5 Ways to Support a Friend Who Lost Their Baby

“My friend just lost a baby and I’m at a loss of what to do or say. How can I be a support during this time?

I’m often asked this question by caring friends and family members who know someone who has recently lost their precious baby. If you’re asking yourself this same question today I want to start by saying thank you. Just the fact that you’d ask shows that you truly care.

The loss of a child is one of the deepest griefs to face and one of the most complicated to respond to. In those first few months after losing my newborn son I could hardly imagine what I needed, let alone articulate it to someone else. I’m so grateful for people like you who met us where we were at when we needed it the most. While there is no “one size fits all” approach, there were several things that my husband and I found especially helpful as we processed the loss of our newborn son.

Don’t be afraid to talk about the baby. I love it when people ask me about Ethan, or when they say his name out loud. Simply start by saying, “I’d love to hear more about [baby’s name] sometime” and be prepared to hear as much or as little as they feel comfortable sharing. Your loved one hasn’t forgotten their child, not even for a moment, and hearing or speaking their name is one of the greatest gifts a bereaved parent can receive. Consider remembering their baby’s legacy alongside them by joining them at Forever Footprints’ Walk to Remember or by sponsoring a memory box or sibling backpack in their baby’s honor. Don’t worry about “reminding” them about something upsetting–They haven’t forgotten, no matter how much time has passed.

Remember important dates and milestones. Add their baby’s birth date, due date, or other significant milestones to your calendar and check in with your friend on those days. Brief texts of “Remembering [baby’s name] with you today” can mean so much as each month and milestone passes. Even those closest to us tend to move on with their lives after those first few weeks and, while we often understand, it means so much when people remember.

Offer to help. Even better, offer specific ways you can help. While a “let me know if I can do anything” certainly shows that you care (and definitely isn’t a bad thing to say), your friend may not have the energy to identify their needs or ask for help. Feel free to offer specifics based on your unique abilities. “Can I bring you a meal on Tuesday night?” or “How about I watch the kids on Saturday?” can mean so much. Connection with other loss parents can also be helpful–offer to connect them with someone you know who has also lost a baby or refer them to a Forever Footprints Support Group.

Continue to include them. There were days when when we needed to be alone, yet others when we craved normalcy and a day with friends or family was just what we needed. While it was difficult for me to navigate crowded social gatherings or to be near young children in those first few months, it meant a lot to to be invited and to have the opportunity to accept or decline. While everything had changed, I needed to still feel like myself sometimes.

Don’t worry about finding the perfect thing to say. Accept the fact that nothing you can say will “fix” your grieving loved one’s pain–and that is okay. We know you would do anything to find those perfect words if you could. Well-meaning phrases such as “it was for the best” or “they’re in a better place” can feel hurtful or confusing, especially in those first few months. Your friend or loved one doesn’t expect you to have all of the answers. One of the most helpful things someone said to me after Ethan died was, “I’m so sorry. I wish I knew what to say.” To them it probably felt as if their words fell flat, but to me it was refreshing. Simply acknowledge their pain and sit with them for a moment. Give yourself the freedom to not do or say the “perfect” thing. Your presence and your caring heart mean more than you know.


Kristin HernandezKristin Hernandez lives in Southern California with her husband Chris and their Queensland Heeler mix, Dakota. After struggling with unexplained infertility for several years, Kristin was thrilled when she became pregnant with Ethan. The celebration quickly turned to concern when doctors discovered Ethan had a serious heart defect and was missing a piece of his brain–likely indicative of a chromosome abnormality. Ethan was born on August 16, 2015 and spent his 93-minute life in his parents’ arms. Kristin is now a mother to five babies in heaven, including four of Ethan’s younger siblings who she has never met. Despite these struggles, Kristin has resolved to embrace the life she has been given and to leave a legacy for her family.  Kristin works in communications by day, but can also be found running, camping, writing or having a conversation over a cup of coffee. She writes at www.sunlightindecember.com and is the cohost of the Through the Lens Podcast.


