In the last few months I have received a couple emails from people wanting to know how they can help to ease the pain of their friends who are suffering as they have to face estimated due dates, anniversaries of their loss of pregnancy and especially Christmas and the holiday season without their newborn baby.
First- how awesome is it that?? People want to help their friends who have experienced such a loss? If you are one of these friends reading this, than you should know that this world needs more friends like you!!
There are so many things you could do to help ease your friend or loved one’s pain. Here are a few things you may find helpful…
Accept that your friend or loved one may not feel up to participating in family gatherings or events (especially those that involve babies and children-baby showers, baby announcements, birthday parties-these things all have live reminders of what they want and don’t have). Allow them to hibernate if that is what they need to do! The last thing a sad woman needs is guilt in addition to the sadness!
Make sure that in any correspondence where you are trying to console the couple or Christmas or holiday cards to them, that you mention their baby’s name if you know it, or refer to their baby as “your angel” if you don’t. You can even say something like “you are remembering or thinking of their angel.” This will mean more to them than you will ever know.
Don’t be afraid to speak their childs name aloud, or call it a baby. You are not reminding them that their baby died. Trust me, they did not forget. More often than not a bereaved parent wants to make sure that their angel is not forgotten so hearing their baby’s name, or a reference to their angel come from the mouth of others is the most beautiful thing they could ever hear. It’s ok to ask them if they had a name picked out for a pregnancy loss (most couples know the gender of their baby by week 18-so if you know their loss was around or after 18 weeks, chances are very high that they do!
There are many things you could do in memory for your friend’s loss. You could make them a special Christmas ornament, an angel or angel wings is always a very safe choice, or if they did have a name- you could use that.
You could release a balloon for them on their estimated due date, anniversary of the due date, anniversary of the loss or when you just need to do something to let her know you are thinking of her and her angel. This website has an incredible angel balloon that biodegrades and also has the option to attach a note card that will grow flowers if it lands on ground.(brilliant)! Simply take photos of the balloon release for the couple or film it and send it to the couple. I promise you it will touch them like no other thing can.
You could light a candle and write the baby’s name (again if you don’t know the name-you could use “baby Smith” (last name of the couple) or “Angel Smith” and photograph it for them.
All in all there really are so many things you could do but the most important thing is to acknowledge their loss was a baby-and to them a child. Just because they didn’t get to bring that baby home doesn’t mean that they are not parents (this is especially true with a couple who has been trying for their first child because no one at home is calling them mom or dad). Acknowledgment is the greatest gift!
Absolutely stay clear of comments like “She/he/it is in a better place” and things like that. To them, their baby should be with them-there is no better place!