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5 things I didn't want to hear when I was grieving and 1 thing that helped

Here are my top five things not to say to a grieving parent — and the thing I love to hear instead.


In 2013, I found out I was pregnant with triplets.

Image via iStock.

My husband and I were in shock but thrilled at the news after dealing with infertility for years. And it didn't take long for the comments to begin. When people found out, the usual remarks followed: "Triplets?! What are you going to do? Three kids at once?! Glad it's not me!"

After mastering my response (and an evil look reserved for the rudest comments), I figured that was the worst of it. But little did I know I would be facing far worse comments after two of my triplets passed away.

On June 23, 2013, I gave birth to my triplets, more than four months premature.

My daughter, Abigail, passed away that same day; my son, Parker, died just shy of 2 months old. Before then, I didn't know much about child loss; it was uncharted territory. Like most people, I wouldn't know how to respond or what to say if a friend's child passed away.

Image via iStock.

But two years later, I have found that some things are better left unsaid. These comments come from a good place, and I know people mean well, but they sure do sting.

Here are my top five things not to say to a grieving parent — and the thing I love to hear instead.

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Photo by Tamara Bellis on Unsplash
woman in white tank top carrying child in blue shirt

News reporter Kayla Sullivan was wrapping gifts and addressing Christmas cards to her son’s teachers late one night when she decided to share something with her many followers that was different than her usual content.

She’s become famous for doing “news reports” featuring the lighter side of parenting. “Going live” from her home and various day-to-day destinations using household items as props. But in this particular video, she instead shared about feeling sad and embarrassed about having a different last name than her four-year-old son.

The feelings were prompted by needing to write “Alan’s mom” in parenthesis when signing the cards for his teachers.

“I told myself I’d probably delete the [Instagram] story in the morning and regret getting this vulnerable on social media," Sullivan told Parents. "Instead, I woke up to so many people with kind things to say or stories that genuinely offered great advice.”

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via Alexabii97/TikTok and Bmchper/TikTok

Bailey defends Alexandria's breakfast.

Alexandra Sabol is a writer and a mother of 3 in North Carolina who makes TikToks centered around cooking and raising her family. Many of her videos feature her giving a deadpan look while preparing meals that look a lot like those cooked in everyday American homes. But, sadly, the food just isn't good enough for some self-righteous moms on TikTok.

(And that could be the exact reason why Alexandra is posting videos.)

In a video with over 3.3 million views, Alexandra filmed herself preparing a meal for her 1-year-old daughter that included 3 powdered donuts and an applesauce pouch. The video received a lot of negative feedback from other parents who shamed her for feeding her 1-year-old donuts as well as her appearance.

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Madison Barbosa says millennials will make the best grandparents

Is society soon to receive an influx of top-tier, compassionate grandmothers?

A TikToker named Madison Barbosa made a video that resonated deeply with viewers. In it, the stay-at-home mom of two-under-two extolled the virtues of millennial moms and the kinds of grandmothers she predicts they’ll be.

“I think the best era of grandmas is yet to come,” she begins in the video, viewed close to half a million times.

“I feel like millennial grandmoms are going to be elite," Madison continues. "We know what not to do based on the majority of boomers. And that’s not to say I don’t love my grandmoms. My grandmoms are great. But the judgyness and the unnecessary, unwarranted comments—we know not to do that."

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