Helping a Grieving Parent.

If you find yourself in the position of wanting to offer comfort to someone who has lost their child but find yourself grasping at straws, below are some of our opinions. Even further below are some words written specifically to grieving parents. If you hear someone has lost their baby, try get them or someone close to them to read that in hopes that it will help in those tough first days.

How to Help a Grieving Parent:
  • Say the baby’s name.
  • Don’t say “I’m praying for you” if you aren’t.
  • Don’t try, don’t even attempt, at fixing it with cliché sayings like “God needed them more than you” or something silly like that. Listen. If you want to say something, say you are sorry. Say you are sad with them. Say you will remember the baby.
  • Do offer meals. Don’t expect them to talk to you when you bring the food by. Don't expect a thank you.
  • Do hug. But try to sense their personal space bubble and don't invade it.
  • Do pray.
  • Find something that reminds them of their baby and give it to them.
    • Instead of flowers try a gift of jewelry that has their baby's name on it, or really anything with baby's name. A keepsake box, a quilt, anything tangible that they can have to represent their child in heaven.
  • Give them tissues. Better yet are travel-sized tissues that they can carry with them in the months to come. 
  • Remember milestones and holidays. Think about how tough they are without their child with them. Do something that remembers their baby and tell them about it. 
  • If you are thinking of their child one day, let them know. They are, too. And it helps to know someone else remembers them.
  • Don't expect the parents to "get over it" and be back to "normal" again.  
  • Take a photo of the baby's name and encourage them to do a name book.

Just for Grieving Parents:
If you are in the painful, awful position of losing your baby, we are so sorry. This is a club no one wants to be in and we hate that you were forcefully made lifelong member along with us. The following thoughts may be helpful.

If you are still at the hospital:
  • Do have photos taken of your baby. Use Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep or have someone take some with you and baby. Looking back, I wish I would have changed out of my hospital gown and gotten somewhat presentable for our photos with Maelee. These are the only shots you'll have. Not sure if I could have handled the primping, but I wish I would have. 
  • Do take a look at every inch of your baby, even if it's hard. This is my biggest regret.
  • Get hand prints, foot prints, hair pieces and anything else you can. The hospital staff should help you. But make sure you get these mementos.
  • Figure out what you want to go home to and tell someone. If you want your baby's things gathered, put in their room with the door closed, tell someone. If you want things as is, tell someone.
  • Make plans. Do have a funeral or memorial service. Even if it's small. You will want it later. We did a short, sweet funeral four days after and then a big burial service seven weeks after. 
  • Let family or friends hold your baby.You don't have to talk to them, just let them see your baby. 
  • Do get an autopsy. They are usually free for stillbirths (make someone figure that out for you). 
After you are home:
  • Grief is hard work. It's exhausting, most especially the month after your tragedy. At times you will not have the energy to brush your teeth or eat. It's okay. Make someone help you.
  • Your body will think you have a baby. It will want to produce milk. You must become good friends with tight bandages and sports bras. And even weeks after it seemingly stops, you may still leak. It sucks. 
  • Don't spend hours and hours reading other baby loss blogs. There are a ton out there unfortunately and you could get roped in and never stop. A friend told me she spent the first few months reading other blogs so I didn't really fall into this trap. I read, still read, a few. It's helpful to hear you are not alone. Someone else has gone through something similar. But don't go overboard or it will possibly hinder you.
  • Your hair will probably fall out for many (way too many) months after. It's hormones. It sucks.
  • Beware of going out into the "real world" for awhile. You will see babies and moms and baby bellies and a ton of other triggers. And it will not be easy. If possible, shelter yourself for awhile, then slowly get out in public. 
  • Do write. Journal. Blog. 
  • Do let your family and friends know what you need, if possible. If you need food, tell someone. If you need to not see anyone for a long time, ask for space. Don't spend any ounce of energy worrying about what other people think. 
  • Think about doing a name book to honor your baby. It has been so therapeutic for us to see Maelee's name. 
  • Do connect with your spouse. They are really the only other person that fully understands. Draw closer to them.
  • Processing grief always takes longer than you think. 
  • Processing grief looks different for different people. 
  • Pray. Even if all you can muster is "help."