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What do I do if my family, friends, or workplace are not supportive?

Family and friends play an important role in supporting their loved one affected by miscarriage: what they do or don’t say can have a lasting impact. Their empathy and acknowledgment of your loss is important to your wellbeing. Equally important is how your workplace supports you at this time, including through leave provision.

Your family and friends

Your family, friends, and colleagues may also feel grief around your pregnancy loss. If you have told them about your pregnancy, they too have likely felt excitement and joy for you and your partner around your baby’s arrival. It is likely they also experience feelings of sadness and disappointment when hearing the news of your loss.

Unfortunately, many people can find it difficult to talk about and support grieving people. To begin with, they can potentially say hurtful things, especially if they are not supportive of your LGBTIQA+ identity.

This response is often associated with their discomfort talking about miscarriage and not knowing what to say or because of cultural or generational differences.

There is nothing you can do to avoid upsetting reactions or people in some cases, and you may choose to find support to help you cope with them. However, there are several things you might choose to do if this occurs:

Illustrated icon of two speech bubbles together indicating a conversation between two people

Tell them how you feel

Depending on your relationship with the person, if they say or do something hurtful or discriminatory about your loss, you may either choose to try and explain why what they said or did was painful.

Practice self-care

Sometimes, you might need to exercise some self-care in these situations, which means you may choose to avoid being around that person until you are ready.

Tell them what you need

It’s also okay to let people know what support you would find helpful (if this is appropriate within the context of the relationship). You may find it beneficial to be open with how much your pregnancy meant to you and the impact your loss has had on you. Being honest can show how much support you need and help others understand how and why you feel the way you feel.

Share support resources with others

You may find it helpful to share some resources on how they can help support you through your loss.

Work-related issues

Some people experience discrimination at work concerning their LGBTIQA+ status. Time off work following a miscarriage may result in further adverse reactions or penalties.

If you believe these to be motivated by LGBTIQA+ discrimination, this is illegal, and you can seek advice and support through the Australian Human Rights Commission.

A photo headshot of Dr Ruth McNair

The information for LGBTIQA+ has been kindly reviewed by

Associate Professor Ruth McNair AM
General practitioner | Chairperson of Pride Foundation Australia
Honorary Associate Professor at the Department of General Practice, University of Melbourne

Last Updated: October 12th, 2022