My sister and her husband just lost a baby halfway through their pregnancy. It's the kind of heartbreak I can only imagine, and it leaves me feeling heartbroken for them, and completely helpless.
When someone close to you suffers a miscarriage or death of a baby, you may not be sure what to do or say. Too often, well-meaning friends and family will say something hurtful in an effort to say something. In our article The Hurt That Never Heals, we've included a sidebar for friends and family on what to say when there's really nothing you can say:
These words are not helpful when someone has lost a baby:
- You can always have another baby.
- At least you never got to know it.
- You have an angel in heaven.
- Think how much fun you'll have trying again.
- You didn't like being pregnant anyway.
Do try the following:
- Sympathetic silence.
- Chocolate ice cream and shared tears.
- Simply saying, "I'm sorry."
And here, mothers who've been through miscarriages and stillbirth offer their own advice on what you should or shouldn't say or do to help your loved one. Got a tip of your own to share? Chime in below.
- About What Was Lost: 20 Writers on Miscarriage, Healing, and Hope, edited by Jessica Berger Gross (Plume)
- Coming to Term: Uncovering the Truth About Miscarriage, by Jon Cohen and Sandra Ann Carson (Houghton Mifflin)
- Empty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby, by Deborah L. Davis, Ph.D. (Fulcrum Publishing)
- Help, Comfort & Hope After Losing Your Baby in Pregnancy or the First Year, by Hannah Lothrop (Da Capo Press)
- Miscarriage: A Shattered Dream, by Sherokee Ilse and Linda Hammer Burns, Ph.D. (Wintergreen Press)
Dana Rousmaniere is FitPregnancy.com's Managing Editor.