5 ways to tell your child about your miscarriage

April 21, 2017
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    Your child has been so excited about you expecting a baby, and has been talking to your pregnant tummy and touching it every day.

    But now, sadly, you’ve suffered a miscarriage. On top of your own psychological and physical discomfort, your inquisitive four-year-old is full of questions about what has happened to his much awaited sibling.

    It’s so hard to deal with these when you are still going through the grieving process yourself. Here are some of the tough questions he might ask, and some suggested answers.

    Always take his questions seriously, provide reassurance and let him know he can ask you questions about this any time he wants.

    Don’t make it a taboo subject, because that will simply confuse and distress him.

    Related: Mum gets “miracle” child after losing 3 babies in 11 months

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    “Why are you crying?”

    Your child is smart enough to know that something is wrong, and he is worried.

    Your answer should tell him in simple terms that the baby has died and that he will not have a new brother or sister as he was expecting.

    He may be upset or he may take the news in a very matter-of-fact way.

    Say this “There was something wrong with the baby and I couldn’t keep her in my tummy any longer. She died before she could come out.”

    Related: Pregnancy after miscarriage: What you should know if you’re conceiving again

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    “Why did the baby die?”

    Your child wants to understand how this happened, and will not be fobbed off. He’ll keep asking this until his curiosity has been satisfied.

    It’s important that you give a factual explanation, pitched at the level of your child’s age and understanding, but you should not go into too much detail.

    Remember that he cared about the baby, as well. Say this “The baby just wasn’t strong enough to grow and come out of my tummy the way you did when you were born. That sometimes happens.”

    Related: Recurrent miscarriage: What you need to know

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    “Did the baby die because I did something wrong?”

    Your child’s instinctive reaction is to think that perhaps he did something wrong and that the baby’s death was his fault.

    So, make it clear that the miscarriage had nothing at all to do with him, and that he bears no responsibility whatsoever.

    He needs your explicit reassurance that he is not to blame.

    Say this “No, this had nothing to do with you. You have done absolutely nothing wrong. You are a wonderful child. It’s just one of those things. Nobody is to blame.”

    Related: When you have a late miscarriage

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    “Was it painful when the baby died?”

    Just like adults, your child does not fully understand what death involves, but he is worried that it was painful for you and for the baby.

    Reassure him that neither you nor the baby felt any pain.

    He’ll take his lead from you, so if you say this confidently, he will believe you.

    Say this “It didn’t hurt me or the baby at all. Everything happened very quickly and so the baby was not in any pain. I wasn’t, either. ”

    Related: Miscarriage: I lost two babies in three months

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    “When will you have another baby?”

    Your child was excited about the prospect of a new sibling and his interest will swing quickly from the miscarriage to your next pregnancy, even though this might not be your priority right now.

    You may want tell him that you want to have another baby but that this won’t happen immediately, so he will have to be patient.

    Say this “Don’t worry, we will have another baby in a little while, but not straightaway. I promise I will tell you when I have a new baby in my tummy.”

    Related: Angel gowns for babies who have passed away in Singapore: How you can help

    (Photos: 123rf.com)

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