The Best Books for Coping with Grief - Pregnancy and Infant Loss

Prematurity affects hundreds of thousands of families every year, and the truth is that many premature babies are born too early or too fragile to survive. It's a side of prematurity that many people try to avoid thinking about. Medical progress has come far and many, many premature babies survive to live long, happy lives, so to dwell on the possibility of death seems wrong. 

But the very sad reality is that many parents of preemies do not ever get to bring their babies home. And these parents especially deserve solace and empowerment from authors who understand them.

These 17 books  - for mothers, fathers, young children, siblings, grandparents, friends & family - offer a wide range of genres and writing styles so that you are sure to find one that helps.

Read on to the very end for additional online resources for bereaved parents. 

1
You are the Mother of all Mothers

Mother of all Mothers Book Cover

By Angela Miller

A powerfully beautiful book, with inspiring illustrations and words that comfort as only another grieving mother can.

Her empowering strength offers solace to bereaved mothers, and this book can help a grieving mother feel as though she has the perfect best friend - another mother who understands perfectly and knows just what to say.

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2
Empty Arms

Empty Arms Cover
Sherokee Ilse

by Sherokee Ilse

A profoundly warm and compassionate book, this is one which many readers wish that they had received before the death of their baby, because it has wonderful advice for getting through the actual death and the moments surrounding that immediate time.

Any family with even a shred of hope that their baby will live may be upset at the idea of receiving a book about losing their baby. But for the parents who know their baby will not survive, or for the individuals who would like to be well prepared for that possibility, this book can be a powerful, incredible gift which will help the family embrace their moments and heal. 

If a baby has already died, this book still is a wonderful support and parents greatly benefit from the wisdom and insight the author delivers. 

3
Empty Cradle, Broken Heart

Empty Cradle, Broken Heart Cover

 By Deborah L. Davis

This book helps grieving parents feel less alone in the heavy burden of loss. It's offers a sense of compassion and understanding that parents of young babies how have died so desperately deserve. 

4
A Guide for Fathers: When a Baby Dies

A Guide For Fathers: When a Baby Dies

By Tim Nelson

This pocket-sized guide book is perfect for fathers needing a book just for them when dealing with the death of a baby. It offers great advice on communicating with a partner, handling the return to work, talking with other children and much more, in a short and easy read.

5
A Silent Sorrow

A Silent Sorrow Cover

 by Ingrid Kohn, MSW and Perry-Lynn Moffitt

This thoughtful book devoted to pregnancy loss is a wonderful resource for the entire family - mothers, fathers, grandparents, family & friends. As a book written by health professionals, it is thorough, accurate and relevant, yet stories and quotes from grieving families throughout the book help it feel very personal and comforting. 

6
Beyond Tears: Living After Losing a Child

Beyond Tears Book Cover

By Ellen Mitchell

 This book shares 9 different stories of losing a child, as written by their mothers, which offers a unique kind of comfort.  Rather than a textbook approach to grief and coping, this book allows readers to immerse themselves in the stories of others, and feel the support and compassion from women who have traveled a similar road. 

7
Healing a Parent's Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas

Healing a Parent's Grieving Heart

By Alan D. Wolfelt PhD 

This book is a gem - honest, reasonable, compassionate. The author acknowledges that he is not a grieving parent, but rather a guide who has helped thousands of grieving parents.

Written in easy-to-read bullet points of wisdom, his approach gently and simply lets parents know they are not alone, helps them feel supported and encourages them to get the support they need, and then offers many tried & true ways to help.

This book is not specifically about pregnancy loss, but more geared towards parents who have lost children of any age. The simple, empowering statements and suggestions are completely relevant, and this book is sure to be a great comfort for any grieving parent. 

8
Healing after Loss

Healing After Loss Book Cover

By Martha Whitmore Hickman

Written by a mother who lost her 16 year old daughter, this book is another treasure, even though it may not be specifically about pregnancy loss. It is about healing, and the honesty she brings and the openness of her process is a wonderful help to anyone who is grieving. Written in one page entries (One page for January 1st, another page for January 2nd, etc), the book is easy to read in small doses, easier for many parents to handle than a bigger textbook of grief.  

9
Pregnancy after a Loss

Pregnancy after a loss book cover

by Carol Cirulli Lanham

Often parents who have lost an infant hope to try again to have children. The emotional enormity of embracing a new pregnancy after the devastating loss of a previous baby can feel overwhelming. This book gracefully weaves answers to both emotional and medical questions into an easy to read guidebook.  

10
An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination: A Memoir

An Exact Replica of a fragment of my imagination book Cover

 by Elizabeth McCracken

This book offers a different approach than many - it's a memoir, written by a talented author about her experience losing in infant. For readers who look to immerse themselves in the well-written, honest story of another who has gone through a similar loss, this book is fantastic. 

11
I Will Carry You

I Will Carry You Book Cover

By Angie Smith

This memoir shares the story of a baby diagnosed with a terminal condition before birth, and the family's struggle to cope with the overwhelming grief. This is a faith-based story that will inspire and comfort many families going through the loss of an infant.

12
Grieving the Child I Never Knew

Grieving the Child I Never Knew Cover

 By Kathe Wunnenberg

This faith-based devotional is a great source of comfort for families looking to process their grief and find comfort in the words of another mother who understands. 

13
Something Happened

Something Happened Book Cover

By Cathy Blanford

An expert grief counselor has created this sweet children's book, which parents treasure as a guide to helping young children get the answers they need when they are dealing with the loss of a new baby brother or sister. Sweet illustrations, sensitive wording and clear age-appropriate explainations make this book a real gift.

14
Someone Came Before You

Someone Came Before You Cover

By Pat Schwiebert

The children's book you've been looking for when you hope to explain to your living children about an older sibling who died. This faith-based book offers comfort and answers to young children who want to understand about the brother or sister they've heard of but whom they never got to meet.  

15
We were gonna have a baby, but we had an angel instead

Angel Instead Book Cover

 By Pat Schwiebert

This simple paperback book is an age-appropriate way for parents to share a story with young children that helps explain when a baby dies. It's a short story, ideal for young children ages 2-8.

16
Always My Twin

Always my twin book cover

By Valerie R. Samuels 

Another book for children, this one tenderly tells the story of the loss of one twin while the other twin survives. This unique situation deserves it's own book, and this one is honest, compassionate and thoughtful. 

17
The Invisible String

The Invisible String Book Cover

 by Patrice Karst

This children's book is not at all about grief or losing a sibling, but it is a sweet and uplifting story about how we are all connected, even to those we can't see.

Parents who want stories for siblings that aren't just about grief and death, but something that will still inspire a sense of connectedness with a lost sibling, this book can be a great comfort. 

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Still haven't found what you're looking for?

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 If you're looking for more than books, there are wonderful resources online to support grieving families. A few fantastic sites include:

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