For Family & Friends

One of the difficult things when someone loses a baby at any gestation, is how to respond and help. When a relative passes away, we tend to send messages, cards, flowers to show our support. Unfortunately, as the loss of a baby is still such a ‘taboo’ subject we don’t tend to react in the same way. When in fact we should. This is exactly what parents need. They may not wish to talk about it, especially early on but a message or card is the perfect way to silently offer your support. Just by letting them know that you are there, even if you don’t get a response is hugely helpful and very much appreciated by parents.

Always remember that the parents and siblings have already bonded with their baby from the second they found out they were pregnant . They have probably discussed at length their thoughts and their dreams for their baby, possibly named them and imagined what they will look like. They will have already become excited at the thought of meeting their baby. Even if the miscarriage is early on, that very strong bond is already established.

To get an idea of what the parents and their family are going through, visit this web link.

Try not to get frustrated if you arrange to see the family and they cancel last minute. It is very difficult to see people for the first time after a loss and sometimes some days, even if it is months after, are still very difficult to cope with. Yes, call to see how they are doing. Yes try and organise an easy meet up and yes offer help to allow the Mums and Dads to get couple time away. But always remember how painfully raw it all is and can be for up to a year and beyond. They will forever have dates in their minds, the day they found out they were pregnant, the due date, the first Christmas, their first birthday. It is not for you to bring up and remember. If they bring it up then yes give support but sometimes, just being aware is enough.

The first year especially can be very painful and difficult so try to be understanding and supportive. If they want to talk, listen. If they don’t, that’s fine too. Sometimes just knowing someone is there is enough. You never need to point out to Mum that Dad is going through this too. She knows this. She knows Dad is hurting too. Be kind, be gentle.

Visit this link for more information on how to help.

Very often, the loss of a baby, at any gestation, cannot be explained. This in itself can be extremely traumatic for parents. The never knowing why can become like a torture. By saying things like ’well, that’s nature’s way’ and ‘there must have been something wrong with the baby’ is insensitive and very unhelpful. Suggesting that there was someone wrong with their baby is never a good idea. Their baby was perfect and always will be.

Things to remember:

  • Acknowledge their loss straight away. Don’t worry about sounding ‘stupid’, this acknowledgement means a lot to the baby’s parents.
  • Send a card, message or flowers.
  • Drop off a ‘care package’, a movie, snacks and a bottle of wine, for example.
  • Don’t be afraid to speak their baby’s name. Saying that you have been thinking about their baby means more than you will ever know.
  • Don’t offer simplistic advice. Well-meaning comments such as ‘at least you know you can get pregnant’ and ‘you can always try again’ will just trivialise their trauma.
  • Offer practical support – make a cup of tea, pick up their children from school and offer to babysit so that the parents can get some space.
  • Don’t avoid them. It is better to be there and say nothing than not be there at all.
  • Remember, a parent’s love for their baby can’t be measured by months or weeks. They will take a very long time to heal.
  • Give them a hug.
  • Remember that important dates will be difficult for them. Birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, anniversaries etc.
  • Tell them about HUG. We can help them.

Your support is crucial to their grieving process. It is an extremely painful and lonely time.

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"For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand, no explanation is even possible."