Baby Loss Awareness Week: Supporting Someone Who Has Experienced Baby Loss
These are just my thoughts and feelings - they are certainly not a rule book. No one thing is right for all. I just wanted to put these feelings down so that they might help others. But if you know your person well enough - you'll know what to say and do.
What to say
Say her name.
I might cry but mostly they are happy tears that she’s remembered. I feel her loss everyday, saying her name doesn't change this - it actually makes it better.
Ask if I am ok.
It might seem like a silly question as I'm probably not, but I actually appreciate checking in with myself when people ask me and it makes me realise that some days are better than others and it isn't just one big pain fest.
Keep asking if I'm ok.
You aren't a pest. It won't make me sad. People move on very quickly and it's nice to know that you are still in people's thoughts at challenging times like Mother's Day, Father's Day, Christmas, New Year, Birthdays, what would be their first day of school...
... and what not to say
You can always have another one.
I shouldn't have to explain this one.
Everything happens for a reason.
You might be alright when...
Be gentle with people who haven't got their complete family. I can get upset when I get messages from people about their happy, complete families. I'm happy for you but just take a step back and choose some words a bit more carefully...
Things that helped us
People sending cards
People coming to the funeral
People donating / remembering
People not hiding away and crossing the street
Asking if we are ok wasn't a silly question
People sending cards on her birthday
People writing notes about her in cards - like putting a star on the tree for Tabitha at Christmas
Give them time
This is the biggest one. The wave will take them this way and that way and some days they’ll be completely fine and then others they will not be. Be patient. Ride the wave with them and make sure they don’t feel alone.
Help them grieve the way they want to
Talk to them about how they feel. Talk about their baby. Say their name. If they can’t talk then write, draw, create. Don’t be afraid to listen to how they feel. All the good and the bad.
Stand with them
I think you lose the people who want to fix you the most but give up when it doesn’t happen. The real people in your life are the ones that get you even when you aren’t you and stand by your side in battle. Not the ones that can’t face the war. The ones that know that there will be many battles and the war may never be won but stand with you anyway. You’re in the fight together. You lose the people that don’t follow your new path and stick hard and fast to the one that was before and scream at you to come back. This is the new normal now. What was normal will never be normal in our lives again. Stand with us, don't run away.