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Coping with grief after pregnancy loss

Every form of pregnancy loss is a devastating experience, no matter how it happens, why it happens, or how far along into the pregnancy it occurs. There is no right or wrong way to feel about it. According to Tommy’s, the UK’s largest charity funding medical research into pregnancy loss, the most common emotions that people experience include: 

• Shock
• Failure and guilt
• Emptiness
• Loss of control 
• Fear
• Jealousy
• Loss of trust in your body
• Confusion
• Loneliness

Recognise different grieving styles

There are many ways to experience grief. Some people cope by letting their emotions flow and talking about their loss (intuitive grieving), while others may be less visibly emotional but process their grief through actions such as arranging a memorial service or returning to work to keep themselves occupied (instrumental grieving). It is also common to experience a combination of these two grieving styles.

Knowing your grieving style can help you find ways of coping. If you’re an intuitive griever, you may have moments of intense crying, express your grief by talking to friends and family, or keep a journal about your feelings. Whereas if you are an instrumental griever, you may want to make a plan for the future and keep yourself busy in a manageable way.

Grieving with your partner

You and your partner may express grief in different ways, and mutual understanding and support is most needed at this time. Research has shown that men do not often grieve a miscarriage as openly as their female partners but still experience feelings of despair or difficulty in coping. It is also common for men to see their primary role as being a support for their partner following a miscarriage, rather than address their own grief. Furthermore, some men may avoid talking about their feelings and grief for fear of saying the wrong thing and causing more distress for their partner.

Recognising that there is a broad spectrum of grieving styles can help us avoid falsely labelling ourselves or our partners as “overly emotional” or “in denial.” Remembering that grief is felt and expressed differently by each individual will allow you and your partner to grieve in a manner that is effective and healthy for you.

Self-care after miscarriage

The grief following a miscarriage can take a huge toll on your body and mind. Here are some suggestions on how to care for your physical and mental health:

Physical Health

  • Drink, eat, sleep. Hydration, good nutrition and rest is important for your recovery. Give your body adequate time to recuperate.

  • Slowly start exercising again when you feel ready or with your doctor’s approval.

  • Consider trying a new activity, such as singing, yoga, or running, to remind yourself that your body can do something new.

  • Be kind to yourself by doing things that feel good, such as cooking your favourite foods, taking a relaxing bath or getting a massage.

  • See a doctor if you feel your physical health hasn’t returned when or as you expected.

Mental Health

  • Remove pregnancy tracking apps from your phone and unsubscribe from pregnancy related emails as soon as possible. These apps and emails can be emotionally triggering and are regular reminders of your loss. If you find it difficult to delete or unsubscribe yourself, you can ask your partner to do it for you.

  • Give yourself the space you need to grieve. This may mean unfollowing or muting social media accounts that feature babies or avoiding social events like baby showers and birthday parties for the time being. 

  • Acknowledge your emotions and express them in a way that feels right for you. Consider journaling or art as a way to release your emotions, or you might find that writing and repeating positive affirmations works for you.  

  • Join a miscarriage support group meeting or connect with others on the Hope Hong Kong private Facebook group. Reading other women’s stories or books about miscarriage can also help you feel less alone as you heal.

  • Find ways to honour or commemorate your loss. You may choose to name your baby, create memorial keepsakes, arrange a memorial service to remember your baby, or light a candle for your baby on special dates or during Baby Loss Awareness Week (Link to our calendar).

  • Miscarriage can have an impact on your mental health, and some people may develop symptoms of depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is important you seek help if needed by visiting your GP, finding a private counsellor, or reaching out to a charity such as Mind HK.

Talking about your loss

Before your share the news of your pregnancy loss, you may think about:

  • Who do you want to tell?

  • Do you want to share the news yourself or via a trusted friend or family member?

  • What are the messages that you want to get across?

  • How do you want to share the news – through text message, phone call, video call, or in person?

Friends or family

“I want to speak to my family and friends…but they don’t understand.” Many of us just want acknowledgement of what we’ve lost and that we’re grieving. Talking about your loss with your loved ones can provide comfort and help you feel less alone. Unfortunately, it’s common for friends and family to say unhelpful or hurtful comments (link to ‘what not to say’ section), either because of a lack of knowledge about miscarriage or because they’re trying to minimise your loss to make you feel better.

When telling your friends or family, you can take control by telling them what you need before they say the wrong thing.

  • I just need to hear... “I am sorry for your loss”

  • I don’t want to talk about it… Can I just have a hug?

  • I just need an ear and a hug or a hand to hold.

  • I just need to be alone for a while to digest what’s going on.

If you find it difficult to talk with your friends or family, you can discuss your feelings with a professional counsellor, join a support group to speak with those who have had similar experiences, or access the Hope Hong Kong private Facebook group.


Depending on their age and developmental level, discussing pregnancy loss with children can be difficult. Tommy’s and Child Bereavement UK offer useful advice on discussing pregnancy loss with children, including the following:

  • Use simple words to talk about what happened.

  • State clearly that the baby died to avoid misunderstanding that can lead to anxiety. (e.g. 'The baby was taken away by an angel.' Children may worry that the angel could take away someone else at any time.)

  • Explain events that will/ will not happen.

  • Have an open conversation and answer any questions your child may have.

  • Allow children to express their emotions, help them to name their feelings and tell them that it is okay to feel how they feel.

  • Be clear that the child has done nothing wrong that has led to the baby's death.

  • Reassure the child that they are safe.

  • Involve the child in your memorial activities.

  • Maintain your daily routine as much as possible.

  • Get professional help when needed.

It's important to remember that everyone copes with grief differently, and there is no "right" way to grieve. Take the time you need to heal, and don't hesitate to seek help if you're struggling.

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