About 10 to 15 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Some suggest it is even higher as some miscarriages occur before the mom even knows she’s pregnant. Despite this high frequency, bereaved parents share that far too many friends and loved ones fail to say appropriate things and some, not knowing what to say or worse, minimizing the loss, just stay away. But it’s important to remember that a miscarriage is a death in the family and should be treated as such.

When friends and loved ones do provide caring support, they tend to focus on the mom, thinking she is the one who carried the baby and she is the one having to deal with a physical recovery. But dads grieve for the loss of their baby too.

Miscarriages happen so quickly. One minute you are a mom and dad to be; the next moment you are grieving. Many dads report that they are just as devastated as their wives after a miscarriage. But men don’t have the same friendships and support networks that women have so while their wives may find a circle of support, the dads often find themselves alone and outside the circle. To make matters worse, we tend to think that men should be the strong ones so friends and loved ones often suggest to the dad that he be strong and ensure that he’s providing his wife needed solace.

So what can you do to help a dad following a miscarriage?

  1. Don’t forget them or assume they are not grieving for the loss of their baby. Acknowledge and validate their loss.
  2. Don’t isolate the dad. Ensure that you include both the mom and dad in your condolences and support.
  3. When you give the mom a hug, give the dad one too. He needs to be consoled as well.
  4. Don’t tell the dad to be strong for his wife. Encourage him to articulate his feelings and let him know that real men grieve too.
  5. Invite the dad out whether it’s a sporting occasion, coffee, a meal, or a drink. Give him an opportunity to talk and even if he decides he doesn’t want to, he’ll feel your support.

 

For more information on how to help following a miscarriage check out How to Say It® When You Don’t Know What to Say: Miscarriage, available in print and for your Kindle.

Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, now available in three individual volumes: "Illness & Death," "Suicide" and "Miscarriage." Additional titles are available as e-books: "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle Store. Click here to order.

Image via Flickr Creative Commons / andybullock77

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