Thursday, October 9, 2014

My Friend's Baby Died, How Can I Help?

I get contacted frequently about someone who has a had a friend or family member lose a baby and they want to know what they can do. It's heartbreaking how often I get asked this, but I am so glad that people are asking how they can help. Pregnancy and infant loss is real and those friends and family members need support, so thank you for reaching out!

What Can I Say?

So often we want to be able to fix or explain away the pain. In the situation of losing a child, you just can't. There's no reason or answer that is going to make the heartache stop.

- I'm so sorry.

- I don't know what you're going through but I'm here for you.

- Tell me about him/her (use the baby's name)

- When/if you want to talk about it, I want to listen (don't force, just being with someone in the silence is okay too)

- I know how you feel (Unless you have lost a child and truly do know how they feel)

- I'm thinking of you/praying for you

Things that are better left unsaid...
- "God needed another angel" or "God needed your baby"
- "You can have more kids"
- Anything that starts with "At least..."
-  Be thankful for the other children you do have
- Try to refrain from telling your own story (or your brother's aunt's second cousin's), just listen and be there. This is about them.

What Can I Do?

Be present. Listen. Even if you are listening to silence or tears. Probably THE most important thing you can do is to just be there. You don't have to have the right words and you can't fix it.

- Don't judge. Grief is impossible to explain to someone who hasn't been there. Don't judge words, actions or reactions. There may be anger, sadness, laughter, or happiness. Every journey is different.

- Give a small gift (see below)

- Use the baby's name, remember the important dates (due dates, birth dates, date they passed away)

- Instead of saying "call me if you need something", offer to do practical, specific things. For example, "I'm coming over Tuesday to do your laundry", "I will bring you dinner Saturday evening", "I will call you tomorrow". And follow through!

- Keep checking up on them. Baby loss is very lonely. The rest of the world keeps moving while your world has stopped and it's a LOT to deal with. Other people get to go on with their lives while we struggle to figure out our new lives.

I want to give a small gift, do you have any ideas?

- Anything with the baby's name (a small handkerchief, blanket, stuffed animal or personalized necklace)

- Willow Tree angels

- Christmas ornaments with baby's name

- Personalized necklace with the baby's name or all of their children's names (on etsy search "personalized necklace")

Do you have any resources I can point them to?

NILMDTS - An organization that will come and take photos of the baby and family, all FREE. The photos we have are some of my most treasured possessions.

The TEARS Foundation (Specific to certain states) - Helps with financial assistance for funeral/burial expenses

This is an awesome little card that I ran across here. I've never seen anything else like it, but I think it's so wonderful.

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