Chapter 1: Supporting someone through pregnancy or infant loss

Suggestions for friends and family

The palliative care physician says
Megan discusses counselling and providing support to the other children in the family.(3:22)Video transcript

What helps is saying his name and talking about him. I love it when people say they lit a candle for him or they saw a butterfly and thought of him. We want him included in our lives. He is our son, and we will always keep him with us.

If you are a relative or friend of someone who is grieving a pregnancy or infant loss, you are likely dealing with your own feelings of grief. Perhaps you’re grieving the loss of longing for a grandchild or a niece or nephew. If you experienced a loss of your own sometime in the past, your grief from that time may resurface.  

Below are a few tips to help you. Click the switch buttons to view.

Things to tryThings to avoid

Acknowledge the loss and offer to help. If you have concerns for their health or well-being, let them know and ask if they would consider getting professional support. Offer to help arrange it and accompany them.

Acknowledge the baby. If he or she has been given a name, use it. Call on anniversary dates, including due dates and other family birthdays.

Show interest in legacy items and rituals if asked, and respect expressions of bonding, pride, love, dreams, and hope, as well as loss.

Saying nothing and going on as though nothing has happened.


Expressing your own opinions about what is and isn’t “healthy.”


Giving advice or criticism.

Things to tryThings to avoid

Support the grieving parent’s choices, for example, about funeral arrangements, expressions of grief, or memory-making.

Offer support, either with practical tasks, such as grocery shopping or childcare, or emotionally, by spending time and listening with compassion and patience.


Giving advice or criticism.


Withdrawing or disappearing entirely.


Conversation Prompts

  • Listen and respond with: “We are here for you.” ... “She was beautiful.” ... “You must miss him so much.”  
  • Avoid minimizing the loss by saying things like:  “At least you can always have another baby.” ... “At least she is at peace.” ... “This would have been harder if he had lived longer.” ... “It was for the best.”

You may be unsure as to how you can best support the parent(s) of the baby who has died. You may be very worried about their coping or overall mental health. 


No matter how young and healthy the parents are, or how many children they already have, they had hopes and dreams for the baby that they lost and need that baby to be grieved and remembered.