How to support a friend who is grieving a miscarriage or infant death.
The death of an infant or a miscarriage is so sad and many times it’s difficult to know what to say, how to say it and of course you may be wondering what not to say. Many times those worries keep people from reaching out to support friends and loved ones who are experiencing this loss. Receiving support and condolences is very important to the grief process. We’ve written this article to assist you and give you some words that will help your grieving friend.
First of all, what helps
- I’m sorry. This simple sentence conveys so much. It means you care, you acknowledge the loss, and you understand the person you care about is in pain.
- What can I do to support you? Asking this question allows the grieving parent to ask specifically for what they need. They may need help making phone calls, or funeral arrangements. They may need help with childcare for other children. They may want you to remember their child’s birthday with them. By asking this question you offer your friendship and caring for the grieving parents specific needs.
- Listen. Grieving parents need to talk about their feelings, their lost hopes and dreams. They need to express feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, and devastation. Being available to listen to those feelings and not trying to make the situation better or offering solutions is a true gift.
- Send a sympathy gift. Receiving a sympathy gift that specifically honors the miscarriage or infant loss provides enfolding comfort to grieving parents. Knowing that someone cared enough to honor their grief with a gift validates this tragic loss and provides comfort in a time when comfort is difficult to find.
What not to say
Sometimes in an effort to try and make someone feel better we may say things or want to say things that in this situation don’t help. If you read this and find you have already said some of these things call or write your friend and apologize. Let your friend know your intention was to offer sympathy and support and if some of your comments were offensive you are sorry. This apology will go a long way in letting your grieving friend know you care.
- I know how you feel or offer comparison stories. The death of a child is a unique experience for everyone and grieving people often bristle when someone utters this statement. The child this parent is grieving had unique hopes and dreams and characteristics and this parent was in their own unique circumstance. Each person’s grief is different.
- At least. Any statements that have at least in them; at least she didn’t suffer, at least you didn’t have to go through labor… What these statements imply is look on the bright side. To the grieving parent there is not a bright side of this situation. Only death and loss.
- A moment in our arms…a lifetime in our hearts. Author Unknown
- A family is a circle of love, not broken by a loss, but made stronger by the memories. We remember. Author Unknown
- Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart. A.A. Milne
- I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be. Robert N. Munsch
- There is no footprint too small to leave an imprint on this world. Author Unknown
- How very softly you tiptoed into my world
Only a moment you stayed
But what an imprint your footprints have left on my heart. Author Unknown
- As a butterfly graces our lives with one moments fragile beauty so too has your babies presence blessed you, and those around you. Author Unknown
- May you find peace and joy with each butterfly that passes by, knowing that your baby lives on in the hearts of all she touched. Author Unknown