A Guide To Writing Sympathy Cards For Bereaved Parents

Courtesy of LoveWhatMatters.com | By Elizabeth Grow | Published 10.25.2022 | Posted 11.09.2022

This should be a guide we give to anyone searching to support a loss parent

Acknowledge They Lost A Child

Some people worry about upsetting a parent by bringing up or acknowledging their dead child. You won’t be reminding or upsetting them of their loss. They know their child died, and think of their baby daily. Tell them how much this sucks. It’s unfair. No one deserves to experience this pain.

Say Their Child’s Name

This is SO powerful and SO important. It will mean a great deal to the parent(s). Not all babies are given names before they die, and if this is the case, it’s okay to ask if there is a special name or phrase to use when referring to their baby.

Pro tip: when addressing the envelope and card, include the baby’s name along with the bereaved parents.

Allow Them To Grieve

Affirm that it’s okay to feel sad or mad. It’s okay to fall apart and not be okay. You can also acknowledge that they will never be the same. They lost a child. This will change them. After sending the card, don’t expect a response and try to remember that all people experience grief differently. 

Affirm They’re A Good Parent

Regardless of the circumstances of their loss, losing a child was in no way their fault. They loved their baby, and would have done everything in their power to protect them. Remind them they are, and always will be, their baby’s mother, father, or parent, and that will never change.

Listen To Their Story

When they’re ready, tell them you would love to hear about their baby. Ask them to share details of their birth story, photos of their baby, memories, or experiences they had. It’s important to treat them in a similar way to a parent who birthed a living child – ask how much their baby weighed or what time they gave birth. 

Things To Avoid

Don’t offer platitudes like “everything happens for a reason” or “heaven needed another angel.” These might seem like helpful sentiments, but they can be deeply hurtful in the aftermath of a loss. Try not to compare their loss to any situation you may have experienced. Don’t put any expectations or a timeline on their grief. Avoid saying things like “Give it time; you’ll feel better,” or “You’ll get through this; you’re so strong.”

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