What to say/do when a baby dies..


The image above is quite a confronting image for me as it looks exactly like my son’s feet. This is not a photo of him, I have lots of photo’s, I do wish I had one like this though.

Don’t say NOTHING - Please don’t pretend it has happened and say nothing..

Just say - ”I’m sorry for your loss” or  ”I’m here if you”

Don’t say -  ”It’s better that way” or “It’s natures way” or refer to the baby as an “it”

Choose your words - I was talking to a group of people about Titan one evening and someone piped up and said “oh did you name it ” - It was such a gut wrenching and horrifying moment I think everyone was so mortified and shocked that no-one said anything.

Be BRAVE - This family will need you know more than ever (it’s ok to cry with them it’s nice for them to know that you are suffering also)

Don’t Retreat - The person whom has lost does not need to deal with a loss of a friendship as-well.

Send a card - I loved recieving all of the beautiful sympathy cards – I pull them out and have a read of them whenever I need to.

Buy a Gift - Their birth flower, a tree,  there birthstone.

Go to the Funeral -  It was so beautiful to arrive at Titan’s funeral to see so many beautiful faces they were there to validate his life and support us in our loss.

Be practical - Cook Dinners, do washing, If there are other children offer to pick them up from school or drop them to sport etc

Use the baby’s name - Honestly, hearing your babies name after they have gone is so meaningful.

Encourage outings - After a month or so, or when you feel it’s the right offer to take them out.

Visit the baby child’s grave - I loved it when I visited Titan’s grave and would see notes or flowers from others it really made me feel like they felt his loss also.

Offer to help in a financial way - If you are able to offer to help with financial matters as both parents may not be capable of working.

Time heals - It will take years, be there for the long haul!

If there is anything I have missed please add. Thanks xxx

About the Author

Kristy Vallely is the founder and Creator of the Imperfect Mum.

Kristy believed there needed to be a place that women could go to. Where they could talk and relate. A place they could feel safe. A place they trusted. So The Imperfect Mum was born in June 2011. There was obviously such a need that when the gates 'opened' a huge flurry of women followed. Kristy has always been very passionate about women and the issues they face.

Her passion and determination has helped her carve out a career helping others and creating 'a go to place' for women from all around the world.

Posted in:  Life Lessons, Loss & Grief, Loss of a Child (My Story), Helping others through Grief

13 Replies

Kate h

As a mother who has lost a baby (31 weeks stillborn) dont make comments like.. 'at least you didnt know him...yes i did, icarried him for 31 weeks. I felt his kicks, i had dreams about his future. Dont say 'better to have an angel in heaven, than a devil on earth'...um no, i'd rather the devil. Dont say 'you can always have another one'...no. I want that baby, my baby. Wouldyou say to somebody who just lost their husband/wifr, at least you can get married again. Cry with the grieving parent, laugh with them, use their babies name. The babies may have had a little life, but they are not a little loss. It has been 2 years since we lost Ben and although we have his precious baby sister, we would give anything to have him here too.

The Imperfect Mum

I hear you Kate! - Sending you and lil Ben the biggest hug. xx

Gayle Prior

My sister in law has made a note on her calander, and every year, fot the past 12 years has sent us a card. And she always writes in it that Emily is loved and never forgotten, and then says that she is thinking of all of us on that day. I love that. Another thing others did after Em's birth was actually send a little baby girl card, it is probably not for everyone, but I loved it and put it away with my 'Emily collection'. Emily was diagnosed at 20 weeks as having Edward syndrome and they said we would miscarry around the 7 month, my clever little girls soul left my body on her due date. 11/03/2000. The most common thing we got was ' perhaps it was for the best'...oh my goodness, I so wanted to look into her eyes and tell her I loved her, but that was not to be. But she knew I loved her.

The Imperfect Mum

What a beautiful Sister you have. Thanks Gayle xx

Carly Brazier

What a beautiful sil you have

Danielle 'Purcell' McTaggart

please dont say it was meant to be, nothing you can say leaves as big a question as that. it leaves the grieving thinking and asking what they had ever done to deserve this or what had the baby ever done, what was wrong with me/baby? hugs and a shoulder readily available to soak are a wonderful thing.

The Imperfect Mum

Yes, danielle I agree with every word. xx

Cathy West

My reaction when we lost our Edwards Syndrome baby girl Holly at 25 days was shut everyone out. I didn't have people at her funeral or burial. We ask for no cards or flowers as I felt like it was a reminder. I didn't want to share my grief with others partly because I didn't want to lay that grief on anyone or because I thought I couldn't bear to hide the pain in front of others. It left people floundering as to what to do which I regret a little. I had to intergrate myself back into people's care and warmth very slowly. And I am lucky that I have very understanding friends and family. I did have people say to me "it happens". & "your better off" & "it wasn't meant to be". That felt cold. I think that there are the right things to say and being there is the best thing that you can offer but be mindful that everyone deals with grief in thier own way.

Five years on we often talk about her now and what she would be doing (eg school this year). I do try and talk about her with others now so that she is never forgotten. I will carry her with me for as long as I live.

The Imperfect Mum

Cathy, you dealt with it the only way you knew how. Everyone is different, she would have loved having you all to herself. I understand the grief at milestones, ie school etc. Sending you and little Holly love. xx


I wish I had read this before my best friend lost her princess. Maybe I'd have managed to stay tactful and we'd still be friends.

The Imperfect Mum

Ohh that's a shame Anna, do you think if you wrote her a letter things would change??

Dannell Cowan

In my experience the most devastating thing that happened after i lost my girl was to see a friend of mine actually cross the street when she saw me coming. I know she just didn't know what to say but damn it hurt!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I had recurrent miscarriages and found it really hard and hurtful hearing people say to me; "it wasn't even a baby yet", "your young, just try again for another one" or "it just wasn't meant to be". The advice you give on being there for them for the long haul is so true. Everyone grieves at their own pace. I found it so hard when people I cared about told me to "just get over it and move on". You can't put a time frame on grief! I found the most comforting thing people could do was to acknowledge my babies and their loss and say "I'm here for you" and mean it. The silent treatment or the pretending nothing happened hurts just as much if not more.