Q&A: How Do I Comfort Them?

Mar 28, 2015 | Q&A, Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), Twin-toTwin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS)

There are no magic words that will resolve this pain for them.

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I’m not sure if you can help me but, at this stage, I’m open to anything. My brother and his girlfriend, who is 40, were expecting twins. After discovering that they were monochorionic twins, Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) was diagnosed.

Based on a decision to aggressively treat the TTTS, they were advised to undergo prenatal screening before embarking on any treatment program. Today, the FISH results of their CVS have indicated Trisomy 21 in 80% of the cells resulting in a diagnosis of Mosaic Down Syndrome. On top of this, one baby has indications of abnormal heart development. They were advised to terminate the pregnancy, and have decided to do so.

Naturally, they are devastated. Actually, we are all. As a mother of two healthy daughters and cannot begin to imagine what they are experiencing right now. How can I help and comfort them? I cannot think of anything to say that doesn’t sound trivial, and there is so little I can do. My heart is breaking for them but I feel utterly helpless.

Any advice you can offer would be very welcome.


I am so sorry to hear that your brother and his girlfriend are facing the double loss of twins. You are very thoughtful to look for ways to be supportive of them.

An important thing to keep in mind is that there are no magic words that will resolve this pain for them. It’s most important that you remain sympathetic, caring and non-judgmental. Listen to them, let them talk about it if they want to, but don’t pry. And whatever you do, take care not to tell them how they should feel.

In our extensive Q&A, What Helped and What Didn’t,  grieving parents from our private support group shared what was helpful to them (and what was not) following a poor prenatal diagnosis and pregnancy termination. It is a handy guide for family and friends who want to offer support and understanding but aren’t sure what to say or do.

Please tell your brother and his girlfriend about our private support group as well. It’s a safe and supportive place for parents who are grieving after ending a wanted pregnancy due to poor prenatal diagnosis.

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