What is acceptable etiquette for knowing that a relative newborn may not live?

What is acceptable etiquette for knowing that a relative newborn may not live?

by Ken
(Wilcox, Arizona)

I have relatives that are going to have their first baby. The doctors have said that the baby only has a 5% chance of living. We are going to attend the birth of the baby.

What would be the proper card, flowers etc. for
this sad occasion?

May 03, 2011
Gifts and Condolences
by: Kevin (Modern Manners and Etiquette)

Wow...I am saddened by the situation and I offer my thoughts and prayers with you at this time. I hope that it all turns out for the best and that everyone finds comfort in the situation.

To be brutally honest, the gift or card that you give them is going to mean very little and will be forgotten after a short period of time. So, from that perspective, it matters very little what you give them.

What they will remember though, is the fact that you were there to love and support them during this difficult time. People who are willing to offer love and support in difficult times makes the largest impression.

As an example, I had a friend in high school and his mother had cancer and was terminally ill. The night of her passing, I remember going over to his house just to be with him and offer my love and friendship. As a high school kid, I had no idea what to say and what to do. But, it didn't matter. He still speaks of that from time to time and how thankful he was that I was there for him.

On the other side of the situation, my father passed away from a heart attack several years ago. I cannot remember what gifts and cards people offered, but I do remember the number of people that came to our home and to the funeral to offer their support. Those are the things that really matter, so you are doing the right thing by going (even if it is difficult).

As far as a gift goes, I would suggest flowers. Flowers are good for this situation because flowers can be used for offering congratulations or condolences. In this case, the flowers would be acceptable in either event.

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