How to Support a Friend Who is
Grieving a Miscarriage or Infant Death
By Chellie Bonebrake
The death of an infant or a miscarriage is so sad. Many
times it's difficult to know what to say, how to say it
and of course you may be wondering what not to say.
Often those worries keep people from reaching out to
support friends and loved ones who are experiencing this
loss. Receiving support and condolences is very
important to the grief process. This article is written
to assist you in supporting a grieving parent .
First of all what helps:
1. I'm sorry. This simple sentence conveys so much. It
means you care, you acknowledge the loss and you
understand the person you care about is in pain.
2. What can I do to support you? Asking this question
allows the grieving parent to ask specifically for what
they need. They may need help making phone calls, or
funeral arrangements. They may need help with childcare
for other children. They may want you to remember their
child's birthday with them. By asking this question you
offer your friendship and caring for the grieving
parents specific needs.
3. Listen. Grieving parents need to talk about their
feelings, their lost hopes and dreams. They need to
express feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, and
devastation. Being available to listen to those feelings
and not trying to make the situation better or offering
solutions is a true gift.
4. Send a sympathy gift. Receiving a sympathy gift that
specifically honors the miscarriage or infant loss
provides enfolding comfort to grieving parents. Knowing
that someone cared enough to honor their grief with a
gift validates this tragic loss and provides comfort in
a time when comfort is difficult to find.
What not to say:
Sometimes in an effort to try and make someone feel
better we may say things or want to say things that in
this situation don't help. If you read this and find you
have already said some of these things call or write
your friend and apologize. Let your friend know your
intention was to offer sympathy and support and if some
of your comments were offensive you are sorry. This
apology will go a long way in letting your grieving
friend know you care.
1. I know how you feel or offer comparison stories. The
death of a child is a unique experience for everyone and
grieving people often bristle when someone utters this
statement. The child this parent is grieving had unique
hopes and dreams and characteristics and this parent was
in their own unique circumstance. Each person's grief is
2. At least. Any statements that have at least in them;
at least she didn't suffer, at least you didn't have to
go through labor... What these statements imply is look
on the bright side. To the grieving parent there is not
a bright side of this situation. Only death and loss.
3. Should statements. You should go on a vacation, you
should focus on the healthy children you have, you
should move on ... The grieving parent will need to
decide how to manage the grief process and it at this
time it is likely theyare in survival mode and just
trying to get through the day, the hour, the month.
Thinking about what should be done only adds to the
4. You can have another baby. Hopefully these grieving
parents will have this opportunity when they are ready.
However, right now they need to focus on their grief,
their loss and no child will replace this child who
Thanks for supporting a grieving friend. Caring friends
are an essential part of the healing process and make a
difficult time a little easier. If you have additional
questions please feel free to write firstname.lastname@example.org.
We appreciate your business and the support you offer to
those who are grieving.