6 Ways to Help Parents Who Experience a Pregnancy Loss
When parents experience a miscarriage, stillbirth, or any other kind of pregnancy loss, there are many people affected by the loss. By “people”, I mean siblings, friends, grandparents, neighbors, aunts/uncles who don’t necessarily know what to do or say to help heal the pain. I should know, I was one of them. Before I experienced a pregnancy loss, I knew someone who experienced a miscarriage and all I could say was “I’m sorry for what happened”. I felt saddened by the news but didn’t really know what else to say or do that would help. It wasn’t until I stood in their shoes, I now have a different perspective and would like to share.
In writing this blog post, I hope to give everyone affected by a pregnancy loss advice on how to help parents who must undergo this difficult part of the journey in life. A baby loss is tragic, everyone hurts but it's important, especially for the parents that they don’t feel like they’re alone with their grief. I believe, if we don’t feel like we are alone, it makes the struggle bearable. It won’t make the pain go away but definitely feels easier to handle.
Below are 6 ways (with examples :) ) on how you can help parents who experienced a pregnancy loss cope with their struggle. I created these suggestions based on the support we (hubby and I) received from family and friends which really helped us not lose hope when we were Sofiless (Click here to read more about my story) This way you can feel more comfortable and confident with what to say and do if you are faced with this experience. To be honest, I hope no one has to live this experience but if you do, here are so more words of advice:
1. Be Present for Mom and Dad - Simple right. Sometimes the easiest things to do is just to be present with someone. Parents who experienced a pregnancy loss are going through a whirlwind of emotions, from anger to guilt. Having you or anyone as a distraction definitely helps them get their mind off of the grief. Call, ask to come over and visit. If you are out of state, FaceTime, WhatsApp, or text to say “hello” and see how they're holding up. Although, they are grieving, it’s still important that they know people care and support them.
Don’t know what to say/text? I got you:
I’m sorry for your loss, I am here if you need to talk.
I’m sorry for your baby loss, let me know if you need help with anything, I am here for you.
I feel terrible but know, I love you and here for you, both of you.
I am sorry for your loss, I will miss baby (baby’s name) too, know I love you. I am here if you need to talk or just need a hug.
I’m sorry for your loss, let me know if I can help in any way. Please let me know about any funeral services, I would like to attend.
Visit at Home
Attend the Funeral (if any)
2. Help with ToDo’s - During this difficult time, couples are not thinking about the normal ToDo’s of the home, like cleaning, cooking, or other daily chores. Offer to make or buy dinner one night and visit. Offer to dog sit or help with the cleaning in the home. You could also ask the couple, if there is anything they need help with. Something as simple as picking up the dry cleaning, can help make their lives a little easier to cope with and will be very appreciated.
Walking the Dog/Pet Sitting
Cooking a Meal/Buy a Meal
Help with Daily Chores
Help with Cleaning
Picking up Dry Cleaning
3. Send a Gift, Care Package or Bereavement Card - There are many Etsy shops and websites that offer care packages and sympathy cards that can be sent to bereaved parents. Or create a personalized care package or card yourself. These packages, often include candles, spiritual affirmations, bible quotes, baby figures, plants etc..that can help the couple cope and memorialize their baby. This in turn can help them feel better because it brings meaning to their baby’s life, even if their time on earth was brief. This is also a good thought for families that live out of state but want to show their love and support. (New Project Reveal: follow @bloomwyapblog on #Instagram to be the first to see my new handmade bereavement/sympathy cards coming soon later this month)
Create/Send a Care Package
Create/Send a Bereavement Card
Create/Send a Bereavement Gift
Send Edible Arrangement
4. Celebrate/Remember Angel Baby Anniversary - Yes, time will help heal the parents hearts but it's great to remind them their baby will always live on. On the angel baby’s anniversary, send a card to the parents to let them know, their baby is remembered and will always be part of the family. This action can mean so much. Lots of times people don’t mention the baby loss up because they don’t want the parents to get sad. I think it actually makes parents feel worse if their baby is never mentioned. If in doubt, just ask parents and go from there. Their angel baby lived and their memory should be celebrated and commemorated.
Send an Anniversary Card/Gift
Help Plan a Angel Baby Celebration
Help Plan a Balloon Release
Help Plan a Candle Lighting
5. Say Angel Baby’s Name and Reminisce - I love hearing when someone mentions Sofia’s name because I hold her so dear in my heart. When someone else says her name, it reminds me that others remember her too. It’s okay, to reminisce about pregnancy, the over the top gender reveal or baby shower. As family/friends talk about how you felt when you got that facebook notification that a baby was on the way and you were going to be a new auntie, uncle, grandma etc... Parents want to hear about their angel baby because it was a joy in their life, in everyone’s life. If in doubt, as mentioned before just ask parents what they are comfortable with and go from there.
Say Angel Baby’s Name in Conversation
Reminisce About Pregnancy
Reminisce About Gender Reveal or Baby Shower
Reminisce About the Joyful Moments/Difficult Moments
6. Pray for Mom and Dad - Yes, pray for the couple’s healing. Many of us have faced difficult struggles in life and prayer can always help. In the bible, James 5:16 says, “ ….pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” I truly believe prayer works because it helped with my healing. This is why I write prayers for parents and families who experienced a pregnancy loss on my blog, click here to read. I encourage you to pray the same prayers with me to send extra blessings to so many parents (and families) in this difficult time in their life.
Pray for the Parents Healing
Pray for the Angel Baby
Pray for the Parent’s Future Rainbow Babies
My Story & Ways Family/Friends Helped
Last year, when hubby and I suffered our pregnancy loss with Sofia, my entire Spanish-sized family (translates to many) crammed into our tiny 4X4 studio apartment to show their support, for about one week. It was tight but cozy. I had people sitting on my bed, chairs, floor and any space that wasn’t taken. We would talk and joke together, which was a good distraction from our pain and sadness. They made or bought food, made coffee and we ate together every night. I can definitely admit having everyone’s support was extremely comforting and healing the first few days.
One of those days, my sister Jennifer bought me a bunch of spa stuff to relax, lavender tea, body wash, lotion and oil. I loved this thoughtful gift because it really helped me with selfcare, when I just didn’t feel like doing much. Even taking showers was difficult but when I smelled the floral aromatherapy, it helped soothe my aching body and soul.
Then, we received phone calls or texts from family and friends offering their condolences and prayers. Even people I hadn’t spoken to in years but knew I was pregnant reached out to make sure I knew they were with us in our time of mourning.
Additionally, we received many thoughtful gifts, like an angel figurine, garden wind chime and a star certificate (yes my baby has a star dedicated to her, thanks Dad and Vanessa) to memorialize our angel baby. My best friend also paid for flowers for Sofia’s burial, which was such a great help. My sister Karen, bought Sofia’s dress for her funeral, this was very hard but my sister’s support made it so special for Rafa and I. Recently, on Sofia’s Angelversary (anniversary of her birth/death) my family send me an edible arrangement, this was so sweet. We appreciate each and every gift because it was for our angel baby.
We are so grateful to God for the love and support our family and friends gave us and continue to give as we process our grief.
There you have it, 6 ways to help parents who experienced a pregnancy loss. Let me know in the comments below if you have other ideas on ways to help parents cope with their loss. I would love to read.
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