Life Advice



Ask Amy: Readers respond with helpful advice

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: “Looking for Grief Etiquette” wrote to you about her grief after experiencing a miscarriage.

As a retired obstetrician, I have had considerable experience with this. One point I discussed with patients early in pregnancy was the fact that pregnancy loss is much more common than most people realize.

I suggested that they carefully consider whom they tell about their pregnancy until after the first trimester, when pregnancy loss is much less common, thus avoiding the problem of telling many people the bad news.

I also found advice I was given 15 years ago, when my wife died, very helpful.

The insight was that people who asked, "What can I do?" of a grieving person really are asking because they don't know how to be helpful.

My answer, at that difficult time, was: "Invite me to dinner.”


I think it was win-win.

This helped me, and I think they were glad to do something that I appreciated. This woman who had miscarried had her answer: "Send me some flowers.” She should not have hesitated to ask this of her friends.

– Neil Kochenour, MD

Dear Dr. Kochenour: Thank you for your helpful wisdom. Regarding miscarriage – I agree that it is most judicious to wait to announce a pregnancy, but even when couples haven’t announced their pregnancy, they often still choose to disclose a miscarriage to their circle of friends and family.


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