Miscarriage, Who's Affected?
Everyone Hurts When A Baby Is Lost
When miscarriage occurs there is no easy way to handle the pain. Loss hurts. When it happens and there are already children in the family, a whole new dynamic appears. There are many variables, such as the age of the children and whether they knew about the pregnancy prior to the miscarriage or not. Nevertheless, there is a need to say something and as a parent finding the right words to say can be a real challenge. When it comes to talking to your children about a miscarriage or stillbirth, there are some things to keep in mind which may be helpful.
Teens And Preteens Understand More Readily
In the case of older children, teens or preteens, the best way to deal with the issue is head-on. An upfront discussion in language that they can relate to helps to pave the way for discussion and a sharing of emotion. It is important for them to know that there's nothing wrong with either Mom or Dad and that miscarriages or stillbirths happen sometimes-it's nobody's fault-it just is. There are often reasons associated with the event and by keeping the channels open, there's room for dialogue, growth and closeness to develop.
It's important to remember that older children will likely feel the loss as well and want to grieve alongside their parents. Their connection to their lost sibling is different but strong as well and the older children need to be able to express their disappointment, loss or pain.
Be Patient, Caring And Understanding With Younger Children
If the children are younger, and especially if they knew about the pregnancy before the miscarriage, it is best to tell them that something happened. Using words they can understand and digest is very important, so simple terms are best. Even if you choose not to tell your younger children about the loss, especially if they didn't know about the pregnancy in the first place, remember that children are very sensitive and can pick up on emotions long before any words are ever spoken.
Children may act out what they are sensing without being aware of what is actually happening. They feel their parents' angst, pain, frustration, hurt and grief and may respond to those vibrations by acting more clingy or upset than usual. If this is the case, they need some sort of explanation to help them understand what is happening to them and to you. Whatever you decide to tell them, the most important aspect is to let them know that it is not their fault and reassure them that you love them. Questions may come up. Answer them as appropriately as possible in clear, easy to understand language.
Create A Memorial
No matter what you decide to tell your children about the loss of the pregnancy, it may be a good idea to consider doing something special together, as a family, to honor the lost child. Plant a tree, or create a garden or other memorial to the memory of that member of your family.