Children’s Responses After a Miscarriage
If you have other children they may be affected by the miscarriage. Their reactions to the loss of your baby will be individual and will be influenced by age, personality and the parental, cultural and religious influences present in their upbringing.
Even if they didn’t know that you were pregnant, children are likely to be aware that their parents are upset, not reacting in their usual way and that something is wrong within the family. It is possible that during this time their normal routine has been disrupted and they have been separated from one or both parents.
Children react to the stress they feel themselves and to what they see happening around them. Young children may become unusually clingy, easily upset and distressed. Older children may be aggressive, disruptive or unusually quiet. These are common grief reactions in children.
Following a miscarriage, your own feelings of grief, sadness, hurt and confusion may make it difficult for you to provide the comfort and explanations that your children may need. Talking to your children openly about the baby and about how you feel may be helpful. Provide explanations of what has happened appropriate to their age, ability to understand and your family belief. It is better to give simple, short, accurate explanations frequently rather than lengthy talks. Their questions will help you to understand their specific concerns. Answer openly, even if the answer is “I don’t know”.
If you are concerned about your children’s response to the miscarriage you could consult a Red Nose Grief and Loss bereavement counsellor and/or read the booklet, What About The Other Kids?
“I had told my daughter we were to have a new baby, and then I had to tell her that the baby had died. She was so angry and I couldn’t explain it to her properly.”
This article was prepared using extracts from Miscarriage: Information for Parents and Families.1 The full text is available online or contact Red Nose Grief and Loss Services on 1300 308 307 for a printed version.
Last reviewed: 17/1/19
- Braithwaite, J., Richardson, R. & Waterson, P. (eds.). (2011). Miscarriage: Information for Parents and Families ( M.McSpedden, H. Wilkinson, L. Pash, T. Diamond & M. Zang, Rev.) (7th ed.). Lilyfield, NSW: SIDS and Kids NSW.