Feature image from MEDIA
I am routinely stunned and horrified by what parents who have lost their babies tell me people say to them…like the mum who was told after her daughter was born still at 20 weeks, ‘At least you hadn’t done a nursery yet.’
Or the mum who shared with me that her grandmother told her after the full term stillbirth of her third child, ‘Oh well…you didn’t need another baby anyway.’
Or the many parents who are told ‘Count your blessings! You have other children!’ as if that makes the death of one okay.
Or, ‘It wasn’t meant to be.’ I could go on and on.
Why is this happening? Why are people so bad at this?
Miscarriage and stillbirth are a common occurrence, and yet our society has no idea how to handle it. We really have no fucking idea how to respond to it. There are no cards you can buy at the newsagency, no ritual to perform, no plan in place for helping anyone through a miscarriage or stillbirth.
There is no ceremony, no social expectation, there is no saying like ‘best wishes’ or ‘happy birthday’ to ease us through. There is nothing. A gaping cavity when it comes to society response. So we stay silent.
Here are the top 10 Tips for helping a friend after the loss of her child.
- Image you have a friend who’s baby has just died. Think about what you would do for that woman – and then go and do that. That is exactly what has just fucking happened.
- Offer to do errands, bring nappies and tissues to their house, take care of other children or bring the shopping home.
- Bring a fresh and nutritious meal with you when you visit. Say “I’ve made this for you and I’m going to bring it. When would be the best time to drop it by?” rather than “Would you like me to bring some food?”
- Ask them how they are feeling – And then actually listening to the answer without jumping in with helpful tips for them to feel better.
- Tell them you are so sorry that they have lost their baby.
- Recognise and acknowledge that they are still that babies parents.
- Ask when the due date was going to be, write it down and send her a text on the day – so she knows the baby is not forgotten.
- Talk to them about the baby they have lost.
- And then leave her alone for a while.
- The worst thing you can do it nothing. Don’t stay silent, don’t ignore her or pretend nothing happened.
If you know someone who has suffered a loss whether it be through miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss, ask them what you can do to help them with their own grieving process.
Everyone moves through grief differently and all you can do is be at their side when they need someone to lean on.