What to say to someone experiencing loss

2017 was such a challenging year for me, mostly because of my two miscarriages. The bright spot between them was the way my sweet friends and family reached out to support and comfort me. I know it was difficult for some of them to find the right words to say, and so many of them got it right despite feeling awkward or worried that they'd blunder it. I thought I'd share some of the best ones.

Please know that reaching out with anything is appreciated. The most horrible part of loss is feeling isolated, so saying, doing, writing anything at all even if feels like it might be the wrong thing, is always better than not. Even, and perhaps especially, if we haven't spoken in quite some time, taking a moment to drop a line during a difficult time might be just the right moment to reconnect.

I'm so sorry. This one works well because it is straight to the point and really covers the bases. Expressing sympathy and regret echoed my own feelings and made me feel less alone.

You are not alone. One of the most surprising things about sharing my story was hearing how many people had experienced similar events. I was so shocked because I felt that talking about miscarriage was so taboo because few people ever went through it. In talking about it, many women shared that their moms, aunts, sisters, friends, and themselves had experienced miscarriages and infant loss. While this sentiment was the most comforting to me, one part that was hard for me was hearing anecdotes about multiple miscarriages. Though presented with the best of intentions, stories like "my aunt had nine miscarriages and then finally had a healthy baby!" actually kind of scared me. Tread lightly with that one.

I am here for you. So many friends reached out to say that if I wanted to talk, or needed anything, that they would be glad to help. But even better than that is...

Let me do X for you. Presenting specific plans unburdened me from having to think of what would be helpful, or placing the onus on me to ask for something. Saying, "Can I come over tomorrow at 6pm to sit and watch a movie with you?" or "I'm ordering dinner, does pizza sound good?" made it easy for me to say "yes, I'd love company," or "no thanks, I want to be alone right now."

Sending a card, flowers, a gift, or treat. The week following my miscarriage announcement was actually kind of fun {what a weird thing for me to say!} because my door literally wouldn't stop ringing. Friends sent bouquets, gourmet cookies, handwritten notes, and tiny tokens of love. My favorite gifts were ones that were just for me, like a candle or bubble bath -- those made me feel extra pampered and loved.

It'll happen for you. Telling me not to give up hope and not take any drastic steps in the heat of grief was a solid reminder that this was not the end of the road for me. By the same token, not pushing a specific agenda like "my friend did acupuncture and it totally worked" or "have you considered adoption?" while still holding space for me that I would have my own family one day, struck just the right balance.

Reflect and repeat. Some of the most comforting conversations I had where when my friends or family mirrored back my feelings. "I'm so disappointed," I'd say. "It is disappointing." They'd repeat. It was so deeply validating and made me feel so, so safe to feel the things I was feeling and not worry that they might not be the correct or expected feelings.

Again, thank you to each and every person who commented, DM'd, messaged, emailed, texted, wrote or spoke with and to me. Although it was a terribly challenging time, I was deeply touched and moved by the kindness that was showed me.

And now for some pictures we took on the beach in San Fransisco just before New Years. I had expected to be pregnant at Christmas twice over, so looking at these photos is slightly bittersweet. I might have been taking maternity photos at this time as I looked forward to a Valentine's Day due date, or maybe I'd be making a big public announcement about our June baby. But no. Instead, it's me, the dog, and an empty belly in a rainbow sweater... for now.

Outfit Details
Sunglasses: Kate Spade
Sweater: Gap
Jeans: Old Navy {these are life-changing!!}
Boots: Jack Rogers


PS, please let me know if it felt weird to mix a fashion post with a serious post about loss. It's hard for me to simply write about outfits, and it also feels strange to write such a somber post without the levity of the areas I feel passionate about, while including some fun photos. I may not have struck the right balance here, and I'm open to hearing that. Thanks, as always, for reading. 


  1. Hey Annika- Sharayah here. I loved your article. I've been through a miscarriage as you know, and everything you said is spot on. I had a miscarriage 4 months before I got pregnant with my youngest daughter Harper. The reason I had a miscarriage was due to low porogesterone levels. When I got pregnant with Harper, the minute I called my OB they put me on progesterone suppositories the whole first trimester. If it weren't for those, she wouldn't be here today. Wondering if maybe you've had those levels looked at and are taking anything for that? That may or may not be your situation but I thought I would let you know just in case. Love you girly.

  2. Hey Sharayah! Thanks so much for sharing that. I'm sorry about your loss. That's so hard.

    I had my levels checked during my second pregnancy and they were low, so I was put on oral progesterone supplements. They didn't help. Actually, they helped for a little while, long enough to get a heartbeat, but I lost the baby shortly after that.

    In my case it seems like low pro is more of symptom of a miscarriage, not the cause of it. We are still looking around to find what caused it. I might not ever get an answer. Or it might be as simple as "bad luck."

    Again, thank you so much for sharing. It's helpful to know I'm not alone and to hear success stories! XOXO


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