What NOT to Say to Someone Who Lost a Baby

What NOT to Say to Someone Who Lost a Baby

Let’s face it, death makes most people pretty uncomfortable. Especially when it defies the natural order such as a child passing ahead of their parents. It also makes people say the silliest things as a result.

Before making a comment, it might be helpful to think “would I say this if it was their spouse or parent that died?”. Here are some comments received in real life adapted for a grieving wife.

These comments would never have been said to a grieving wife yet many consider them acceptable to say to grieving parents. The reality is, although they are meant well, they are quite hurtful and leave parents feeling misunderstood and alone.

Pages could be written on what to or not to say but for the purpose of this post, I’ve generalized them into a few categories:

DON’T bring religion into it. Telling a parent that God has a plan, that he needed an angel, that it’s his will, is not helpful and lacks empathy.

DO, if you absolutely need to bring God into it, say phrases of comfort such as “may God draw near to you as you navigate this storm”


DON’T use terms such as “at least” or “silver lining”. They sound like you’re minimizing their pain and leave parents feeling misunderstood and alone.

DO say “Take all the time you need, grief has no timeline”


DON’T compare griefs. Just don’t. This isn’t about you or people you know.

DO say “we will miss and grieve your baby with you”


DON’T fill the air with clichés such “time will heal”. This is just not true, have even known anyone that got over losing a child? You don’t have to fill the air with words. Just be there.

DO say “There are no words; I’m just so sorry.”


This can be a lot to take in. When in doubt choose empathy and remember that you don’t need to say anything, just be there and listen. Above all else, parents want to tell their baby’s story. 

With love,

From Michael

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