What NOT to say to the grieving parent

Think of it this way - would you say the same thing to someone who had lost their husband or wife, their brother or sister or grandparent? If the answer is no - then don't say it.


What not to say
In this section:

Don't introduce blame or guilt

Don't try and offer explanations

You can't 'replace' a baby

So what can you say?

Search any pregnancy or baby forum and you will come across numerous topics on insensitive things people have said to someone who had suffered a miscarriage. And it tends to be a long list with the same cliches recycled time and time again.

In the hope of offering words of comfort many people tend to say the wrong thing. Even with the best of intentions it can be hard to know what to say.

It is a very difficult topic and any statement they might think are okay to say can easily be to be taken the wrong way.

Remember the grieving parent is in a deep state of distress right now and hearing anything that downplays their baby or their loss can be very hurtful and insulting.

Below is a list of common statements that bereaved parents have said they experienced. The list comes from a combination of personal experience, grief resources and various online pregnancy forums.

Don't introduce blame or guilt (or any negative feelings)

Never say:

Comments like these are not going to help at all and will only make the person feel worse and guilty - which is only going to add to their anguish. Regardless of whether something or someone was at fault, nothing will bring their baby back, so don't make them feel any worse. Parents will be blaming themselves enough already. You are better of saying nothing at all.

Don't try and offer explanations

 You can't 'replace' a baby

So what can you say?

After reading the above list you may be wondering what there is left to say that won't offend. The truth is, if you support them and feel for their loss, you can give them sympathy without offering explanations, judgements, opinions or comments. Just say the truth: that you are sorry for their loss, that you are sorry that they have to go through this. Remember that they have lost not only a baby, but their plans, hopes and dreams for the future. Like any disappointment in life, a true friend will be there to support the person who is going through the loss - whatever that loss may be. If a friend's house burnt down and they lost everything, you would not say it was meant to be. Please see our What to say page for more.