Key points

  • If you are grieving the loss of one or more of your mutliples, please know that you will always be a multiple birth parent.
  • Feelings of grief do not necessarily lessen over time. Parenting a surviving twin, triplet or more may bring sadness as well as joy.
  • Seeking grief counselling or support from organisations such as Red Nose Australia may be helpful. AMBA can assist you to connect to other bereaved parents of multiples.
  • For extended family members supporting bereaved parents of multiples, being there to listen and reflect, without presuming to know how grief will - or should - be expressed, is often all that is needed. Remember that grief is carried for a long time - continued contact and support is very important.

Support for parents grieving the loss of a baby or babies

If you have experienced the miscarriage or death of one or more of your multiples, please know that to members of AMBA, you will always be multiple birth parents.

Grief is such a personal experience and within many bereaved couples, each partner expresses their grief in very different ways. One partner may cry often and repeatedly talk about their deceased child or children, while the other partner may feel a need to ‘be strong’, taking their grief behind closed doors. Different expressions of grief may compound feelings of isolation and distress.

Bereaved parents may also feel social pressure to grieve for a short time only when, in reality, grief may intensify in the months and years after your child or children’s death. In the case of surviving multiple birth babies, parents must juggle the sadness of losing a child or children with the joy of seeing their surviving child or children grow and develop.

  • Some strategies that may help you to navigate your grief include:
  • accepting that each parent will grief differently in a way that is right for them
  • seeking support from other families who have been through similar situations. AMBA can assist if you would like to speak with other bereaved parents of multiples.
  • seeking help in the form of grief counselling, relationship counselling or a combination of both. A need for professional assistance is never a failure on the part of either parent to handle or process grief.
  • Reaching out to specific organisations which support families through grief and loss - for example, Red Nose Australia, SANDS, Griefline and Bears of Hope all offer telephone support lines, online support and extensive resource libraries.

Members of AMBA-affiliated multiple births clubs can watch the webinar How to find your way through grief and loss to healing and peace, available here.

Support for extended families grieving the loss of a baby or babies

Grief is profoundly personal and there is no simple answer as to what to say or do for someone who is bereaved. Even between bereaved parents there can be vastly different expressions of grief. It is very important to listen to what each bereaved parent wants and needs without presuming to have the answers. Acknowledging the death, listening and simply ‘being there’ can be very meaningful supports. Being responsive to the bereaved parents’ emotional needs may include giving them space and time alone; other bereaved parents may find company soothing and seek regular contact with their loved ones.

Cliches such as ‘it’s for the best’, ‘you can always have another baby’, ‘time heals all wounds’ and any sentence beginning with ‘at least…’ are often well-intentioned but are hurtful and have the effect of minimising or dismissing the parent’s pain. Bereaved parents are rarely looking for advice; they are looking for someone to listen and acknowledge their loss. It may be more helpful to admit ‘I don’t know what to say’ while reiterating support for your beloved friend or family member.

Members of AMBA-affiliated multiple births clubs can watch the webinar How to find your way through grief and loss to healing and peace, available here.