Sending a Card on the Anniversary of a Miscarriage

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The one-year anniversary of any loss is painful, but for a pregnancy loss, there are no real societal guidelines one can follow. Is it appropriate to send a card to a couple who have suffered a miscarriage or stillbirth?

It depends on the couple and how well you know them, but don't assume that they've moved on. In fact, it's very possible the bereaved thinks about what happened all the time. She may not have acute feelings of sadness every day anymore, but there is no doubt that she’s aware of the upcoming anniversary. So in that regard, you don’t have to worry about being hurtful. You won’t be reminding her of anything she’s not already thinking about.

Many moms report it’s more hurtful thinking that everyone forgot about the miscarriage.

What to Say or Write

So what should you say? First, don't overthink it. As with any death of a close relative, sometimes the less said, the better. Try to stick to some basic, sensitive expressions of sympathy.

Not everyone who goes through a pregnancy loss has named their baby, so it's probably best to direct your thoughts to the parents. "I remember" or "I'm thinking of you at this difficult time," are good, straightforward sentiments that will let the bereaved know you are thinking of them. 

Keep in mind that not every couple approaches a pregnancy loss the same, nor is every situation the same. Depending on how late in the pregnancy the loss occurred, the couple might be having a hard time deciding when exactly the memorial date is. Use your best judgment as to when the appropriate time to send a note of sympathy might be. 

And don't expect to hear a response right away.

As much as the couple might appreciate your kindness, they may not be comfortable responding—there are no hard and fast rules about the "right" amount of time to mourn and grieve over a pregnancy loss. 

No matter what you decide to write, or say, as long as you are sincere in your sentiments, your effort will be appreciated. Remember, there is almost no chance your friend isn’t aware of the approaching anniversary. Bereaved parents may not always choose to honor the day of their child’s death, but they are always counting the passage of time.

By Elizabeth Czukas, RN, MSN
Elizabeth Czukas is a writer who who has worked as an RN in high-risk obstetrics, antepartum care, and with women undergoing pregnancy loss.