For those who have lost a baby, the grief that mum and dad carry will always be with them.
Even well-meaning comments can cause unintended pain. Here are some seemingly innocent things to avoid to anyone you know who’s lost a baby.
- You can have another baby.
Meant as reassurance that the world will be okay again one day, this comment is incredibly painful to the parents left empty armed. They don’t want another baby, they wanted this one. And even if they do have another baby in the future, it will never replace the one they lost.
- You’re lucky you already have kids.
Yes anyone with kids is lucky to have them. But kids are not interchangeable. This feels like you are suggesting that the loss of this child is okay because they still have others. Ask yourself which child of yours you would choose to lose and you will have a sense of how insensitive this comment feels to the grieving parents.
- Time heals all wounds.
Parents will always feel the loss of their baby. Many people celebrate their baby’s birth date or have other special ways of remembering their child in the years to come. This comment suggests that the parents will somehow forget this baby or their grief at its loss given enough time.
- It wasn’t meant to be.
Or other religious or philosophical comments. Irrespective of your beliefs, grieving parents don’t want their loss to be reasoned away. There is no reason good enough for them that they are not holding their baby and taking it home with them.
- It’s better now than later.
Regardless of how far along the pregnancy was or the health of the baby, there is no good time to lose a child. And regardless of the reason for the loss, the mum and dad will always love and want that child and wish it was here with them.
- Talk about your cousin’s brother’s wife or anyone else you know who lost a baby.
The parents are dealing with enough without having to comprehend others who have lost a child. As sadly common as the loss of a baby may be, it doesn’t lessen the grief for any parent who is experiencing it.
- Say anything that suggests they are no longer parents.
They will always be the mum and dad of their baby. The absence of a child does not mean they are not parents.
- Give advice. About anything.
Definitely not about how the parents should be feeling or grieving or getting over it. Even if you have been through the loss of a baby, everyone’s experience and grief is their own.
- Act as if the baby never existed.
The baby may not be here, but it will always be in the hearts and thoughts of its parents. Acting otherwise is hurtful. Imagine the loss of someone special to you and how you would like others to act.
- Not say anything at all.
This is truly the worst. Grief can be uncomfortable. But not contacting and supporting the parents will only make them feel more alone in their grief.