Losing a baby is traumatic, and there are no perfect words to say to someone who has suffered such a tremendous loss. Saying “sorry for your loss” just doesn’t seem quite right when you’re expressing condolences to someone who has lost a child.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What to Say to Someone Who Lost a Baby or Toddler
- What to Say to Someone Who Lost a Stillborn Baby
- What to Say to Someone Who Miscarried
Instead of worrying about whether your words are perfect, it may be more important for you to be present. Sometimes just being there is the best thing you can do.
Here are some words you may consider saying to someone who lost an infant or toddler.
Post-loss tip: If the child that has passed away is an adult child and you are the executor for a deceased loved one, the emotional and technical aspects of handling their unfinished business can be overwhelming without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.
What to Say to Someone Who Lost a Baby or Toddler
How do you console someone who is grieving the loss of a baby or toddler? Here are a few phrases to consider, whether you're sending a thoughtful sympathy gift or delivering a case of fresh-cut flowers.
We know that they may sound hollow to a person who went through a traumatic event, but it’s important to try to offer some words of sympathy.
1. “I don’t know what to say.”
Don’t feel as if you need to give a long speech to your friend who lost a baby or toddler. Instead, you may just hug your friend and admit that you don’t know what to say. This honesty may be greatly appreciated.
2. “I’m here to listen.”
The person who lost the child may be going through a wide variety of emotions. Allow him or her to express feelings without judgment. Listen quietly and let him or her share.
3. “I don’t know what to do right now.”
You may feel compelled to offer suggestions to set things right. It would be a mistake to try to provide solutions to a grieving parent right now. Never say, “You’ll be able to have another baby.” Do not suggest that the baby’s death “was God’s plan.” Let the hurting parents grieve.
4. “A life need not be long-lived for it to have been meaningful.” — Unknown
Consider sharing this quote with a person who lost a child. This phrase explains to a parent that his or her child’s life was meaningful even though it was short.
You may want to consider other baby loss quotes to share with a hurting mom or dad. Instead of reading them to the parent, consider sharing them through a letter or text so he or she can revisit the sentiments at different stages of the grieving process.
5. “I will be praying for you.”
If the person who lost a child believes in a higher power, he or she may appreciate your prayers. Keep in mind that this devastating loss may cause your loved ones to question their beliefs. Some people become angry when they lose a young child. Be prepared for this kind of reaction.
6. “I’m here for you.”
This open-ended statement allows a grieving person to express how you may be of help. Perhaps the heartbroken parent will ask you to assist in funeral planning.
Maybe your friend or loved one will ask you to take care of his or her other children. Maybe your friend will not be able to respond.
If you're looking for a quote instead, read our guide on quotes about babies for more.
What to Say to Someone Who Lost a Stillborn Baby
What do you say to someone who lost a baby at birth? Again, this is one of the most traumatic things a person can experience. Your friend or family member may have a decorated nursery waiting but will have to go home empty-handed and with a broken heart.
7. “Can I bring you a meal?”
Your friend is grieving the death of a family member. He or she will probably not be able to concentrate on life’s more mundane activities for quite a while. Take care of some of those tasks by providing a meal. Or, if you aren't nearby, you can always send them a pretty package full of snacks, like this gourmet charcuterie and cheese box.
8. “I know how much you loved this baby. I’m so sorry for your loss.”
You may be the type of person who wants to do something for a person who is grieving, but it’s also important to offer comforting words as well. In addition to providing a meal, this quote allows you to acknowledge a loved one’s grief.
9. “Remember to be kind to yourself. Give yourself time to heal and grieve.”
When a woman gives birth to a stillborn child, she still has to recover physically from labor and delivery. Remind your friend to take things slow for her physical and mental health.
10. “Our entire family grieves with you.”
Tell your friend that you’re also grieving the loss of the child. Sometimes parents feel isolated in their heartbreak, especially if the child who was lost never had a chance to experience life outside of the womb.
Remind your friend that you share in her grief — it may make her feel less alone.
11. “You and _______ are in my heart.”
If the stillborn baby had a name, make sure to use it when talking about the infant. Saying the name may help the parent know that you understand he or she grieves the loss of a real person.
12. “I love you, and I’m so sorry you are going through this pain.”
Don’t try to use flowery words. Don’t feel as if you need to give long speeches. Instead, simply speak from the heart.
What to Say to Someone Who Miscarried
You may or may not know when someone miscarries. If you do know that a woman recently lost a child, here are some things you might consider saying.
13. “I’m so sorry for your loss.”
A person often says, “I’m sorry for your loss,” to a person who lost a husband, parent, or grandparent. Why wouldn’t you say the same thing to someone who miscarried a child? The grieving process is the same, so one should treat it the same way.
14. “I know you are hurting right now.”
You may consider sharing your own experiences when offering condolences for a miscarriage. Do this carefully. Instead of saying, “I know exactly how you feel,” say, “I also lost a baby.”
Instead of saying, “I got over it, so you will, too,” say, “I know you are hurting right now.”
15. “What can I do for you?”
You may want to make specific suggestions on how you could help the grieving parent during this time of grief.
For example, you might want to ask if the parents want you to share the news with others in their inner circle of friends and family.
16. “Here is the information for a support group for grieving parents.”
Your friends may benefit from attending a support group for people who have miscarried. Search online for a group in your area.
17. “Remember, you are not alone.”
Don’t allow your friend to feel isolated in her grief. Remind her that you will be there for her to talk about the loss. Also, remember that the father may also be affected deeply by the loss of the child as well.
18. “It’s okay that you don’t feel okay.”
Let your friend know that her feelings are valid, no matter what they are. Let her express her emotions. Be open when she shares them with you.
She may feel anger as well as sadness. She may feel frightened and heartbroken. Don’t discount any of her emotions.
Speak From the Heart
Still struggling with what to say to parents who lost a child? You may consider doing a little research on books to share. There are plenty of books about losing a child. Understand that the parent may not be ready to dive into the text at that moment. A book may be useful as the parents go through the complicated grieving process.
Remember to be careful of the things you say to a parent who just lost a child. Avoid saying, “At least you know that you can get pregnant” to a woman who just miscarried. Don’t say, “You can try again soon” to a woman who delivered a stillborn child. Never say, “This is part of God’s plan” to someone who just lost a toddler. Avoid advising about in-vitro fertilization or adoption. And don’t talk about how life is easier without children.
Sometimes what you don’t say is more important than what you do say. Don’t try to fill the silence by chatting about inconsequential things. Simply be there for the grieving individual and offer sincere condolences for a child’s loss.
If you aren't sure words are enough, read our list of comforting gifts for parents who lost a child.