Suggestions for Supporting Your Loved Ones

 

“We needed people to be present with whatever emotions we were feeling without trying to change us or give us advice.” - Sari

The death of a baby is unlike any other. Though we mean well, sometimes our attempts to comfort a loved one in his or her time of loss causes more heartache. Doing nothing at all can be equally as hurtful. The following suggestions are meant to help you be truly supportive as you care for your friend or family member who has endured the death of their baby.  

  • Arrange for meal delivery, meal gift cards, or grocery gift cards (2-4 weeks after the baby's death is helpful) - check out the Give In Kind website for more ideas as well as opportunities to purchase gift cards.

  • Refer to them as parents—as they are, even if they do not have a living child—and acknowledge them on Mother's and Father's Days.

  • Make sure to remember, ask about, and care for the father, as he is also grieving.

  • Ask them to tell you about their baby: what was their baby’s name, how did their baby die, what do they remember about their baby?

  • Ask to see a photograph of their baby; tell them he/she is beautiful.

  • Be present—listen, and sit with them.

  • Ask what would feel healing or helpful.

  • If they have living children, offer to take the children for outings and let the parents have time to grieve alone or together.

PLEASE KEEP IN MIND

Birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries—such as those of the baby's death or due date—are especially difficult. Let the parents know that you are thinking of them and their baby on these special days with a card, small gift, candles, or a contribution to a meaningful charity. Please be open and accepting of however they choose to celebrate these holidays, even if they decide not to participate.

The grieving process is never over and parents are always grateful for your kindness. Months after the baby has passed away, it can be helpful to continue to send "thinking of you" cards or thoughtful gifts. 

We also love this list of ideas from Refuge in Grief: How to help a grieving friend.