Skip to main content
CALL US: 01482 323 697
Williamsons News

Baby Loss – What not to say…

9 October 2019

Blog, Clinical Negligence

It is difficult to say the right thing to parents who have lost their baby; many people are frightened of saying anything that will make the situation worse or trigger an emotion from the parents that they themselves cannot deal with, whether this be sadness or anger.

The parents understand this, however, the worst thing you can do is avoid making contact or avoid talking about their baby. Parents may initially say they need space to deal with not only their grief, but also the physical impact birth has on the mother’s body. Also, practical decisions and arrangements have to be made through this emotional time. Whilst parents may seek space initially, continue to reach out to them, if they do not reply straightaway, do not take it personally.  There will come a point when they will reach out to you. Parents are often simply comforted just knowing that you are thinking of them. What you say and do at the time will make a big difference to the parents.

Williamsons Solicitors - Clinical NegligenceEach baby is special and irreplaceable to the parents. Do not say anything that will imply the baby is replaceable. Avoid saying, “there is always next time,” or “at least you know you can conceive”. To parents, these words are hurtful regardless of how well intended they are, as it implies that their baby was worthless or worse, that their baby never existed. Instead, address the baby by their name or refer to their baby as your niece/nephew or grandchild; this simply act can have an overwhelming effect on the parents as you are recognising their baby.

Avoid saying it is “probably for the best” or “it is your body’s way of saying the baby was not going to survive”. One phrase I often hear is “1 in 4 pregnancies result in a loss; you were simply unlucky”. These phrases are not helpful and is often distressing for the parents to hear; their baby is not a statistic but their child. Even if their baby was unlikely to survive, do not point this out to parents as it can make the mother feel unbearable guilt for not being able to care for her baby she was carrying; and can make the father feel inadequate as he was not able to do anything to protect his baby and the mother from the physical and emotional distress of losing their baby.

Williamsons Solicitors - Clinical NegligenceDo not pity the parents. Do not place your head to one side and say “I know how you feel” as chances are, you do not. Likewise, parents do not want to hear that “you know someone, a friend, who has been through something similar and now they have children”. This is not helpful and does not give parents hope. Instead simply say “I don’t really know what to say”. That way, you are being honest, and parents respond more to honesty.

Similarly, do not avoid parents. Parents often experience people crossing the road, turning, or avoiding making eye contact simply to avoid speaking to them. I often think to myself it is as if they are afraid they may “catch” losing a baby from me. This small act can have a huge impact on a parent and can make them feel isolated and lonely. Again, approach them and be honest; say, “I have heard your sad news, I don’t really know what to say”.

One reason parents isolate themselves is because they cannot take on another person’s grief. After hearing the news, try not to offload your grief onto the parents. If you find it hard not to, then be honest with the parents; do not ignore or avoid them simply because you find it hard to process.

Williamsons Solicitors - Clinical NegligenceParents often feel pressured to “move on” or “get over it”. This implies forgetting their baby. Even though their loss is painful they will not want to forget their special child. Do not expect parents to get back to normal; as it is unlikely they ever will. Do not be offended if they avoid certain situations; for example, large gatherings. Do not confront them, do not take it personally or make it all about you by justifying your actions, as parents will isolate you more. Think about why they are avoiding certain situations. For example, are there going to be too many people there, will there be children or babies there, will there be someone expecting there. Try to be respectful of their feelings, guilt, anxieties and emotions. Usually parents will avoid certain situations in case they make others feel uncomfortable by their emotions; for example, they may not want to get upset in front people.

Some people assume that a loss during pregnancy is not as devastating as the loss of a baby at, or after birth. Similarly, do not assume that a loss through miscarriage is any less devastating than a still birth. The grief of the parents is overwhelming regardless of when the loss occurs. This grief can go on for weeks, months or even years, and it is not unusual to hear parents say that they will never feel like their old selves again.

