Q: How can I best support my sister/friend/co-worker who has lost one or more of her babies in a multiple birth pregnancy?

A: First be willing to listen if either parent wants to talk! Ask them what they feel would be most helpful. Parents’ choices can vary a great deal. Many mothers in this situation feel awkward in public for the rest of pregnancy, and want to avoid explaining their circumstances to strangers.

  • Offer to shop, take older children to school, and notify people who should know about the loss so the parents can limit uncomfortable conversations.
  • Suggest that the parents contact hospital bereavement counselors or clergy to plan final arrangements for the deceased.
  • Remember the deceased child’s birth and death dates, and acknowledge that baby by name on future birthdays or anniversaries.
  • Send a congratulations card acknowledging the birth of the whole set with separate condolence and sympathy cards.
  • Make a phone call saying “We’re thinking of you and we’re sorry for your loss,” are all appropriate.

Do not minimize the loss by saying “At least you have survivors” or “He’s not in pain now,” or invoke religion by saying “It’s God’s will” or “She’s an angel.” Do not give away an extra crib, stroller, clothing, etc. without the parents’ permission. They will do this in their own time.

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