Family & Friends

The first and likely the most important thing you can do is realize that this loss is just as "real" as losing an older child, and that the parents' grief and healing process will be painful and take time...LOTS of time. They will not be recovered or done "thinking about their baby" after a month or even a year.

Be aware that they will never again be quite the same people you knew before they had this baby. Their lives have changed; their perspectives and goals might also be different. Recognize and respect this.

It is especially important not to minimize the loss of the second, third, fourth... pregnancy or baby. Just because it may be "familiar territory" to the parents doesn't make it any easier to deal with. They will grieve their sixth loss the same as they did the first.

Be careful not to forget the father of the baby. Men's feelings are very often overlooked because they seem to cope more easily. The truth is that they are quite often just as devastated as their partner.

What the parents need most now is a good listener and a shoulder, not a lecture or advice.

Listen when they talk about the death of their baby. Don't be afraid, and try not to be uncomfortable when talking about the loss. Ask questions if they want to talk. Most parents need and want to talk about their baby, their hopes and dreams for their lost child, even if it was a miscarriage. Ask the parents "Do you feel like talking now or would later be better?" Just knowing that you are willing to listen is often all they need to pour their heart out.

Realize that the parents are sad because they miss their baby, and that he or she can never be replaced by anyone else. They had pictured their son or daughter, in their minds, learning to walk, starting school, making friends, graduating, getting married, and having their own children and/or career. They did not lose "just a baby," but a whole future.