sharing your stories and remembering your children
By Maria Servold
EPLA Executive Director
One of the hardest things families experience during a miscarriage is how to explain it to other siblings, especially if they were already excited for a baby to join the family.
Children can have a hard time understanding “where the baby went” and why it won’t be born like they were expecting. These conversations are difficult, but we honor the lives of our miscarried babies by talking about them with their siblings.
Remember, there is no script for these conversations. Honesty and simplicity will go a long way toward helping children understand a loss.
That said, many parents may find it helpful to look through a book with their children that explains miscarraige in a kid-friendly way.
Last year, I interviewed Dr. I. Cori Baill, an OB-GYN and author of a beautiful children’s book about miscarriage, called Why is Mommy Crying?
After suffering a miscarriage early in her medical career, Baill said she found herself looking for resources to help her explain the loss to the two small children she already had.
“I was very surprised at the lack of resources, starting with my religion, which said there was no ceremony, there was no prayer, there was no ritual,” she said. I was really surprised that there was not much out there to help me explain [miscarriage] to my children.”
Afterward, she said, she had a “germ of an idea” about a children’s book that could help explain early pregnancy loss. Baill said she watched and waited, certain someone would write and publish such a book.
“I had this idea for a children’s book that I thought was really needed,” she said. “I didn’t think I was the right person to write it. I didn’t think I was an expert. I kept my eye out for the book; kept looking for someone to write it.”
But no one did. So, eventually, Baill wrote it herself.
In addition to helping explain miscarriage itself to children, Baill said she hopes the book can serve as a springboard for discussion among parents and their children. In the back of the book, she provides a list of resources for helping children through grief, for example.
There are other children’s books available to help parents discuss miscarriage and infant dealth, like, We were gonna have a baby, but we had an angel instead, Our Heaven Baby (with an explicitly Christian focus), A Rainbow Baby Story (designed to tell children about a sibling who died before they were born), and Dancing on the Moon (focusing on infant death).
We hope these titles give you a starting point when talking about miscarriage with children, and that you share them with other families experiencing loss.