Sarah Baso has suffered through three miscarriages. After trying to get pregnant for more than two years, her first pregnancy loss was particularly hard.
“It was devastating,” she said describing her experience. Sarah went on to have her first daughter, but then subsequently experienced two more miscarriages before her second. The experiences were some of the most difficult she and her husband have gone through and both grieved differently.
When families experience loss, it is important to lead with empathy and notice any judgement. Empathy can be brief and powerful, and it can help the person feel understood and cared for during an often scary, emotionally difficult time. Sarah shared some of her reflections on the experience and advice on supporting families.
Things Sarah wishes others knew
Miscarriage is more common than you think
Approximately 10 to 15 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage, according to the March of Dimes.
“When I had my first miscarriage, I felt a fair amount of shame and wondered if it was something I had done… I didn’t want to talk about it and didn’t want people to know,” Sarah said. “Once I started talking more, I realized that so many people have gone through the same thing. And it is not your fault. Miscarriages happen for a number of reasons and there’s nothing that can be done.”
There are resources to help cope
Grief is a complex process that is specific to each person—everyone grieves differently. That’s why Sarah thinks it’s so important to use supportive resources available. Sarah has been seeing a perinatal psychotherapist through The Mother Baby Center since before her second miscarriage. There are also pregnancy and infant loss support groups and bereavement coordinators to help.
How to support someone after a miscarriage
Don’t ask when someone wants to have kids or will try again
This is a personal question and can be triggering to women and families who have a history of pregnancy or infant loss, as well as for those with a history of infertility.
“I had a few very uncomfortable situations where family members didn’t know about my miscarriages and asked very direct questions about when I was going to have kids or when I planned to have a sibling for my daughter,” Sarah said. “Not only did they put me in a position where I felt like I had to explain myself, but also talk about my losses when I wasn’t ready to do so.”
Instead, ask how to help
“Supporting a family through loss can be as simple as giving them space to grieve,” Sarah said. “Some of the most supportive things that helped us were meals provided by friends and offers to watch our daughter so my husband and I could have time to ourselves.”
She emphasized that it’s important to be open and ask a friend or relative that has recently experienced a pregnancy loss how they would like to be supported. Don’t make assumptions, everyone is different and needs different kinds of support. Instead, try asking open-ended questions so they can tell you how they feel.
Learn more about Sarah’s experience and listen to advice from Tina Welke, perinatal psychotherapist from The Mother Baby Center, in this KSTP segment.