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How to help someone who had a miscarriage

The best tips for how to help the people you love heal from a miscarriage from a psychologist and 15 women who have gone through it.
/ Source: TODAY

The first time I miscarried, I remember standing in a Target aisle trying to figure out what size adult diaper I needed, because the bleeding felt relentless. Picking out a diaper at 31, under a cloak of embarrassment for my body not being able to do what it was biologically created to do, felt like salt in the wound.

Through four consecutive losses, I've learned there is no "one size fits all" approach to caring for someone after a miscarriage (with each loss, my needs have varied), but normalizing the conversation around supporting women after miscarriage is a great start.

Despite one in four pregnancies ending in miscarriage, stigma remains about the loss of a pregnancy.

"There's a lot of stigma around miscarriage, because there hasn't been a lot of education about it," Dr. Nathasha Correa, a clinical psychologist with a specialty in maternal mental health at Curry Psychology Group, tells "I think what it comes down to is a lot of women feeling guilt, like they did something wrong. The reality is there's nothing that they did that caused it."

Fifteen women spoke to candidly about what helped the most on their healing journey after miscarriage. is withholding their names at their request, to protect their privacy. Together they and Correa offered advice for how to help someone who’s had a miscarriage.

How To Help Someone Who Had A Miscarriage

1. Recognize It as a Real Loss

Correa says that miscarriage is a physical loss, but it's also the grief that comes along with losing a baby.

"It's not just the physical loss of the baby, but I think a lot of times it's the dream and the hope that came along with seeing that positive pregnancy test," Correa tells "So the grief can become absolutely overwhelming."

From people who have experienced a miscarriage:

"My mom marked it on her calendar. Every year I’m surprised when she texts me to tell me how loved and not forgotten that baby still is. When it feels like I’m the only one who has that date carved into my brain, she comes through with the big mom love."

"I told a colleague after it all happened and I was still in a bit of shock and she reacted with such deep compassion that I wasn’t even really giving myself at that point."

2. Be Honest

Correa tells that recognizing grief and being honest plays an important part in healing.

"There could be a number of different emotions that are associated with grief," she says. "There could be anger, disbelief, despair (or) sadness. Whatever you can imagine you would feel when you're grieving the loss of someone or something. That's what comes up for women who experienced a miscarriage."

Reflections from people who had a miscarriage:

"People shared their stories of loss with me so I didn’t feel so alone."

“My friends talked about it with me in a way that was factual and didn’t feel like pity. I know that sounds weird but it was so much easier to talk about facts and medicine than my emotions."

"They gave me the space to either talk about it or not talk about it. One friend who was also trying to get pregnant asked me how she would like me to tell her if/when she got pregnant, meaning a text so I could react how I wanted to, a call, or in person. It was so nice of her to think about that instead of just bombarding me with the news later on."

"(People) opened up to me about their own miscarriage. I was shocked at how many people I knew had dealt with the same thing."

3. Avoid 'At Least'

Correa says it is important to be mindful about the things that you say and the way that you react, because sometimes we unintentionally end up hurting someone who's already hurting. 

"Oftentimes that that looks like any phrase that starts with 'At least'," she says. "Like 'At least you were able to get pregnant' or 'At least you already have a child.' Anytime we say 'at least,' what we're doing is invalidating the person's experience."

From people who experienced miscarriage:

"Having friends (and) family that ask if we are in the headspace to talk about or see pictures of babies has been a small thing that feels so much bigger."

“They let me cry and didn’t tell me dumb platitudes (and) they let me be angry.”

"My BFF was pregnant when I had a miscarriage and she wasn’t sure how I would feel being around her, (so) she left me flowers and all of my favorite treats on my porch and just sent me a text saying she’s here for me in whatever way I need. It was simple but so thoughtful."

4. Pick-Me-Up Gifts

Correa tells that supporting friends through a miscarriage might look like dropping off a meal or sending a gift certificate for food.

"Little things like that go a long way in helping support friends," she says.

Reflections from women who went through miscarriage:

"They sent a Barefoot Dreams blanket and texted every morning saying 'Thinking of you today — you are so loved and I am here when you need me.'"

"A friend sent a bouquet of flowers and a book of fairytales, and a note that said 'All your children are loved, including this one'."

5. Just Show Up

The California-based psychologist tells, "There is something very powerful about being able to share a space with someone and letting them be seen."

"At the end of the day, we just want to be seen and heard," Correa says.

People who have been through a miscarriage added:

"After my first loss, my mom immediately booked a flight to come and stay with us, help out (and) provide comfort. My mom hasn’t traveled by herself since I’ve been alive and so for her to drop everything and fly up to me meant more than I can even express."

"Two of my colleagues at the time came over to my apartment with dinner. We sat at the table and they just listened. It was so helpful to not have to hide it (family didn’t even know, plus were thousands of miles away) and to have women there supporting me who were willing to give me all the time in the world to talk, cry, try to make sense of it all, etc. I’ll never forget that night in my apartment."

"Anything without asking. 'What can I do?' was so overwhelming for me. It was the meals brought, notes written, errands ran without being asked that saved me."

"I had an ectopic in July of 2020 when we were all still waving at each other six feet apart. One of my best friends came over wearing a mask and turned her raincoat backwards with it covering her face to give me a giant hug in my driveway."

Finally, Correa says that when supporting friends after miscarriage, it’s also important to check in with yourself.

“Take care of yourself when you are supporting others, because it will understandably weigh on you, too,” she says.