Sarah WebsterThrough my own personal experiences, I thought it appropriate as part of Baby Loss Awareness Week 2019, to highlight one of the main difficulties I continue to encounter; unintentional ignorance from family, friends and colleagues, particularly what not to say.

Personally, the most important point was the acknowledgement and recognition that we were parents despite our loss. Many parents may still have to go through the trauma of a labour and some parents will be able to hold their baby after birth. Their baby is a real, physical and unique little person. However, parents will then have the difficult tasks of making decisions, starting with when and how to say goodbye to their baby, and thereafter making decisions which range from whether to have a post mortem to making funeral arrangements.

Overtime, parents will find a new kind of normality which will enable them to cope with day to day life; but you may have to accept they may not be the same. Each day we wake up with the reality that we have lost a baby. It is like facing this big ugly concrete wall whereby there is no way around, over or through it. Some days, when we are low, we simply stare at it and the ugly reality of it is more prominent and raw, however there are days where we can decorate it to make it less visible; these are our good days, however, we recognise it will always be there.

Time and life does go on, however these parents will continue to experience grief. The death of a baby regardless of the stage is devastating and a life changing experience. The memory of a child lost will never leave them; but nor would they want it to.

Contact Us Back to top
Read some reviews from our clients

4.89 Average

167 Reviews

Broadley H

Excellent service from Williamsons throughout a very protracted property transaction. Carey was patient and helpful at all times and we would highly recommend Williamsons based upon our experience. Thank you :)

Paul B

Hi, Thankyou for helping me with the sale of my late mothers house. You kept me informed and processed the transaction very quickly. Regards...Paul

Mr William E

Williamsons Bridlington office conducted the conveyancing of my house recently. The customer service was exceptional and very professional. The regular communications were very helpful and i was kept up to date throughout the process. Many thanks to Suzanne, Beth and all the staff at the Bridlington office.


Friendly supportive service. Explained everything and responded to queries promptly


Its always difficult when you are selling a house but even more so when it is a probate sale. Williamsons have handled my sale with sensitivity and efficiency and have supported me throughout the process.

Mr & M

Very efficient, prompt replies to queries, show good team work and a very reasonable bill at the end.

Mr D A

I was given an efficient, friendly and courteous appointment.

Mr and Mrs Lang

Thorough and commendable.

Mr & M

Professional,helpful and friendly staff we use Williamson's for all legal matters.

Mrs Yvonne K

Suzanne Spooner was excellent. She kept me informed of progress and the whole stressful process of selling one’s house went as smoothly as possible.

Miss L

We were very impressed by Theresa's thorough approach. We are very confident that our conveyancing was carried out to perfection.

Sarah B

Fantastic service from Susan and her team dealing with the sale of the house. Easily contactable for any queries and would definitely recommend them.

Andrew H

Very thorough, helpful throughout and ensured no undue delays.

Mr Nicholls

Once again a smooth transaction thanks to Beth at Williamsons. Will certainly be using again. Thanks

Mr and Mrs Allgood

We were delighted with the service we received. Each time it was necessary to make contact we received a prompt response. As existing clients we would not hesitate to use this service again.


We instructed Williamsons to carry out the conveyancing on our house purchase. Gemma was excellent, keeping us up to date with the progress made towards completion by email and sending us the relevant paper work. She made us aware of any issues and suggested a course of action. We would highly recommend using Williamsons.

Mrs Ward

Jane Cousins and her colleagues were absolutely brilliant! They were extremely patient and helpful and kept us up to date by email whenever necessary!! She promised to hold my hand through the process of buying and selling our homes and certainly did! We cannot thank her and Emma and Rebecca enough!!! Thank you all very much!! Sheilah/Owen Ward

Ms D

Very happy with the service provided both on my sale and purchase. Thank you

Dr P

Straightforward, efficient, clear, well-informed.

Mr Francis

Exemplary service. Kept me up to date throughout the process. Carefully explained any difficulties or technical issues. Brilliant service


Very helpful & prompt service! Nothing was too much trouble. Can highly recommend