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How do I explain miscarriage to children?

A miscarriage is a shared experience – and this may include children. If you want to discuss your miscarriage with children, we have some tips for you on how to do this.

The decision to tell children about a miscarriage is a personal choice that depends upon many factors, particularly the child’s developmental age. Some people decide not to tell children, especially if they were unaware of the pregnancy, the loss occurred at early gestation, and the child is very young.

Children can often tell when adults are upset or distressed, and they may worry that it is because of something they did wrong. It can be helpful to reassure them they are not at fault. Older children may want more information. 

Here are some things you may want to consider if you decide to talk to children about your loss:

My daughter came with my husband in to pick me up, and it was the most bizarre feeling to walk out without a baby. And we went to a store, and my daughter chose a teddy bear, we bought a teddy bear, and we called the teddy bear Rosie. And I picked my daughter up and, um, she held Rosie next to me and we walked out that way so that we could take Rosie with us, Rosie the teddy bear. Because Rosie, her little sister.

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It’s OK to get upset around children

If you become upset around children, reassure them that this is normal and okay. Children learn about managing complex feelings by watching you respond to your own. Let them know all of the ways that you are supported (either your partner, family, friends, mental health support), and if appropriate, it can be good to let them know that there is something they can do to help you.

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Be calm, factual, and reassuring

If you decide to tell children about a miscarriage it’s important to be calm, factual and reassuring. You may need to be prepared to answer some uncomfortable, sometimes blunt questions, and they are likely to tell others. If children are sad or upset, let them know that this is okay, that sad feelings arise when we lose something dear to us. Encourage them to talk with you about this, listen to their concerns, and perhaps invite them to find helpful ways to manage these feelings, such as asking for a hug or drawing or writing about their feelings.

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As a parent you don’t need be a superhero

You cannot be a superhero all of the time. Supporting children can come in the form of self-care. Everyone needs a break from parenting responsibilities at times. Ask a loved one to care for your children when you need some time for yourself or feel emotionally or physically drained.

Last Updated: October 20th, 2022