Early pregnancy loss deserves empathy and sensitivity. Early pregnancy loss is common, and the grief experienced intense, but it can be an isolating experience for couples because pregnancy loss is often a taboo subject, perhaps not recognised by close relatives and friends.
Baby Loss Awareness Week occurs every year to recognise the parents who have endured this heartbreak and honour the little ones they have lost. It encourages wearing a special pin badge, turning UK pink and blue and lighting a candle on 15th October.
But what happens after? Does it remain a taboo subject?
Most couples facing any pregnancy or infant loss want acknowledgement of their baby, of their experience, and of their real loss and intense grief. They yearn for a listening ear and someone who asks about their baby with sympathy and understanding.
We need to break the silence and find within ourselves the right words and actions that will offer comfort to our friends and family who have experienced pregnancy loss.
- Be a good listener. Accept both angerand tears, and listen to the various versions of events time and time again as the grieving parent tries to make some kind of sense of this loss.
- Communicate your wish to be a good listener so that you can understand the personal meaning this loss has for each member of the couple.
- Be patient with the time your friend or family member needs to absorb this sadness and to make sense of it.
- Use language that shows empathy for what they are going through rather than language that might suggest you are watching them from the outside. We shouldn’t be afraid to ask about the baby rather than simply offering sympathy for “their loss”.
The key to being supportive starts with recognising when someone who has experienced pregnancy loss is grieving, and to say something that acknowledges that loss. Together, and word by word, we can help to break the silence.