What You Can Do when Someones Baby Dies

Whether miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death, it’s never easy to know what to do or say when someone’s baby dies. Personally, I don’t know anyone who is all that comfortable about the subject of death – let alone, when it is a baby who has passed away.

But this time of grief is a very painful one for the baby’s parents, and many need to talk about their loss. They also need the support of their loved ones now more than ever before.

You can help bereaved parents by encouraging them to talk about their loss. This will help them process the grief more quickly. You see, in contrast, ignoring it doesn’t make the pain go away so please don’t protect them from their grief – instead, please help them face it. When well-intentioned friends and family try to protect them like this, many bereaved parents actually think this means that their loved ones are insensitive or disinterested. And nothing could be farther from the truth… after all, a caring person like you is reading this article! Your loved one is very lucky to have you in their life, indeed.

Your help can really make a difference regarding how well the parents cope with their loss.

So what can you do to help? There are many things to choose from:

  • Gently ask them if they want to talk about it
  • Listen, and talk with them about their baby
  • Appreciate that they miss this baby, who can never be replaced by another
  • Bring them a casserole, etc (they may be too depressed to cook)
  • Offer to help with their house cleaning (they may be too depressed to clean)
  • Offer to mind their surviving children
  • Give them a comforting or informative book
  • Give them a plant: nurturing a living thing can be very therapeutic for grief
  • If you know anyone else who has lost a baby and is coping well, ask them if you can give their phone number to the newly bereaved parents
  • Phone, visit or send a card on what are often painful anniversaries: of the day their baby died, and (if the baby died in utero) the day their baby was due
  • Appreciate that this kind of grief takes a long time to get over
  • Understand that they’ll never quite be the same people you knew before
  • Do discuss other topics too, in a sensitive manner, because life does go on. A sense of normalcy is very important for healing


And our top tip…

  • Send a sympathy card in the beginning, but also a few weeks later (when most sympathy cards have stopped coming). For it is at this stage that the shock tends to kick in…

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