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How To Tell Kids About Miscarriage

Parenting Q&A: How Do I Tell My Kids About Miscarriage?

Q. My four and seven-year-olds were thrilled when I told them I was pregnant. How do I break the news that I miscarried? Should we do something to commemorate the baby?

A. The celebration of life is the most wonderful experience to share. We have come so far as a culture in enjoying the process and sharing it with our children. Mourning a loss, one we know can happen during any pregnancy, is not as comfortable. However, loss is a huge part of life. As our children’s first teachers we must teach them how to mourn. Find the words that your heart and faith can stand behind. Tell them something very sad happened and that it is no ones fault, the baby could not be born. Don’t be afraid to cry. Most importantly, listen to them. Listen to what they ask and answer as simply as you can. As a family you may need closure by commemorating, but don’t rush into anything. Give your heart and mind time to heal a little before you act. Take cues from your children. Help them move on by grieving, listening and giving everyone time.

— Lonna Corder

Parenting expert and Montessori school director, Lonna Corder has been doling out advice for 25 years as a teacher, parent/child consultant and on television. For more information, visit lonnacorder.com.

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sham28 sham28 7 years
I was always told that it is NEVER okay to tell someone their miscarriage was "for the best," EVER. If you do, the woman could be hearing 1) 'your indescribable grief is unjustified' 2) 'I have a divine knowledge of God/ the universe's plan for you' 3) 'you should be getting back to your life right about now.' Of course it is such a delicate issue and well- meaning people can accidentally come across as being insensitive, but generally it is safe to stick to "I'm sorry" and "please call me if you ever need to talk" (make sure you really mean it).
sham28 sham28 7 years
I was always told that it is NEVER okay to tell someone their miscarriage was "for the best," EVER. If you do, the woman could be hearing 1) 'your indescribable grief is unjustified' 2) 'I have a divine knowledge of God/ the universe's plan for you' 3) 'you should be getting back to your life right about now.' Of course it is such a delicate issue and well- meaning people can accidentally come across as being insensitive, but generally it is safe to stick to "I'm sorry" and "please call me if you ever need to talk" (make sure you really mean it).
Chrstne Chrstne 7 years
When my mom miscarried -- she didn't tell me. I was 7, and she acted as if it just went away. Worst thing to do, because I kept thinking in my head the baby was born and at school or something. (hey, I was 7). I'll never forget it. I would have liked to be told. I figured it out when I was about 10.I do believe a miscarriage is a way to tell you that maybe your pregnancy wasn't going to be any good -- as in the baby being in your body would harm you in some way. I don't think that a miscarriage is getting rid of a baby that isn't right for you. Maybe a pregnancy wasn't right for your body at the time, but a baby is always right for you if you want the baby.
Chrstne Chrstne 7 years
When my mom miscarried -- she didn't tell me. I was 7, and she acted as if it just went away. Worst thing to do, because I kept thinking in my head the baby was born and at school or something. (hey, I was 7). I'll never forget it. I would have liked to be told. I figured it out when I was about 10. I do believe a miscarriage is a way to tell you that maybe your pregnancy wasn't going to be any good -- as in the baby being in your body would harm you in some way. I don't think that a miscarriage is getting rid of a baby that isn't right for you. Maybe a pregnancy wasn't right for your body at the time, but a baby is always right for you if you want the baby.
kmckay kmckay 7 years
runningesq/greggie - i agree. the only thing worse than hearing that when i miscarried was my dr. who said something along the lines of: "well at least now you know you CAN get pregnant" (we had been trying for almost 2 yrs)
kmckay kmckay 7 years
runningesq/greggie - i agree. the only thing worse than hearing that when i miscarried was my dr. who said something along the lines of: "well at least now you know you CAN get pregnant" (we had been trying for almost 2 yrs)
Greggie Greggie 7 years
Sorry, that was supposed to be "even early ones" not "especially early ones."
Greggie Greggie 7 years
I agree, runningesq, and it's so difficult for those of us who had miscarriages to hear. Especially right after the miscarriage. "Oh it was for the best." My child died and you want me to look on the bright side. Great support. I don't know why people think miscarriages, especially early ones, are just something you overlook. And how is it a "positive spin" to tell your child "Your brother or sister died because they weren't right for us"?? Way to put a fear into your child's head that they're going to die if they do something "not right."
Greggie Greggie 7 years
I agree, runningesq, and it's so difficult for those of us who had miscarriages to hear. Especially right after the miscarriage. "Oh it was for the best." My child died and you want me to look on the bright side. Great support.I don't know why people think miscarriages, especially early ones, are just something you overlook. And how is it a "positive spin" to tell your child "Your brother or sister died because they weren't right for us"?? Way to put a fear into your child's head that they're going to die if they do something "not right."
