Family & Friend Information
We are very sorry for the loss of a baby close to you that has brought you to these pages caring and looking for ways to help support your family member, friend, work colleague or someone you know of. It is important to acknowledge your feelings also.
Just being there for your family member / friend / work colleague or someone you know can make a difference in itself. Being a listening ear, without judgement or expectations can help give a sense of consideration and genuine care and concern to your family member / friend / work colleague or someone you know.
It is important for you to know that they will have good days and bad days, likewise good times and bad times. Some things that they used to be able to do or handle with ease might just be too hard right now. It might even be too hard for some time. There is no set time limit on grief, it is very individual and best for bereaved parents to find the way that works for them. Don't have any expectations of how they should/shouldn't be coping or handling things.
It is very important to mention- be very mindful of comments and the things you say and also to know that they might not want to be around new babies or pregnant women right now or for quite some time until they feel they are up to it.
It is equally important for you to know that we realise you may be struggling with what to say, you may be hurting for them and would like to help fix things for them. This is something that can not be fixed. It is something a bereaved parent has to learn to work through in a way that works for them. Realise if they don't want to see you or talk to you it is not personal it is just how they feel right now. Still keep on being there for them.
Ideas and suggestions that other bereaved parents have shared with us..
- Just be there for them, be a shoulder for them to cry on
- Be there when they need it and as hard as it may be try to work out when they need their own space
- Let them know you care
- Do tell them you don't know what to say but you just care
- Be considerate, think about what you are saying, think about the comments you make
- Do listen if they want to talk
- Do offer help with practical things, cooked meals, housework , watching other children, driving them somewhere etc
- Do ask them if there is anything you can do for them
- Do keep on asking them how are they especially as time passes by
- Do refer to their baby by the name they gave him or her
- Do realise that they may not be able to around new babies or pregnant women
- Do know they will not forget their baby/babies
- Some parents have said they would have loved to receive a birth card instead of a sympathy card
- It may be a nice gesture to honour their baby by holding a teddy bear drive or make a donation in their baby's honour
- Do include your friend/family members baby/babies at significant celebrations/weddings etc (make mention to their baby in your speech/toast)
- Don't avoid them because you don't know what to say
- Don't make assumptions of how you think you would act or feel if it was you.. You really don't know unless it happened to yourself.
- Don't say you are so strong I could never have coped as well as you are - There is no choice but to cope the best way that you can & face each day as it comes when you suffer the loss of your baby
- Even if you have experienced the loss of a baby remember everyone's situation is different and unique, people deal with things in their own ways in their own time.
- Don't tell them they should be over it
- Don't tell them to get on with it or they should move on
- Don't say you can have another baby
- Don't say it was meant to be
- Don't say it was gods will
- Don't say at least you have other children
- Don't suggest that someone else's situation would be harder to bear
Often people say 'space fillers' or 'cliche's' to a bereaved person in the hope they are helping them but often are not. Below is a list of these things which should be avoided.
- "At least ........ didn't suffer"
- "Time will heal"
- "Life goes on"
- "I know how you feel"
- "You should be over it by now"
- "Its Gods will"
- "These things happen"
- "...... is in a better place now"
- "Don't cry, be strong"
- "It could have been worse"
- "..... wouldn't want you to cry"
- "There are others worse off than you"
- "Everything happens for a reason"
- "You're not the only one"
- "It wasn’t meant to be"
- "You can have another baby"
- "Was gods will"
- "You are young, you will have another baby"
- "Their is always IVF"
- "Everything happens for a reason"
Remember your family member/ friend & their baby/babies on special dates ( due date, anniversary, birthday) and celebrations (Christmas, Mothers day, Fathers day) . Let them know you are thinking of them and that you have not forgotten. This will mean than you may ever know to them.
It is ok to send your family member and friend a small gift to let them know you are thinking of them throuh this difficult time.
Here is a website with further information regarding condolence messages for loved ones who have suffered a loss.