what to say friend who lost baby

What To Say To A Friend Who Lost A Baby

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What To Say To A Friend Who Lost A Baby

When someone you know has gone through a pregnancy or baby loss, it can be hard to know what to say. You want to be helpful and encouraging, but sometimes well-meaning words can feel more like salt to a wound.

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Why Can It Be Hard To Find The Words To Say To A Friend Who Lost A Baby

Grief is a necessary emotional state to be in when dealing with a baby loss (or any loss). But because it is so emotional, things that are logical aren’t always the best things to say.

Often times, the things people say aren’t bad or false, but they aren’t exactly helpful to the person grieving a baby loss. I touch on this a little in my book, Joy In Suffering:

There was comfort in knowing Enoch had already made it to Heaven, that we didn’t have to worry about his well-being. He was, and is, in the ultimate safe place. I knew this, yet when people would try to comfort us—reminding me where he was and that I was still very young and had plenty of opportunities to have another baby—my heart would feel crushed. My face would smile at their thoughts, but I also felt as if what I had experienced, and lost, was being discounted too easily. I knew they were right and they meant well, but as Enoch’s mother, I couldn’t just dust my hands off and be done with my thoughts of him. Life was not fair; I felt as if my child had been stolen from me.


Oh, how I longed to have him in my arms again.

Rosemary Pope

What NOT To Say To A Friend Who Lost A Baby

I reached out to my readers and asked them to share their experiences of well-intended people saying words that ended up hurting them instead of helping the grieving process.

You’re young, you can have more.”

Why Did These Words Hurt?
  • I didn’t want more babies, I wanted those babies. I didn’t care how young I was, they where my children and I could never replace them with another baby.
What Would’ve Been Better To Say:
  • I know you’re hurting but your baby was real and meant the world to all of us. I will pray for your grief and hope one day you can smile when thinking of your child.

-Michelle Stewart

At least you didn’t lose them all” (regarding my stillborn twins in a triplet pregnancy)

Why Did These Words Hurt?
  • I was having to grieve and find joy at the same time, and that comment didn’t respect either process.
What Would’ve Been Better To Say?
  • Nothing. I needed someone to just hold space with me- to just be there with me and listen, and not be afraid of my tears and words.

-Gretchen Ort

“It’s good that you didn’t have him (Dustin) very long so you didn’t get to know him like as if he was twenty and lost him.”

Why Did These Words Hurt?
  • It doesn’t matter how long you have a child and they died (even an early term pregnancy miscarriage), they were still a part of your life.
What Would’ve Been Better To Say?
  • Just being there, of course it depends on who that person is. In regards to people saying something to you, I relate to a song that says, “You Say it Best When You Say Nothing at All.”

-Patricia Rains

There was probably something wrong with him and it’s better this way.” Or – “Haven’t you figured out by now that God doesn’t intend to give you any more children?

Why Did These Words Hurt?
  • It devalued the life of my son. The one I had just buried. (Whichever of the 3 I buried, or the early miscarriages, it didn’t matter how far along I was.)
What Would’ve Been Better To Say?
  • I’m so sorry. I’m praying peace and comfort for your grieving heart. I know you’ll miss him.

-Kelly Miller

“It was in God’s plan.”

Why Did These Words Hurt?
  • I knew it was in God’s plan but in the moment I couldn’t understand why God would be okay with me losing a baby.
What Would’ve Been Better To Say?
  • I think less talking and just more doing would’ve been more helpful. Cook a meal, give a hug, or letting me know you’re praying would be just enough.

-Anonymous

Be Encouraged

This post is meant to encourage you, as the friend or loved-one, to be there for someone who is grieving the loss of their baby. This is not meant as an opportunity to rant, though you can still see the lasting pain some words have left these fellow readers.

We’ve all said the wrong thing… Even me. It’s been 10 years since I experienced my first pregnancy loss, yet I still struggle with what to say to a grieving mother or anyone going through any kind of loss.

Please take these responses to heart and look at the examples they left as a guide to help you be there for the grieving parent(s) you love.

I have also put together a gift guide for mother’s of infant and pregnancy loss. This is a great way to show you care through a physical gift. There are over 50 gifts to choose from- all are specifically chosen for these special mothers. You can find the guide here or check out a few of these ideas below.

A quote that has helped me:

I came across a C.S. Lewis quote this past year that has clung to me ever since I read it. It’s been years now since I experienced the initial grief from the losses of some of my children, yet because Lewis acknowledges the pain his words speak volumes still.

If a mother is mourning not for what she has lost but for what her dead child has lost, it is a comfort to believe that the child has not lost the end for which it was created. And it is a comfort to believe that she herself, in losing her chief or only natural happiness, has not lost a greater thing, that she may still hope to “glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” A comfort to the Godaimed, eternal spirit within her. But not to her motherhood. The specifically maternal happiness must be written off. Never, in any place or time, will she have her son on her knees, or bathe him, or tell him a story, or plan for his future, or see her grandchild.

C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Got Advice On What To Say?

Do you have something to add to this list? Tell me: What is something(s) people have said to you that was hurtful regarding the loss of your baby? Why was it hurtful? What is something helpful they could have said instead?

Submit your answers below by clicking on the “Submit Advice” to be featured on the blog!

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