pregnancy that ends in the first few weeks needs to be grieved, for the loss of your future hopes and plans for that baby.
Psychologist Jessica Zucker, PhD, has taken her own experience of miscarriage and turned it into an incredible community of women who have been through the same thing, using her Instagram account @IHadaMiscarriage.
Her feed is full of emotional stories, powerful imagery and uplifting posts about rainbow babies (those born after a miscarriage) and most importantly, support without judgement.
Support after a miscarriage
The Miscarriage Association in the UK has great resources if you’ve experienced a miscarriage, or want to help someone who has. They have advice on where to find the support you need, how it can affect your relationship, and ways you can mark your loss.
If you know someone who’s had a miscarriage, the #SimplySay campaign offers advice on how to talk to them.
Just say “I’m sorry for your loss” and “This must be really difficult for you” – it doesn’t matter if you admit you don’t know what else to say, or how to comfort them, as everyone goes through the grieving process in different ways.
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Most people who’ve had a miscarriage would prefer friends and family to avoid saying things such as “it wasn’t meant to be” or “at least you can try again”.
Along with fears of whether there’s an underlying medical issue, miscarriage care varies greatly in different hospitals. The Miscarriage Association are campaigning for better maternity services, including improved bereavement care with a trained member of staff available at all times in each hospital.
The Global Wave of Light
Baby Loss Awareness Week runs in October each year, with the aim of encouraging couples to share their experiences and unite to remember their babies’ lives.
It ends on 15 October – International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day – with the global ‘Wave of Light’. Candles are left burning for at least an hour, to remember all babies that have died too soon.
The majority of miscarriages can’t be prevented, and you generally won’t be offered any tests to discover the cause unless it’s a late miscarriage or you have had recurrent miscarriages.
Late miscarriage is a baby loss that occurs after 12 or 13 weeks, in the second trimester, and is much less common. Recurrent miscarriage is defined as three or more pregnancy losses in a row.
Remember that most women who miscarry will have a successful pregnancy in future, and there are plenty of resources to find support until you do.