Baby Care

3 Ways to Support Parents When A Baby Dies

Usually when a baby dies, it can be hard to know how to offer support to the grieving parents.

To be honest, what can we really do or say in the face of such sad occurrence? While no one can make the grief go away or bring the child back, there are several ways you can support your friends or family following such a tragic loss.

  1. Keep in touch

After visiting the family or calling them for the firs time, keeping in frequent touch with a friend or family member after their loss is one of the best ways of offering support. Sending Whatsapp messages or emails or even texts can be subtle ways of letting a friend know you’re thinking of them without them feeling like they need to respond.

  1. Be selective with your words

It’s really hard to know what to say to a parent when the unthinkable happens. Simple, genuine statements like, “I’m so sorry,” or “I’m here for you,” are safe choices. I know most Nigerians will also say, ‘God will give you another one’ or ‘The child that will stay is coming’ etc

Holding a hand, touching a shoulder, giving a hug is the same thing as saying, “I’m here. I care.” By letting parents talk about their pain, you can help them come to grips with it.

You shouldn’t assume that parents “don’t want to talk about it.” And it’s okay to say, “I don’t know what to say” – it’s honest, and it opens the door for the parents to share their feelings.

Some words that help include;

  • “I’m sorry.”
  • “What can I do for you right now?”
  • “I’m here. I want to listen.”
  • “This must be hard for you.”

On the other hand these well-intentioned statements cause resentment or prevent the expression of grief;

  • “You’re young, you can have others.”
  • “You have an angel in heaven.”
  • “This happened for the best.”
  • “Better for this to happen now, before you knew they baby.”
  • “There was something wrong with the baby anyway.”
  • “Don’t be sad. Don’t cry.”
  • “Don’t dwell on this. Just put it behind you.”
  1. Be patient

Those who have never experienced a loss may find it very difficult to understand how a mother can grieve and mourn for so long. But the truth is that a loss like this, stays with a mother for a lifetime.

Also because grief affects everyone differently, it’s impossible to know how parents will react to their baby’s death. But most people go through multiple phases of powerful emotions that may be hard for you to understand. So keep this in mind and even though parents had little, if any time to “know” the child, the parental attachment is still strong. This attachment can begin even before conception, as parents dream of the baby’s first birthday or Christmas or Ramadan etc.. So when a baby dies, parents lose a future they looked forward to sharing with that child. Realize that the death of a child means your friend/family member won’t ever get over their loss although they will get through it. Respect the parent’s rights to express whatever they feel or think – regardless of how strange it may seem to you. Give them time to grieve. Most of all, accept them for who and what they are, parents. Being a compassionate witness to your their grief is one of the best ways you can help.

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I Didn’t Know Things Could Change So Much After A Baby

I’ve heard about how much having a baby can change your life, how a lot can change about your marriage if your marriage isn’t strong enough, a lot of advice were thrown my way, some of it was useful others were just trash. But I found out a lot by myself, since becoming a mum, I realised that having a few close friends who will be there when you need them is more important than having many friends that don’t care about how you’re doing.

I now know who my true friends are, even my friends who I consider myself close with haven’t met my son but that’s fine.

Even if you don’t want your friend who just gave birth to a baby to feel encumbered by being there all the time, send her a text once in a while, call them up to know how you can offer them your support, don’t expect them to be the one calling for help. And invite them to parties even if they can’t attend, they’d appreciate you not excluding them.

Needless to say, the friends I considered close to me neglected to be there for me, but that was the lesson I learnt. What I wasn’t fine with was my love life that got hit with the presence of our baby. My husband and I forgot about ourselves, we became more focused taking care of our little one.

We argue about little things as I was very impatient (I blamed this on sleeplessness) I never stopped loving him though, no, I love him even more but my tolerance level became low.


We went through hard times as parents, at a point, I was scared that my marriage would hit the rock but when we strive to set time aside for each other things changed positively.

I also lose my patience easily, every ounce of patience I ever had got lost, maybe at the labour room I think. I just can’t tolerate any bullshit anymore, from my husband, friend or opinionated strangers who think they can say whatever they like  even when their opinion is not sorted.

Had I known motherhood would be this tough and it would change so much I would have spent more time loving my husband and giving him more of my time, so the bond we create will strengthen us in loving another being, protecting and worrying about him without us being broken into two. I think I’m doing a good job though, and we’d last.

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