Do

FACE IT. Accept your own feelings about loss or death, and about this loss.

CONSOLE. Even if they seem inadequate, offer simple, honest words of condolence: "I am so sorry your baby died," or "I don't know what to say, but my heart breaks for you."

ACKNOWLEDGE. Talk about the child who has been lost as a baby—by name, if the parents named their child.

LISTEN. Following miscarriage, parents often want to talk about their child and the experience of losing that child. Listen without judging or offering solutions.

HELP. Bereaved parents may need specific kinds of help: "Can I bring chicken noodle soup and a salad over for Thursday's dinner?" or "I'd love to invite your kids to our house tomorrow afternoon."

Don't

DISTANCE. Don't talk about the child who has been lost as "the fetus" or "product of conception," or the miscarriage as "the surgery" or "your accident," or other such euphemisms.

RATIONALIZE. Miscarriage, no matter how early it occurred, is hard. Don't say, "It wasn't really a baby," or "It's probably better this way."

PREDICT. You can't ease pain by talking about what might happen in the future. Don't say, "I'm sure you'll have another one," or "You're still young."

WITHDRAW. Don't pull away from grieving parents until you think they're "better."

RUSH. Don't place a time line on the parents' grief. Their needs, not yours, are the important ones here. Don't say, "Aren't you over it yet?"

—K.L.