How to Support a Colleague After a Miscarriage
The grief and trauma of losing a pregnancy can be overwhelming
Last week an announcement was made that SNP MP Angela Crawley is introducing a private member's bill that seeks to grant three days of statutory paid leave to parents who experience a miscarriage before 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Miscarriage is a devastating experience for anyone to go through, and it can be especially challenging for a person to return to work afterwards. The grief and trauma of losing a pregnancy can be overwhelming, and it can be difficult for a person to focus on their work and interact with their colleagues as they normally would.
As a colleague, being supportive and understanding of the person who has experienced a miscarriage will help them be heard and taken care of at work. Please note, although women physically go through a miscarriage, expectant fathers feel it, too.
Here are some tips on how you can help:
Listen and validate their feelings: It's important to acknowledge that the person has gone through a traumatic experience and to validate their feelings. Let them know that it's okay to feel sad, angry, or whatever they may be feeling. Listen to them if they want to talk about their experience, but also respect their boundaries if they don't want to talk about it.
Be patient: Returning to work after a miscarriage can be difficult, and it may take some time for the person to readjust. Be patient with them as they get back into the swing of things and try not to put too much pressure on them.
Offer practical help: If the person is having a hard time getting back to work, offer to help with tasks or projects. It can be a small way to make their return a little easier.#
Show empathy and understanding: Showing empathy and understanding can go a long way in helping the person to feel supported. Let them know that you care about them and are there to support them.
In addition to the above tips, it can be helpful for the company to have policies in place for employees who have experienced a miscarriage to make sure that they have the support they need. This can include time off for bereavement, time off for appointments and recovery, and professional support, especially if this isn’t their first loss.
Remember that every person's experience with miscarriage is unique and different, so it's important to communicate with the colleague who has experienced it and respond in the way they need.
Grief is a process and it is important to be a good listener and be there for the person in their journey. Showing understanding and compassion can be the greatest support someone can receive.
Eva Nabunya is a Grief Recovery and Trauma Specialist and an author of Tears Of A Mother: Where Love Triumphs Over Loss, shining a light on the grief of child loss and how love can triumph over such loss. You can learn more about Eva here.