Other people’s reactions

Your partner
Children
Family, friends and colleagues
Worried about other people’s reactions


Your partner

Your partner is likely to feel upset because of the distress you have gone through, as well as for the loss of your baby. Both of you may be grieving over the loss of the future and of the happiness your baby was going to bring. You may be able to support each other very well and even feel closer as a result.

But grief can put a strain on even the closest relationships. Just when you need each other most, it may be difficult to say or do the right things.

Men sometimes say that their feelings, as the bereaved father, can be forgotten. In the weeks that follow miscarriage, attention is usually focused on the mother, ignoring the fact that her partner too has suffered a loss.

This can be just as true if you are in a same-sex relationship, though men in particular sometimes find that they are expected to be strong and supportive.  If they focus on ‘being strong’, they can end up feeling lonely and isolated. Some hide their feelings so well that they seem not to care at all.

You or they might find it helpful to read our leaflet Partners Too (which includes same-sex partners) and/or Men and miscarriage.

Some couples don’t share the same feelings about a miscarriage. If you are much more upset than your partner, he or she may struggle to understand why you aren’t getting ‘back to normal’. This can lead to tension and rows at what is already a difficult time.

Perhaps your partner is unsympathetic or relieved about the loss; or you don’t have a partner. If your relationship broke down, perhaps because of the pregnancy or the miscarriage, this might feel like a double loss.

These situations can leave you feeling very lonely and you may need additional support from people close to you or the Miscarriage Association.


Children

If you already have children when you miscarry, it can be very hard knowing what, if anything, to tell them. Often parents realise children have picked up on their feelings but don’t know how to handle the situation.

Should you be honest? What if they’re upset? How do you find the right words? Will they understand? Trying to answer a child’s questions about why you are crying, or why the new baby won’t be coming after all can feel like an impossible task.

If you don’t have children, you may still have a similar dilemma with the children of close family and friends, or if you work with children.

There are no rules about whether or not to talk to children about miscarriage or what to say if you do, but we have two resources that you might find helpful.  Our leaflet Talking to children about pregnancy loss aims to help you decide the best way to handle pregnancy loss with children. Goodbye Baby, by M.A. member Gillian Griffiths, is a beautifully written and illustrated book for reading with children [1].


Family, friends and colleagues

Many people find other people’s sadness hard to cope with and talk about.

Your parents and your partner’s parents may be mourning the loss of their grandchild and worrying about you at the same time. They may not know what to say or do – and end up saying the wrong things even though they mean well.  They may have mixed feelings if someone else in the family is pregnant or has a new baby.

Some people will avoid talking about your miscarriage at all. They may worry about reminding you of your loss when you’re trying to get over it. Or they may just feel very uncomfortable – just as people sometimes do in any other bereavement.

Some people may try to cheer you up in the hope that you will get back to normal more quickly. They may reassure you with stories of others who had several miscarriages and then had a baby; or if you have a child or children, they might suggest that you should be grateful for this. (You might be – but that doesn’t necessarily make you feel any better.)

Our leaflet Someone you know may be useful reading for them.

Sadly, some people – even some who care for you very deeply – will just not understand what your loss means to you.  Take time, if you can, to talk to them and explain your feelings about your miscarriage. The section Talking about miscarriage might help.

Some might view your miscarriage as a ‘good’ outcome. They might think that a young person, or someone with several children, is better off having a miscarriage than having a baby. They might think that an older mum should have expected something to go wrong.  Some might expect you to feel relieved.  These reactions can be hurtful.

But you may be fortunate to know or find people who  – sometimes quite unexpectedly – turn out to be totally understanding and very supportive.

Do remember that you can always find support at the Miscarriage Association. Our staff, volunteers and online forum members are all people who will help you through.


Worried about other people’s reactions

If it was very early in your pregnancy or you were worried about other people’s reactions then you may not have told anyone about your pregnancy or your miscarriage.

It can be hard to talk about miscarriage if people around you did not know you were pregnant.

These situations can also leave you feeling very lonely. You might find it helpful to have a look at our article on talking about miscarriage.

[1] Goodbye Baby, written by Gillian Griffiths and illustrated by Lyndsay MacLeod. Saint Andrew Press, 2010.