We have different ways of dealing with grief. When parents lose a baby either through a miscarriage or death, it’s quite difficult to know what will help them get through the grief. Perhaps, the most important thing you can do is to be supportive,lend a listening ear, and comfort the parents. While you might not understand the parents'way of expressing grief, you should be respectful. Try to be sensitive towards their feelings.
What to Say to Someone Who Lost a Baby
If you are wondering what to say to someone who lost a baby to ease their grief, don't overthink it. This is not the right time to be rational or offer explanations; simply say what you mean and be thoughtful with your statements. Many parents who have dealt with such loss say that a simple statement like "I am so sorry for your loss"is enough to console and reassure them. Such a statement is sincere and shows that the person saying it really recognizes the sadness of the situation. The messages can be conveyed in a note or in person. Below are just a few statements that you can use to console a grieving parent or family.
- Be honest and speak out your thoughts. Say, "I can't begin to imagine what you and your family are going through."
- Be sympathetic and supportive. Say, "I'm really sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers."
- Reassure the parents with such statements: "I'm praying for your baby through this period," or "I've lit a candle in memory of your baby."
- Let the parents know that you are there for them: "You can count on me. I am here for you."
- Encourage with statements like "You're going to get through this," or "The baby was fortunate to have you as his parents. You are amazing parents."
What Not to Say to a Grieving Parent
While we often have the best intentions, some of the things that we say to a grieving parent are not always helpful. In fact, some may make the parent feel worse about the situation. Some of the statements that you are not to say to a grieving parent are as follows.
- "You'll get another child.Don’t worry about it." This disregards the importance of the baby who just died. It may not be very encouraging for a couple that face challenges with the pregnancy or one that go through a hard time conceiving. It reminds them that they may not be able to have another child.
- "Miscarriages happen all the time." This too downplays the weight of the loss.
- "The baby might have had serious complications; this may have been the best turnout." You may be right about the complications, but losing a pregnancy will never feel like the best outcome for any parent. Unless you are very close to the mother and have discussed the medical issues before, refrain from bringing them up.
- "At least, it wasn't a real baby. You never really get to hold him, so don’t be too upset." Most parents wish they had a chance to hold the baby, making such a loss just as difficult as losing a real baby.
- "At least, it happened early." Research shows that women feel the same loss whether they have a miscarriage early or later in their pregnancy.
- "Why did you give it a name and grave? It wasn’t a real baby yet." Let the parents grieve and cope with the loss in their own style. Some couples will want to have a place to visit, and a grave with a headstone gives them that solace. Respect the family’s choices.
- "Take care of the children you have and forget the one you have lost." From the time a woman knows she's pregnant again, she already has an image of the new member of the family and how he will blend with the family. The loss is therefore real and deeply felt.
- "You can always adopt." The couple need to heal before they can begin thinking of their future as parents.
Watch the video of a mom sharing her view on what not to say to a person who has lost her baby:
What Else Can You Do for a Friend Who Has Lost a Baby?
1. Just Be with Your Friend Silently
Sometimes, there's not much you can say, and what your grieving friend may need is a supportive shoulder and silence. Not everyone will want to listen to supportive statements.According to Jennifer, who went through a miscarriage with her first pregnancy, all she needed was silence. "I just needed to express myself and have someone by my side regardless of what I said or did."
2. Offer Your Help
While life goes on after the loss, your friend will need someone to help her resume her tasks. You can help by taking her other children to school or sports, doing shopping, and much more. You can also offer to babysit the other children, giving the parents time to rest and cope with the situation, or ease the burden of making meals by bringing a casserole. It's important to be there for the parents soon after the loss and for an extended period as well.
3. Do Remember the Child
Note the date of the loss along with other holidays as this helps you remember to check on the parent. You can send a note or call to let the family know that you still think about them. Mothers always note down their baby's due dates and the date of the loss. Usually, the first few years are the most painful. They will mourn on that day in their own special way, so make a point of letting the parents know that you have them in your thoughts or prayers.