Showing that you care is the best gift after a loss | THE MOM STOP

When someone suffers a miscarriage or pregnancy loss, it often leaves others wanting to do something to show that they care ― but it’s a situation that often requires careful words and thoughtful action.

Recently, on a parenting group on social media that I follow, someone posted the exact conundrum, polling others about what might be a thoughtful gift in wake of such terrible loss.

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What surprised me was that the responses varied widely among the women responding. With about every one in four women having experienced a miscarriage or pregnancy loss during their lives, it’s an unfortunate and common experience that too few people talk about. That means that often, especially with early miscarriages, it’s only the closest relatives or friends that know about the loss, if anyone does.

That isolation can make the grieving process even harder, meaning support from those who do know can be even more important.

The question is: What is appropriate?

First, there are certain things not to say, to anyone who has lost a pregnancy or child. Saying it is “God’s will” or that it wasn’t “meant to be” isn’t likely going to help anyone grieving, regardless of religious beliefs.

Similarly, pointing out that a miscarriage may have happened “due to a chromosomal abnormality” with the baby doesn’t help, and highlighting the fact that a woman can try again isn’t a recommended approach, either.

Instead, the consensus seems to be that it’s best to consider the friend or loved one’s specific situation and personality when deciding how to react, and above all else, just let them know that you care.

That may mean dropping off a note with a hot coffee on the doorstep, or deliver dinner so no cooking is required. Buying a gift card for a pedicure or massage may be welcome, or even paying for their house to be cleaned by a housekeeper so that it’s one less thing for the grieving woman or couple to think about.

While flowers are a nice thought, after my own miscarriages, I found that throwing away rotting flowers was another depressing reminder of death and the passage of time. Instead, consider potted plants such as knockout roses or hydrangeas that can be planted in the yard and bloom year after year.

A Christmas ornament could be appropriate, something to remember the child during the holidays for years to come, or birthstone jewelry.

Remember, however, it’s just voicing support and being there for the friend or loved one that matters more than anything, not just immediately after the loss, but in the coming months and even years, especially around the time of the original due date, or the anniversary of the loss.

Following my fourth pregnancy and second miscarriage, a group of friends who lived out of town sent a gift months after the loss: a silver bird's nest necklace featuring four freshwater pearl “eggs” to recognize my two living children at the time, and the two babies I had lost.

It was an unexpected gift at an unexpected time, which made it all the much more meaningful. It’s been years later, and I think I may have a fifth pearl added, to represent my youngest daughter, who is now 8.

October is national miscarriage and pregnancy loss awareness month. And if you know someone who has recently gone through a loss or experienced one years ago, sometimes it’s worth just acknowledging what they went through, and letting them know you care.

Lydia Seabol Avant. [Staff file photo/The Tuscaloosa News]
Lydia Seabol Avant. [Staff file photo/The Tuscaloosa News]

Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News. Reach her at

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Showing that you care is the best gift after a loss | THE MOM STOP