If you have older children and experienced a miscarriage, your children need special consideration. They need to be told honestly and directly that the baby died and that they are not to blame. It’s important to reassure them that nothing they did caused the miscarriage, since many times they feel responsible to some level and blame themselves.
Children’s reactions to death and grief will be unpredictable. Their ages, previous experiences with death and their expectations for a brother or sister will play a role in their responses. It’s important to recognize that children grieve according to the stress and loss they feel, as well as to what they see happening around them. Children’s grief is affected by the circumstances of the miscarriage, how much they bonded with the baby before the loss and how their parents deal with the loss.
Many times, young children will bring up conversations about the baby’s death, often again and again. For children, once is not enough for many topics, including this one. Encourage them to ask questions and to express their emotions, but don’t force them. When answering their questions, you should respond with clear and honest answers, but give them only information they ask for. If you have a reason for your baby’s death, explain it in simple terms that your children will understand. Provide them with information appropriate for their ages and respect their ways of dealing with the loss. You may want to explain to teachers, family and friends what you have told your children regarding the miscarriage, so that they don’t feel obligated to make up their own explanation.
Children’s feelings are often overlooked and they are many times left out of the grieving process following a miscarriage. Older children should be given the opportunity to take part in remembering the baby by being included in healing rituals such as the memorial service, if one is planned. Making something special to hang on the wall, drawing pictures, helping to plant a special tree or flowering bush, putting something of theirs in a box of mementos for the baby are all good ways for children to be involved, so they don’t feel left out and this will also help them to think of the baby as a part of the family.