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Perinatal bereavement and loved ones

How to help grieving parents

Perinatal bereavement is not widely understood and it is rarely mentioned. It’s no wonder that many people don’t know how to react when a loved one has just lost their baby. Faced with the unknown, we feel lost and vulnerable, afraid of taking a misstep and making things worse.

You might be struggling with this, having difficulty finding the words to help and comfort your bereaved loved ones.

We invite you to browse through the sections on this website where you will find some information that can help you better understand the anguish of perinatal bereavement. After learning about the unique nature of this type of loss and how it requires a special approach, you will feel better able to support your loved ones through this struggle.

If you are...


Grandparents prepare for the baby and look forward to their arrival with excitement. They often imagine a future doting on their grandchild and guiding them into adulthood.

When touched by this tragedy, they suffer in two ways:1             

  • By losing a long-awaited grandchild;
  • And by seeing their own child in pain and not being able to take it away.

1 Fréchette-Piperni, S. (2005). Les rêves envolés : Traverser le deuil d’un tout petit bébé. [Departed Dreams]. Boucherville, Québec : Éditions de Mortagne.

Friends and family

Loved ones are also affected at different levels by this sad news. Some will have to go through their own mourning of this baby to whom they were already attaching.

When a loved one experiences such an upheaval, it is not easy to provide support. They often:

  • Don’t know what to say
  • Feel uncomfortable with their grief
  • Do not understand the magnitude of the parents’ grief

For those close to the parents, it is particularly difficult to understand the depth of suffering that they are experiencing. The baby’s death might seem unreal.

Because everything seems abstract – it seems like the baby existed much more in the imagination than in reality – it is difficult to grasp the extent of the parents’ grief.

About this page
Updated on 12/10/2019
Created on 11/8/2019
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