Family & Friends
No one ever wants to hear the
words, “there is something wrong with my baby.”
Yet, you are probably reading this because you have
been touched by someone who has said these words to
you. If you are a family member or friend of someone
who has been given an adverse diagnosis either before
or after the birth of their child, you have come to
the right place. Not only are the parents grieving,
but you are as well. Sometimes we grieve from the unknowns,
other times because the diagnosis seems so gloom, or
still more so because a tiny infant has passed away.
The pain can seem unbearable as you are filled with
a mix of emotions. Know that you are not alone. There
is a vast sea of people who have experienced similar
situations. We hope by reading some stories, it will
help you to heal or even just give you the peace you
need to reach out to your loved one.
of things to say to a loved one who has received an
adverse prenatal diagnosis…
• I am so sorry.
• I can not understand what you are going through,
but am here for you.
• God will give you every grace you need.
• I will pray for you and your little one.
• Through God ALL things are possible.
• Go to our Blessed Mother. She knows your pain
and will wrap you in her mantle.
• Name your baby, talk to your baby, and love
• Create wonderful memories of this special time
while he is still alive and protected in your sacred
• Remember that God can and does perform miracles.
Don’t be afraid to ask, and don’t be afraid
• These special babies bring with them many spiritual
gifts and grace.
• No matter how long your baby lives, he will
be your child for all eternity.
Suggestions on what not to say, (things that may cause
confusion and lead a women to end her pregnancy or things
that may make her feel badly)….
• At least you are young. (Youth doesn’t
take away the pain.)
• You can always have another. (No child can replace
• At least you have other healthy children. (Although
other children are a gift, it doesn’t take away
the pain or knowing your child is not healthy.)
• Did you hear about so and so who had this and
that happen. (Try not to minimize the pain, by bringing
up someone who may appear to have a bigger cross.)
• If the child had a fatal condition, don’t
try to make them feel better by saying how tough it
would be to raise a child with special needs. The pregnant
mother probably wants more than anything for her child
to live, despite any disabilities.
• This is between you and God.
• Only you know what is best for you and your
• You need to keep your own health in mind.
• This has got to be hard on your body.
• What do you think is the right thing to do?
• This is a complicated matter.
• Follow your own conscience.
• I’m worried about your mental health.
• Listen to the doctors and do what you think
your heart tells you to do.
• If your choice is made with love, it can’t
• In this case, it is okay to say good-bye early.
Suggestions of things you
can do to help celebrate the child’s life
• Don’t be afraid
to mention the child’s name, before and after
birth. Continue to mention the child’s name even
if the child dies. Remember birthdays and anniversaries.
• Make specific offers to help the family out.
Open ended offers such as, “let me know if there
is anything I can do,” can be too much for someone
who have received a devastating diagnosis to respond
• Offer to help out with the other children for
doctor appointments etc.
• If the family has other children, offer to do
something special with one or more. They are hurting
too and could probably use some special attention.
• Offer to fill a specific task such as, assist
with and send out birth announcements. Just offer to
do the foot work that the mother may not be able to
do before or after delivery.
• Offer to come with
the mother to appointments if a support person isn’t
able to come.
• Make something for the child. Some ideas of
meaningful things that you can make, do, or buy are…
• a spiritual bouquet of prayers and sacrifices
• picture frame
• letter written to the child
• handprint molds
• footprint molds
• preemie or newborn outfit (most babies should
be able to wear at least one outfit, even if born
Words of wisdom from mothers who have experienced an
Although society puts great
value on health and beauty, those are not always God's
greatest values. He often does the most good through
those who are weak, poor and humble. Certainly our children
with adverse diagnoses fall into the category of "blessed
are the meek and the poor." We will someday find
out what they accomplished on earth during their particular
All of our children need our
mothering and fathering in different ways. In the case
of a sick child, or one who may not live long, there
is great peace in knowing that you have done all you
could do for that child, that you mothered or fathered
him or her the absolute best that you could. For some,
this will mean taking care of yourself during a pregnancy
which you know your child won't survive; for others,
it might mean allowing hospital staff to care for and
feed your child and even allow surgeries. For others,
it might mean keeping your child comfortable while he
or she passes onto the Lord. But these are all forms
of loving and parenting, and when we do our best for
each child, there is great peace.
The support, information and encouragement provided by the PPFL parents is not meant to take the place of medical advice by a medical professional. Any specific questions about care should be directed to a health care professional familiar with the situation.