My SIL is in the latter stages of her pregnancy. Just before Christmas she learned that all was not right with her precious little girl, and since then it seems that every appointment brings more bad news. The doctors have repeatedly said to expect the worst. Should that happen, I'm looking for advice from moms who have lost their angels on how to support my SIL through this.

Also, if there is a memorial, I am uncertain whether it would be appropriate to bring my own children. On the one hand, I know my SIL loves her niece and nephew, but at the same time I am concerned that it might cause her more pain from the reminder that my children lived while hers did not.

We are hoping for the best. I've tried to help my SIL stay positive through all this. But I do want to be prepared for the worst.

I would really prefer to hear from people who lost a baby. I want to know what helped you to grieve and what did not help.

asked 20 Mar '11, 13:35

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

edited 22 Mar '11, 13:04

Very nice question

(25 Mar '11, 02:56) ynotaarthi

So I'm guessing that no news is good news... right?

(28 Apr '11, 12:23) Benjol

She has an appointment today and was told to expect to be induced as a result of this visit. We are still awaiting confirmation that today is the day and we are still praying for all the doctors and equipment to be seriously wrong.

(28 Apr '11, 12:42) mkcoehoorn

My niece was born last night (4/29). Her health is better than the doctors expected but she still has a long, uncertain road ahead. She will have surgery tomorrow to connect her rectum and for the time being she is intubated because she cannot breathe on her own. But her brain is better developed than they thought, though still missing some areas, and, even though the bones in her arms are differing lengths, she was able to grasp her daddy's finger. We are still waiting to hear word on the other expected issues.

(30 Apr '11, 12:46) mkcoehoorn

My niece will me removed from life support tomorrow morning after almost 4 weeks of fighting. Every major organ is damaged or not functioning properly. Because of all the issues, she is not a candidate for transplants. If any one is interested in the details of what they have been facing you can read about it on their blog.

(24 May '11, 10:18) mkcoehoorn

@Melody thank you for keeping us up to date. I'm sorry to hear your news.

(24 May '11, 15:21) Tammy ♦♦
showing 5 of 6 show 1 more comments

Hi There, I lost my son when I was 37 weeks pregnant. He had a severe form of Hydrocephaly that went undiagnosed until my 36th week of pregnancy. He died of complications of Hydrocephaly at birth, and he was my first child. My deepest sympathies go out to your sister in law, I am so sorry she has to go through this. The advice I would give you on how best to support your sister is to continue to talk to her and treat her like the person she has always been. People seem to think that grieving parents are no longer people, just "the mom who lost her baby" or "the dad who lost his baby", and they walk on eggshells around them, they stop calling, stop visiting, because they just don't know "what to say". The problem is, we don't want you to treat us like we're made of glass. We want to talk about regular, "every day" stuff because it helps take our minds off our loss. You don't need to "say" anything. No amount of advice or well wishes will take the pain away. Only time and grieving will do that. Just be there, with hugs, with food, with a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on. Don't ever say to her "well, you could always have another child", trust me, she won't want to hear that. Take her out of the house too, even if she resists your efforts. A pedicure, a walk, a movie, anything to change her scenry for a while. And for the memorial, just ask her if she'd prefer that you get a sitter for your kids. She'll tell you what she wants. Grieving is a process, and she may get "stuck" at some points. Encourage any efforts she makes to move through the process. I found that my faith in God was ultimately what got me through the grieving process. I don't know what your sister in law believes, but if she believes in God at all, encourage her to continue that relationship. If your're looking for a good book for grieving mothers, one I found very helpful was "Empty Cradle, Broken Heart" by Deborah L. Davis. My heart goes out to you both. Mary Jane


answered 19 Apr '11, 14:16

MaryJane%20Zubick's gravatar image

MaryJane Zubick
accept rate: 50%


+10 if I could

(23 Apr '11, 01:11) Benjol

I'm so sorry your family is having to deal with this mkcoehoorn.

This is a good link for how to help your sister-in-law if she does lose her baby. Giving Support After Stillbirth

I suffered miscarriages much earlier in pregnancy, which was no where near so deep a sorrow for me. (Just for me, I know some women grieve deeply over their miscarriages.)

Just be there for her, really listen, and accept that there is nothing you can do to "fix" her grief, but you can be a compassionate presence in her life when the world seems cold, mean, hard and fundamentally unfair.

For so long after my sister died, I felt like a 6 year old, stomping my feet, crying and yelling at God and the universe that it was "unfair, unfair, UNFAIR!" I was so sick of grieving and hurting and of myownself, but the only was through it is to keep going right through the middle. And being tired of doing it doesn't mean your done. Be patient, by the time you get fed up with your sister-in-laws grieving, she'll probably will be too, but it really very unlikely that her wound has done much more than started to heal.

I've gone for a walk everyday for all of my adult life, except after my sister died, one of my neighbours showed up at my door about three weeks after her memorial and said "Put on your shoes, we're going for a walk." I said "I'm not company I'd inflict on anybody right now." He said "I said walk, not talk." He showed up at my door for a week, then said he thought I could manage on my own from then on. He was right, I'll always bless him for showing me that a beloved part of my routine wasn't dead with my beloved sister. Stuff like that, just kindness and quiet company can mean the most.

You'll think of practical things to do, bringing food and making sure she leaves the house at least once a week is the easy part.

As for the possible memorial, if the time comes, ask her if she'd like you to get a babysitter for the kids. Everyone grieves differently and there is no way to know if she'll find them a comfort or painfull reminder. She'll probably appreciate that you thought to ask.

Good luck, I'm praying too.


answered 23 Mar '11, 11:57

Neen's gravatar image

accept rate: 30%

A few years ago, before our first child was born, I read a personal history that appeared in the New Yorker called "Vessels" by Daniel Raeburn. It's subtitled "Irene Raeburn: born December 28, 2004; died December 24, 2004." It's a powerful piece that might help your sister in law or others in her life come to terms with stillbirth, should the worst happen.


answered 24 Mar '11, 23:03

Phil's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

Thank you.

(25 Mar '11, 02:47) mkcoehoorn

I had one of those pregnancy's. Was even told at one point that I had lost him. He's now a healthy three year old.

I would hope for the best. Even doctors in this day and age don't always know.

If there is a problem and something does go wrong. Speak from the heart. Give lots of hugs and whatever you do, do not say that there will be another one.

Talk about how she felt holding that baby under her heart.

Also, just so you know...there is an agency called, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. Google it. I would recommend she have this done.

Good luck, Ness


answered 21 Mar '11, 16:49

Never%20the%20Ness's gravatar image

Never the Ness
accept rate: 0%

edited 23 Mar '11, 00:33

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image


But you didn't lose the baby. I want to be prepared to help my SIL if she does. Yes we are hoping for the best. We are asking everyone we know to pray for them. But I don't want to get so hung up on hoping that I lose sight of the risks here and get caught off guard if the baby dies.

(22 Mar '11, 13:06) mkcoehoorn

I agree with what Ness suggested. This website may also be helpful: It has additional suggestions, like how to help her stop lactation. I hope for the best for your family.


answered 23 Mar '11, 05:19

johearn's gravatar image

accept rate: 12% - you might find this story helpful in understanding what your SIL is going through


answered 20 May '11, 11:24

Meg%20Stephenson's gravatar image

Meg Stephenson
accept rate: 7%

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Asked: 20 Mar '11, 13:35

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Last updated: 24 May '11, 15:21

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