Caring in the Midst of Infant Loss

Caring in the Midst of Infant Loss

What we have once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes a part of us.

Helen Keller

As a culture, we tend to believe that certain things can be counted on.

In fact, we’ve built an entire vocabulary of ways to reaffirm these comforting beliefs to ourselves and each other:

Good things come to those who wait.
What’s meant to be will be.

Everything happens for a reason.

But for the many each year who experience fertility issues, miscarriage, or the death of a child, these well-intended phrases ring painfully hollow.

Even the language we use to talk about infant loss is rife with judgment and blaming:

“…failed attempts…”
“…lost the baby…”

…And that’s when we talk about it at all.

In the wake of infant loss, the pain can be excruciating, and the silence of others deafening.

Though unintentional, this can lead to compounded suffering for those who are grieving.

In honor of National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day, we’re sharing some simple ways you can care well for yourself and your loved ones in the midst of infant loss:

Caring for yourself

There are widespread expectations about when, how long, and in what way a person ought to grieve a loss.

Maybe others have communicated their expectations to you.

Maybe you’re placing them on yourself.

If you’re feeling pressured to navigate this experience in a particular way, it’s certainly understandable.

But, try to take a step back and simply let yourself feel whatever you’re feeling right now.

Try to show yourself greater care.

When you experience infant loss, two of the most caring things you can do for yourself are to practice self-compassion and remain open to support from your community.  


  • Show yourself compassion
  • Connect with resources. Your instinct may be to isolate, but over time this can make it more challenging to reach out for support. A good first step can be tapping into a community of support remotely. Some ideas:
  • Be open to help. Your loved ones are eager to support you. Let them. Ask for what you need… even if that’s simply their patience as you figure our what you need. (And if you feel you could benefit from additional support, know that there’s no shame in consulting a professional.)

Caring for a loved one

Friends, family, and other loved ones often feel at a loss for how to respond in the wake of another’s infant loss.

What can I do for them?
What should I say?
How can I help them get through this?

Fortunately, just given who you are in your loved one’s life, you’re perfectly positioned to provide truly meaningful care for them right now:

When someone close to you experiences infant loss, one of the most caring roles you can play is simply that of a witness– to their grief, to their child’s life, and to their process moving forward.


  • Educate yourself on the stages of grief following infant loss.
  • Reach out to them. A simple text or call can mean everything.
  • Share any concerns about your loved one’s well-bring with empathy and respect.
  • Know your limits. If a situation feels like more than you can handle, one of the most caring things you can do is offering to support your loved one in seeking professional help.
  • If you’re loved one is open to it, pass on any infant loss resources you come across (e.g., examples listed above).
  • Help keep memories alive. It’s important to follow your loved one’s lead. The simplest way to do this is simply to ask what they need most right now, and be patient as this changes over time.
    • Some ideas, if/when they’re ready:
      • Ask if your loved one wants to talk about their loss.
      • If you know their infant’s name, say it.
      • Share any photos you have of your loved one from during their pregnancy, child’s infancy, etc.
      • Send a note of acknowledgement on key dates (e.g., birthday, anniversary of loss, Father’s/Mother’s Day).


Enjoy this post? You might also like:

After Mother’s Day: 5 Things You May Be Feeling
How to Help a Loved One: Empathy
How to Practice Gratitude When You’re Not Feeling Particularly Grateful


Could you (or someone you care about) benefit from support in your experience of infant loss?