Helping Those Who Grieve
There is nothing you can say to heal the grief of losing a pregnancy or child. But acknowledging and supporting grief is a way to help healing. Please know that the effort of talking about the baby, the loss, and the sadness will be appreciated, even if it's not perfect.
Please do not avoid grieving parents. Make a simple gesture, even just sending a card to acknowledge their loss. Let them know that you are sad for them.
What To Say & Do
Remember to take your time and be kind and gentle with your friend or relative. Every one has their own grieving ways and time frame. Don't expect them to get over it. Just be there and offer a shoulder and a comforting hug.
What Not To Say
When speaking with someone who has experienced a pregnancy or infant loss, try to avoid anything that begins with 'at least' or 'I know how you feel.' In trying to be helpful and caring we often find ourselves saying things that we think would make the person feel better, but in fact, makes them feels worse. For example:
"You can always have another."
They don't want another baby, they want this baby.
"Now you have an angel looking after you."
They don't want an angel, they want their baby back.
"It's for the best."
Best for whom?
"At least you didn't know your baby."
Whether you held your baby in your arms or only in your mind, this baby is real.
"There must have been something wrong...
Wrong with me?
"Did you do something you weren't supposed to do?
Did I cause this? How could I have hurt my baby?
"I understand how you feel."
Even if you have had a miscarriage, every one feels their grief uniquely.
"Have you ever thought of not having children?"
Yes, I probably have. I realize that I may never be a mother.
"Be grateful for the children you have..."
It isn't a question of being ungrateful or not appreciating what I have.
"Your baby is in a better place."
How could anywhere be better than in my arms?
“Each new life, no matter how brief, forever changes
"People in grief need someone to walk with them without judging them." ~Gail Sheehy