How to Support someone who has lost a Baby?
If your friend, sister or daughter lost a child, first of all, I am very sorry for your lost. Baby loss is very painful to experience and when we try to offer some help through this time to the parents, they are in shock and they really don’t know what they want and need. But something you can offer them is to support their feelings and be with them through their grief.
Baby loss is one of the deepest pains and family and friends often feel very helpless when someone experiences the loss of a child or a miscarriage. One of the main reasons is because society’s attitude is not to talk about it, maybe because they fear that it would be too upsetting. But as a psychologist, I must say that not talking about our feelings and pain will only make the situation worse and it will make it harder to move on. Loss of a child, and especially a miscarriage leaves a woman in physical and emotional pain and change.
Something you should know is that supporting a grieving woman is not something that will take away her pain, but you will for sure make her feel more comfortable and less stressed. Also, it is always good to have someone by your side for love.
What can you do to support her?
First, make sure to hug her. There are no words that can replace a hug.
Make a list with priorities
The first thing after a baby loss is to ask her what she needs. Or just check the grocery and make a list. If she has other kids, make sure they have something to eat at home. Also, make sure they have a ride to school and help with other activities.
When you make sure that food is not the problem anymore, make sure if she needs a house cleaner for some time because this is not the time when she has the energy to clean around. But you MUST ask her!
Don’t do anything without asking her
Maybe she isn’t going to ask for help, but you can always bring her dinner or clean the house but you have to ask her everything because there is a good chance to make her angry. At least at the beginning, she wouldn’t want you to clean the baby room etc.
Words are not necessary
Also, this is not the time to downplay her loss. Don’t say things like “You can always have another”, or “Everything happens for a reason”, or “It was God’s will”. Oh no, please! This will definitely downplay her loss. The loss of a child is really an enormous thing, and this word doesn’t help.
Like a family or a friend, you can offer a lot of support only by being present. This grief won’t go away easy and fast. She will move on after months, and if she doesn’t get help, this can take several years for her to move on. And yes, this is something that will stay with her forever. So listen to her, talk with her and support her to ask for a professional help.
Talk about it
Don’t be afraid to talk with her about her situation. If she doesn’t want to talk about it, she will tell you. If she does want to talk, let her do the talking. Also, don’t forget to tell her how sorry you are for her loss. Acknowledge her pain and make sure to encourage her to be patient because grieving takes time.
Also, reassure her that it wasn’t her fault, because it is not uncommon for a mother to feel guilt.
Because grieving is a very physically exhausting process, make sure she sleeps well and rest during the day. This is a good time to offer her a massage, a walk and help around the house.
Grief has physical reactions as poor appetite, low energy level, pain, disturbed sleep. That is why is good to encourage her to express her pain and stress and help her to get a good rest.
Sometimes a grieving person may want to be alone, so don’t push. You can always call her to ask how is she, just don’t forget, never ignore the situation!
Last but not least, seek professional advice, especially if her behavior is very strange. Always consult with a professional. Psychotherapy is a great way to deal with this kind of situations but most often a person is not ready in the first two months. Grief is good. So don’t rush. Let your emotions.