runningesq runningesq 7 years
A miscarriage is your body getting rid of a baby that is not right for you or your family. That has to be one of the more insensitive things I've read on Sugar.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
<i>A miscarriage is your body getting rid of a baby that is not right for you or your family. </i>That has to be one of the more insensitive things I've read on Sugar.
Greggie Greggie 7 years
I don't think it's a good idea to wait to tell my kids. I don't mean to say that won't work for other people, but I want my children to know things like this, depending on their age. At 8 and 6, we'd definitely tell them now if I got pregnant again and should I have another miscarriage, we'd address it at their level. I wouldn't want them seeing me upset and sad and not know why. I'm so sorry for everyone's losses.
Greggie Greggie 7 years
I don't think it's a good idea to wait to tell my kids. I don't mean to say that won't work for other people, but I want my children to know things like this, depending on their age. At 8 and 6, we'd definitely tell them now if I got pregnant again and should I have another miscarriage, we'd address it at their level. I wouldn't want them seeing me upset and sad and not know why.I'm so sorry for everyone's losses.
mara_viajera mara_viajera 7 years
When I was 8 years old, my baby brother was carried to term, but died due to complications a day after his birth. My parents explained that he had died, but in an effort to spare me, they kept their grief to themselves. While it might be easier to do this, it inevitably left me very confused about death. Additionally, it gave me the impression that it was not normal to be sad about his death. I don't have advice about how to tell them, but you should involve them in your grief.
mara_viajera mara_viajera 7 years
When I was 8 years old, my baby brother was carried to term, but died due to complications a day after his birth. My parents explained that he had died, but in an effort to spare me, they kept their grief to themselves. While it might be easier to do this, it inevitably left me very confused about death. Additionally, it gave me the impression that it was not normal to be sad about his death.I don't have advice about how to tell them, but you should involve them in your grief.
meandtheo meandtheo 7 years
courtney82, so sorry for your loss.
Courtney82 Courtney82 7 years
wow, my daughter died at 37 weeks two months ago. If it wasn't for all the prayers and support from friends I would have never got through it so I think not telling anyone at any point miscarriage or stillbirth is hard. You want people to be thinking and praying for a successful pregnancy. Nothing was wrong with my daughter it was a cord accident so it was a accident it happened which can also happen at any stage, they are always right for your family no matter what. they are still a child and loss so it is very hard to try to write it off as they weren't right for you, maybe they had genetic issues but to say they werent not right for you or your family breaks my heart and if someone said that to me after my loss, that comment would be and is hurtful to me. Anyway the way we got through it was and telling our daughter was just letting her know that she is in a wonderful place watching over us. We always incorporate her into things and just tell her that Ashlyn was needed somewhere else and some other time we will have other siblings but right now we just get to have extra time to love on her and cherish the memories of the 1 day (and 9 months) with her sister.
Courtney82 Courtney82 7 years
wow, my daughter died at 37 weeks two months ago. If it wasn't for all the prayers and support from friends I would have never got through it so I think not telling anyone at any point miscarriage or stillbirth is hard. You want people to be thinking and praying for a successful pregnancy. Nothing was wrong with my daughter it was a cord accident so it was a accident it happened which can also happen at any stage, they are always right for your family no matter what. they are still a child and loss so it is very hard to try to write it off as they weren't right for you, maybe they had genetic issues but to say they werent not right for you or your family breaks my heart and if someone said that to me after my loss, that comment would be and is hurtful to me. Anyway the way we got through it was and telling our daughter was just letting her know that she is in a wonderful place watching over us. We always incorporate her into things and just tell her that Ashlyn was needed somewhere else and some other time we will have other siblings but right now we just get to have extra time to love on her and cherish the memories of the 1 day (and 9 months) with her sister.
mstrauss mstrauss 7 years
I think that it might be a good idea to wait until you are at least 3 months pregnant, or when you are telling people, to tell your child(ren) that you are pregnant. If you miscarry after you tell them, no matter when it is, it might be a good idea to put a positive spin on it, which you should probably do for yourself anyways. A miscarriage is your body getting rid of a baby that is not right for you or your family.
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