Talking about miscarriage: How to break your news of pregnancy loss
It’s really hard to know how best to inform the people in your life about a recent miscarriage. You might still be getting used to the news yourself, let alone thinking about how to tell other people about your pregnancy loss.
Breaking the news might feel especially difficult if your loved ones have been supportive and excited about the pregnancy. Or, if you have a lot of people to tell, that can feel equally overwhelming.
Talking about such a traumatic loss might seem really difficult right now, but it really can help you start to heal. To help you, here are some tips and ideas to help things go more smoothly.
Put yourself first
It can be hard to make the decision to tell other people about your loss, particularly if it has happened early in your pregnancy or before you’d officially announced it. How do you say, “I was pregnant, but now I’m not?”
It’s a conversation that feels unnatural and uncomfortable. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the conversation.
You’re going to need help and support over the coming weeks and months and you need to put yourself first. Imagine one of your friends or family were in your position or had experienced a different kind of loss. It’s likely you’d want to be there for them as much as possible.
Keep it simple
You don’t have to give a lot of information about what’s happened. Share as little or as much as you want to – whatever information you are comfortable with is enough right now. If you’re not sure how to open the conversation, try “Something has happened that I’m finding it hard to cope with on my own. Would it be ok to talk to you about it?”
You might be worried about the reaction of others or wonder if they’ll know the right thing to say. You could set their expectations with something like: “I know you might not know what to say, but that’s OK. You don’t need to say anything. I just wanted to tell you and for you to listen.”
Talk as much or as little as you need to
Everyone processes trauma in a different way and everyone has the right to choose whether to talk about it. If people try to get you to talk but you don’t feel ready, thank them for their concern but explain that you’re not ready to talk about your loss right now.
It’s perfectly fine to close the conversation with,“I just wanted to let you know, but I’m not up to talking about it much just yet.”
Be ready for comments and advice
Unfortunately, some people might react badly or say things that are insensitive or upsetting. Be prepared that you may hear some thoughtless, unintentionally hurtful comments from people in your life. Keep in mind that most people don’t mean any harm when they say these things; sometimes people just have no idea what to say.
Don’t feel that you have to educate someone who makes an ignorant comment, either. Instead, end the conversation as soon as you are able to do so.
You don’t have to do it face to face
If you have other children, you will probably want to talk to them in person. For relatives, friends or colleagues, you might find it less stressful to use email or text. Not having to tell everyone in person can ease some of the pressure from you. It also means you won’t have to immediately respond, in the case of any unhelpful replies or insensitive comments.
Or, can you ask a friend or relative tell some people or make a few calls for you? Having someone else spread the word could take the pressure off of you so that you can take your time dealing with the news yourself.
Let people know what you need
Your loved ones will want to help, but they may not know how. When people offer to help, try to take them up on it and let them know what you need. If there is something specific that you want help with, make sure you ask for it and try to leave the conversation with a plan.
If you have other children, you might want friends or family to watch them so you can have some time alone, or you might want your best friend to come over and sit with you so you can talk about your feelings or have a shoulder to cry on.
It will take time
You might find that talking about it will help and, perhaps, other people will react in a better way than you expected. But things may still be difficult for a while as your family or friends make sense of what you have told them. Give them a bit of time.
Counselling can help
If you feel unable to talk to the people around you, know that counselling is an option. Talking about what has happened in a confidential and safe environment can give you an opportunity to express and accept your feelings about what has happened, in your own time.
This can help you to prepare for having a conversation with your loved ones when you are ready.
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