Whenever someone you love experiences the loss of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant death, you wish you knew the "right" thing to say or do. It's hard to know what to do because each person responds differently. Even so, the resources included here are some suggestions to help guide you as you support your friend or family member through this season of grief. Above all, thank you for wanting to help them. When we grieve, we need those closest to us even if it is hard.
We often get the question, “what can I do for my sister, daughter, friend, neighbor, who just lost a baby.” First, there is no perfect answer that will always work. Grief is a very unique experience and we each respond differently. Those that are grieving can be different than their normal selves because of the grief, stress, lack of sleep, or hormones (especially in the loss of a baby). We put this page together to give you ideas that we have heard or learned that are true for many people in this situation.
When a family is grieving the loss of a child it can be difficult to find the words to say. The parents may be so overwhelmed in their grief they depend on close family members and friends for emotional support, to help with decisions and arrangements and to take care of daily activities.
There will be a wide range of emotions for a long time. Knowing this may help the parents' feelings and help family and friends relate to them better. Remember, this is a time when grieving parents need your love, your caring and most of all, your acceptance.
While the child is still with the parents, depending on the situation...
- Encourage the parents (siblings/ family) to:
- Ask the parents if they have any special requests, keepsakes or outfits they might need from home to be included in pictures.
- Provide or arrange for additional care for other children at home and their pets if needed.
- Ask the family what they need support with to help them not feel so overwhelmed when they return home.
- Ask them to consider their wishes regarding a nursery or baby items they had prepared. Some may want to remove all traces of baby items before they return home, but then later wish they had a few mementos. Some want to leave it all in place for a while.
As the grieving parents cope with the reality of the loss of their child, there are lots of decisions to be made. These can be overwhelming, so here are a few ways you can offer to help. Please note the family may not want help with these items, but use these as ideas to offer.