Dear Carolyn: This week, I had a miscarriage. Now I just feel like the world is crashing down all around me, and I am having trouble putting one foot in front of the other. We hadn’t really told anyone yet, although we had known for months, and that almost might make it worse.

— Crashing Down

Crashing Down: I am so sorry you’re going through this.

I may be stating the obvious here — my apologies if so — but your not telling about the pregnancy doesn’t mean you have to not-tell about the miscarriage. Please think of your most supportive person or people beyond your partner, and tell — even if that person isn’t necessarily your closest person. You want someone who has crisis chops and knows how to be supportive, which may be a different skill set from the one your mom or best friend has. Invite people emotionally to help you through this, at a pace you feel you can manage.

If for whatever reason you don’t have this option or don’t want to exercise it, then maybe online support will suit you better. Resolve offers good community support.

It's also perfectly normal to feel emotionally overwhelmed. If you feel as if you're in immediate crisis, though, then your OB-GYN is the next person to call.

Sending a virtual hug.

Readers' thoughts:

· I’m so sorry for your loss. Please remember that all your feelings are going to be magnified because your hormones will be out of whack and your body working to heal. Please be kind to yourself.

· Also keep in mind that your hormones are crashing right now — two days after the surgery to complete my miscarriage, I sat on my bed and sobbed. It’s horrible, and as you say, a very private kind of grief. I would second the online message boards suggestion. I am so sorry for your loss.

· Please check out BabyCenter’s online miscarriage boards, too. They were integral to my own mental health. There are a lot of supportive women on there to connect to, and it can save you from having to deal with well-meaning but ultimately unhelpful family and friends.

· The phrase “well-meaning but ultimately unhelpful” stuck out at me. My parents were kind of oddballs, and I don’t seem to have learned how to give the perfect kind of “help” — encouragement, kind words, etc. I get so paralyzed by not knowing what is “right” that I end up not doing anything, or I do something I think might be “right” and then castigate myself for ages afterward worrying it wasn’t “right.” I dunno. I guess this is more about me than society, but it’s at least partly society, too. (Also it’s why I read these columns, to learn what the “right” thing is.)

The second-guessing you describe is its own issue.

I know because I have it, and my perseverating is basically what I’ve turned into an education for writing this column. It might be useful to you to talk to a therapist about the negative, repetitive thoughts — since fearing them, knowing they’re coming for you later, can interfere with how you function socially — even more than learning from “oddball” parents can.