23. What do I call my multiples if I experience a loss during pregnancy?
For most parents, the loss of one or more multiples during or after pregnancy involves a complex grieving process. The question of how to address the surviving multiple(s) is a personal choice that may evolve over a long period of time.
Parents' decisions sometimes change over time. Some parents choose to call their living children surviving triplets, quadruplets, etc. For example, when one triplet does not survive pregnancy or birth, the other two may be referred to as surviving triplets. However other families, for various reasons, prefer to call two surviving multiples twins, three surviving multiples triplets etc.
From a medical perspective, some doctors
may count a set of survivors as only the number that are living, but physicians
can be informed of the parent’s preferences and usually support
whatever option a parent chooses.
For additional resources on loss, see the MOST Bereavement Resources Listing.
MOST offers personal support to multiple birth families that experience a loss during or after pregnancy Visit the MOST Memorial page for more information.
Another wonderful bereavement support organization for multiple birth families is the Center for Loss in Multiple Births.
Survival of Other Fetuses After a Fetal Death in Twin or Triplet Pregnancies by Courtney D. Johnson, MPH and Jun Zhang, PhD, MD (study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology Abstract)
MOST also offers our book Expecting Multiples: A Comprehensive Guide covering a variety of topics related to pregnancy and delivery of higher-order multiples including sections on loss at each stage of the pregnancy.
See the MOST Supertwins Library for additional articles on loss in a multiple birth.
Resources specifically for loss prior to birth:
Perinatal Hospice As prenatal testing becomes increasingly routine, more parents are learning devastating news before their babies are born. In too many places, the ability to diagnose has raced ahead of the ability to care for these families and their babies. But in a beautiful and practical response, some pioneering hospitals and hospices around the country are starting perinatal hospice or perinatal palliative care programs for families who wish to continue their pregnancies with babies who likely will die before or shortly after birth.
A Place to Remember offers uplifting support materials and resources for those who have been touched by a crisis in pregnancy or the death of a baby.
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is a non-profit organization that provides free sensitive photography services to parents of infants as early as 20 weeks gestation who are dying to capture those precious final days and moments that become cherished family heirlooms and reminders of lives loved. All services are free to families.
Copyright 2005 Updated 7/23/10