Real Advice: “How To I Tell People My Baby Died?”

Real advice is where we ask you, the community what helped in real life. Your advice and tips instead of the “expert” opinions from someone who may not have had to live through it. We pose a question on our Facebook page and look to you to help those looking for real how-to advice. 

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“How do I tell people I lost the baby?”  This question is posed a lot so I’m asking your help: How did you handle the first while after your loss when people inquired about your baby? What did you say? Did you have someone else handle the questions/comments?Facebook

There’s no easy way – you just have to be calm, but direct. I always just said, “My baby passed away” and leave it at that, and usually people would go quiet and then apologize – it was just another painful part of the process that one goes through following this terrible loss. I am sorry that you are going through it. You will notice that there are some folks though, that will be more supportive than others, and do show that they care.  – Cambion

My loss was before today’s technology infusion. I had someone else tell my boss in person, along with a write-up announcement to send as an intra-office memo. I screened calls, and had a sign outside the front door of the house with a pad of paper and pens next to a box for notes. The sign said something along the lines of, “we thank you for thinking of us, but are not ready to open our door for visitors. Please feel free to leave us a note which we will read when we have the strength.” – Rachel

My husband, who is less emotional and prone to crying than me, did a lot.  – Tawyna

We made phone calls to close family. Friends and more distant relatives were told by email. Then we relied on a couple dear friends to let coworkers know. At some point we also made an announcement on FB. But now, upon meeting new people, it’s much more difficult and awkward. Sometimes it just comes up naturally in the course of conversation. Other times it doesn’t and I wish it would. – Lisa

Telling my family wasn’t as hard as my first day back to work with 17 other women pregnant and everyone excited to hear news. I posted a message on Facebook so most new before I got to work and although each hug helped it also brought tears which made me think I would never get through my 12 hour shift in the NICU caring for everyone else’s babies. I bought a necklace. And had posted the meaning of it. It was made out of hammered silver to signify the difficulties and hard times that losing our baby caused. It wrapped around like arms encircling a bead like a mom holding her baby. And the gem was the babies original due date. Because i never had an ultra sound picture or anything tangible it was helpful to be able to touch my necklace whenever I was thinking of baby. Every time a family asked if I had children on the inside my heart would break but I would respond not yet. Someone suggested saying I have one in heaven but I didn’t feel this was appropriate for a level three icu where these babies were also struggling for their lives. I brought the journal I had started for baby and when I was having a hard time I would write down all of my feelings. Why did I lose my baby I was so prepared to have a baby….I had been planning and working getting of meds to be able to conceive safely for over a year I wanted my baby so badly it wasn’t fair. Then I had each family member write a note to baby and finally was able to put the journal away on our bookshelf.  – Katie

We told our close family and friends and let them spread the news. The odd person we ran into that didn’t know, I was just calm and quiet and direct and usually just said, “I’m sorry, you must not have heard the bad news, but we lost the baby.” and that was that. Not easy to do. – Anna

I was just honest with people when they asked…if I didn’t want to talk about it I didn’t, if I did then I talked about it….it’s hard no matter how you handle it  – Heather M

We posted it on Facebook, so we could get the info out with as little direct contact as possible. Someone told/I read very early on, I think when we were still in the hospital, that we needed to talk about it and find a phrase that we just repeated every time someone asked. We had not, and it happened that someone asked. All it took was that one time for me to realize that it was great advice to have a “go-to” phrase to just repeat as the answer every time. I still use it even now. – Heather T

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Devan McGuinness

is the founder and executive director of the award-winning resource Unspoken Grief .

1 Comment
  1. This is actually one that I’ve spent lots of time thinking about.
    It is so hard to tell this to someone and you never know what kind of reaction you’re going to have to deal with, exactly what you DON’T need in this very difficult time.
    I actually posted about how we handled it, as it is too long to copy here, I encourage to read the article on my website. I really really hope it helps.
    http://lovinganangelinstead.com/index.php/when-your-baby-dies/telling-the-world-your-baby-is-gone/
    Wishing you all the best xxx

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Unspoken Grief is a non-profit website dedicated to creating awareness and resources for anyone touched directly or indirectly by miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death.

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Unspoken Grief exists to provide peer-to-peer support and resources. The information on this site is intended only for advocacy and educational purposes. It's not intended to give medical advice, to diagnose or to offer treatment for any medical or psychological conditions. Please consult your own health care provider for your own specific situation and needs.