If you work with preemie families or belong to a multiples support group, chances are you'll someday encounter parents who have lost a twin, triplet or other multiple. As someone who understands the crisis of premature birth, or the magic of multiple babies, you'll want to help. But you may not know how. Based on suggestions from grieving parents and experts in parental grief, here are some suggestions.
Amy E Tracy

Acknowledge the parents' loss
When a multiple dies, parents not only lose a child, but the unique opportunity to raise twins, triplets or more. Recognize this loss. Some good things to say: "I'm sorry," or "I'm here and I want to listen." If parents named the baby, use the name. Even though one child is missing, parents often consider themselves fathers or mothers of the original set; refer to the survivors as the original number ("triplets," even if two survived).

Find helpful resources
Locate bereavement support groups and literature for parents who probably don't have the energy to seek help. The Center for Loss in Multiple Birth, P.O. Box 91377, Anchorage, AK 99509; (907) 222-5321; www.climb-support.org is a good place to start.

Give a gift
When giving a new-baby present, take along a gift that acknowledges the loss. Thoughtful ideas include a figurine of animals or children that affirms parenthood of all the babies, a memorial tree for planting or a donation to a bereaved parents' group.

Think before you speak
Though perhaps well intentioned, avoid making comments that could cause painful feelings, such as: "At least you have another baby," or "It would have been too hard to raise quadruplets anyway."

Remember the baby
Send a card, small gift or call on holidays and anniversaries of the baby's birth and death.PregnancyAndBaby.com

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