*Top photo by Evan Kirby on Unsplash

Friendships and Loss

I will never forget the first time I felt it. I was sitting in a room full of women, who were all laughing, talking, complaining about their husbands, bragging about their children. It was five months after my son Joseph had died, and I thought I could do it. I thought I could join the world again. I wanted to feel normal. But sitting in that room—with a newly formed women’s group—I never felt so alone in my entire life. The sounds all became one, like a constant buzzing. My hands started to sweat. My heart started to pound. And I ran for the door.

I ran from new friendships and I ran from my old friendships. I isolated myself from those who had children and babies. I couldn’t face my pregnant friends, because I was a reminder to them of what could go wrong. My friends’ worlds were moving forward, and my life felt as if it was standing still. I didn’t know how to be anyone’s friend.

I was different. I had held my son and watched him take his last breaths. I watched his casket being put in the ground. I had gone home to leaking breasts full of his milk, an empty nursery, and a broken heart. And my friends would never understand that.



As the months after Joseph’s death turned into years, and I sought the help of support groups and private therapy to deal with my grief, I tried to repair old friendships and begin new ones. I started to accept this was the new me. And I began to see, I didn’t have to run.

And I wasn’t alone after all. Through Forever Footprints I’ve met thousands of other women just like me. Women who have lost their child or children. Many of them have become my friends. We may not talk every day. We may not see each other for months. But I know they are there for me, and I am there for them. We are forever connected by the love of our babies.


I’m so fortunate to have women like Taite and Liz in my life. We share the pain of our losses but have formed beautiful friendships. Forever Footprints brought us together. To join a support group and sit beside others who know your pain, Click Here for more information.


I found I could become a friend to others that struggled with pain or loss. It doesn’t just come in the form of losing a child, but also through things like divorce or illness. I’m not always the friend people call to go out for a movie or to go on a girl’s trip, but I’m often the one they call when they are going through a difficult time.


Our friends have been a wonderful support and attended the OC Walk to Remember with us each year. I’m especially grateful to my friend Sandi who has walked beside me for 12 years at every OC Walk to Remember since it began. To create your own team or to walk in honor of a friend’s baby at the 2017 OC Walk to Remember on October 14, Click Here


There are still times I sit in a room and feel so different than anyone else. But I don’t run. I embrace that being a mom who has lost a child has formed me into a person who is strong, brave, resilient, and compassionate. And I tell my story, because more often than not, there someone else in that room that needs a friend.


Kristyn von Rotz is the Founder and Chair of the Board of Directors for Forever Footprints, a nonprofit organization that gives support, education and remembrance to families who have experienced pregnancy loss or infant death. In honor of her son Joseph, who died at birth in July 2005, she has worked for twelve years to improve the care families receive after the loss of their child or children. She’s the mom to three living children and works as a freelance writer and editor. Click Here to follow her Facebook page.

Register now for the OC and IE Walks


Registration is open for the 11th annual OC Walk to Remember, a Forever Footprints event, sponsored by ViaSat Inc., on October 10, and the IE Walk to Remember, on October 24.

We encourage parents to invite their loved ones and friends to join them as they walk in remembrance of their child or children. The walk is preceded by a Memorial Ceremony, where each baby’s name is read in remembrance and celebration of each life. After the Walk, we have a Celebration of Angels where there is food, vendors, fellowship, and helpful information.

OC Walk to Remember Registration: Click Here

IE Walk to Remember Registration: Click Here

Registration is now open

We walk for the steps our babies will never take

Registration is now open for the 11th annual OC Walk to Remember and the 2nd annual Forever Footprints 5K Run. Please click on the link to register and explore the many ways you can help support the Forever Footprints community. Click Here to Register

Baby Memorial Service- 2014

The attached  list of Baby Names is from everyone who registered for the walk and will be read at the Memorial Ceremony on Saturday.


*If you have already registered and your baby’s name is missing from this list, please go to the “Baby Name Booth” at the Walk on Saturday morning to have your baby’s name added.
*If you have not registered yet, your babies name will be added after you register on Saturday morning.
*If you registered for the Virtual Registration and do not see your baby’s name, it will be added on Saturday morning.


Please click Click HERE to download the list now and ensure that if you have pre-registered your baby’s name is featured on this list.  If you do not see the name on the list, please do NOT respond to this post or send an email, but go to the “Baby Name Booth” on Saturday and have your baby’s name added.  Thank you!