In November of 2022, when I was at a routine pregnancy appointment, I got the news that our nearly 17-week-old baby’s heart had stopped beating. I had no idea what to expect. I had never previously had a miscarriage at any stage. Since there had been an increase in awareness around early miscarriage, I for some reason thought all miscarriages were the same.
Since I was a month into the second trimester, mine was considered a late miscarriage for which I needed to be admitted to the hospital and, if my body would let me deliver the baby naturally. To my great surprise, the labor was long, and contractions were still painful. I got an epidural, and I had to have an emergency D&C following the delivery.
Even though I wasn’t even halfway through the pregnancy, there was a recovery ahead of me both emotionally and physically. Thankfully I was lucky in that my village showed up for me in ways that I could have never known I needed. It was because of their love and support that we were able to grieve and begin to heal. Their love through action certainly got us through.
Be open to Venmo.
Sending money can feel so impersonal and rather “cold,” but there are unexpected expenses that come with a late miscarriage: buying a casket, working with a funeral home, and the impending hospital bills. I had no idea what a casket for that situation would cost. But thanks to the generosity of those around us, the cost was taken off through their monetary gifts. Not needing to worry about unexpected expenses in our budget allowed us to grieve our daughter with each other and our kids. It was a true gift.
Drop off goodies/groceries/easy-to-prepare meals.
Potentially unpopular opinion here, but meal trains or dropping off bulk meals can add more work than they take away–especially if there are kids in the house. Some people love them and that’s great! But here’s another option: Opt for sending food but in a way that allows for some freedom in preparation.
One of my best friends dropped off a couple of bags full of a variety of groceries–treats, drinks, boxed pasta meals, snacks. Since she was aware of my allergies, she knew exactly what to get. And further, she dropped it off at my door and texted me that it was there. While I wouldn’t have minded at all chatting, I deeply appreciated the hands-off, “we’re here for you, but no pressure” approach.
Gift a date night.
The timing just so had it that my in-laws were going to be in town when I happened to be recovering from my time in the hospital. This allowed my husband and I to go out the night we buried our baby. We went to the Christmas tree lighting in downtown Detroit. I think it was absolutely one of the best things we could have done for ourselves at that time.
A loss like a late miscarriage can not only wear on the mom and dad as individuals, but it also can wear on the husband and wife relationship. Grief is powerful, so there’s no better time to lean into each other and nurture the relationship. Being able to spend time and focus on each other helped us to grieve as a unit and that brought us closer than we’d ever been.
Reach out three to four weeks after.
Everyone reaches out when the news is fresh. It’s when things go silent, but you’re still grieving, that can be an isolating and particularly difficult time. We received flowers more than a month later and it was incredible what the gesture did for my morale. The thoughtfulness just kept seeing me through.
Remember the due date.
I won’t lie–nearing the due date can feel mildly tortuous. For months, that date was seared into memory. We had been planning house projects around that date. Our kids knew that date. So when late March arrived, I thought, “How am I going to get through April?” But I had a couple of people in my life who remembered and reached out, and it helped tremendously. My husband and I also set aside that day to spend together as a family.
Send a personal memento.
This can be an incredibly thoughtful gesture for a loved one who is navigating a late miscarriage. A dear friend from college sent a personalized ornament, and another sent me a beautiful handmade letter. My best friend brought home a memento ornament from a trip, and my sister-in-law sent me a necklace with Gemma’s name on it. These gifts just made me feel like my baby was seen. One of the hardest aspects of miscarriage is feeling like you’re grieving this silent, invisible loss. Their thoughtfulness in recognizing the loss was so deeply moving to me, and each gesture helped see me through another day.
Before going through my own loss, I would have never known how to show up for someone I loved during a time like a late pregnancy loss. Even with the purest intentions, it’s hard to know what to say or do. We’re often scared of doing the wrong thing, sometimes so much so that we avoid showing up for someone entirely. The list above holds ways people close to me made me feel so loved and seen. I’m grateful I have their example to carry with me should I ever have to be there for someone I love who goes through a pregnancy loss. I hope this list can help you, too.