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8 Things Grieving Parents want you to know

(But probably won't tell you)

Image courtesy of David Costillo Dominici & FreeDigitalPhotos.netImage courtesy of David Costillo Dominici &

  1. Just because they attend social events, smile and laugh does not make them ‘over’ the loss. They may also be selective about which events they want to attend. For instance, a party that is unlikely to have babies attend (or pregnant women) such as a 21st, may be easier to deal with than a baby’s first birthday party. Don’t be offended by ‘pathetic’ excuses of why the parents can’t come.

  2. Interacting with others on a good day does not mean that bad days don’t exist. There are usually far more bad days than good; and ‘good’ days will not actually ever be as good as what they were before their child died. There is not a day that goes by where a mother or father doesn’t see something that reminds them of their baby who died; it is usually accompanied with tears.

  3. They didn’t ‘lose’ their baby, their baby died. Telling people that they lost their child may seem like the kinder word choice, but it lessens the realness of what actually happened – their baby died. They are not coming back; they are not like car keys that will miraculously turn up one day. The topic has been taboo for so long, so stating that their baby died also helps raise awareness of the grief that follows the death.

  4. Remember the baby on their birthday and at Christmas (or other special occasions). The parents will be grieving the missed milestones for years to come, and the baby’s absence at these special occasions will be noticed. If you can incorporate the baby’s memory on these days, even if it is just by mentioning the baby’s name, you will help the parents to realise they are not the only ones who remember their baby.

  5. Say the baby’s name. Acknowledge the baby as a person, as you would for anyone else who has died. Don’t be afraid of upsetting the parents, they hurt more when there is no mention of their baby. There is not a minute their baby is not thought about so hearing someone else mention the baby’s name is literally music to the ears and a proud moment for the parents.

  6. If the parents choose to have another child, they are not replacing their baby, nor does the grief lessen as a result of another child being born. If anything, the birth of a rainbow baby brings additional grief and anxiety on top of the feelings already felt. It’s an emotional rollercoaster and as their rainbow baby reaches new milestones, it’s a reminder of the milestones the angel baby does not get to reach.

  7. The parents are not likely to return to being the ‘person’ they were before. Having a child die changes you. It is a pain the cannot be explained nor does it ever go away. Don’t pressure them to do things they use to do; they’ve changed as a person and the new world they live in has a different focus. The parents would love you to be part of the new world they have been forced into, but it requires you to have patience, empathy & understanding.

  8. The parents may be fighting more than just a grief battle. The parents may be coming to terms with the death of their baby as well as dealing with the guilt that comes with it. This can put pressure on marriages, relationships and work. The parents may also have an ongoing battle of infertility, or may have learned that they have a genetic issue that caused their baby to die (leading to high recurrence rates in future pregnancies). Don’t judge the parents on their actions, their words or their emotions – battles do not have timelines, they just have allies, you should be theirs!


Oh, and one more: They have probably hidden a lot of baby related posts on Facebook, and possibly even hidden some people from their time line completely.. Don't take offence to it. Grieving parents need to do these things in order to heal.