For Family & Friends
It's so difficult to know what to say or do when someone you know is enduring the unimaginable pain of losing a baby. Our cultural story around baby loss - bordering on taboo - isn't conducive to helping us feel comfortable just being present with parents who've lost a baby. Many bereaved parents share that the isolation caused by family and friends not knowing how to approach them was a primary source of pain during the experience of losing a child.
We want to help change that.
If someone you know has lost a baby, we want to encourage you to move toward them, rather than away from them. Being present doesn't mean you have to know what to say, or that you have to say anything at all besides "I love you," or "I'm here for you." Sometimes it means sitting in supportive silence. Being present means creating a safe space where your loved one can experience their emotions without judgment, and it's one of the most meaningful things we can do for each other as humans.
If you're the kind of person who likes to do something tangible to show your love and concern, consider giving your loved one the gift of experienced support. Whether you think they would find value in full doula support as they prepare to birth their baby, or just spending a few hours consulting with someone familiar with this process, contact us to discuss giving this beautiful gift.
We have compiled some resources below that could be helpful as you bear witness your loved one walking this difficult road. Supportive friends and family can make all the difference - thank you for taking the time to make your loved one's life a little easier as they navigate their grief.
What to Say
Donielle of Natural Fertility and Wellness published a blog post called What You Should (and Shouldn't) Say to Someone Who Has Lost a Baby. This is written from the perspective of someone who has experienced loss herself, and is deeply personal. It's a long post that offers lots of things to think about. We highly recommend this article for anyone with a friend or family member who has experienced the loss of a baby.
This is a beautiful piece written about the importance of witnessing grief, something often lost in the discomfort of not knowing what to say or do to support a family dealing with loss.
The Seleni Institute published an article called How to Support Someone after a Stillbirth. It is fairly general but gives an idea of what the family might be going through and how important it is for their community to respond with support.
Healing through the Dark Emotions: The Wisdom of Grief, Fear, and Despair by Miriam Greenspan is a beautiful book focusing on what Greenspan calls the alchemy that these emotions can work on our souls. The author is a therapist and has experienced infant loss herself.
Supporting from Afar
Give InKind is a website that allows friends and family to send thoughtful and helpful gift certificates, books, and other items to a family suffering a loss. You can also create a Give InKind page for a family in need so others can give whatever will help most. This service was designed by bereaved parents who found their family and friends who didn't live nearby had a difficult time knowing how to tangibly show their support, and we think they've filled that need beautifully.
Dr. Jessica Zucker has designed some beautiful greeting cards for family and friends to show support to a loved one suffering from pregnancy loss. She is a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles with a focus on maternal mental health who created the #ihadamiscarriage campaign.
Meals and Household Help
Meal Train is a free online service to help organize meal deliveries to a family in need for any reason, whether they just brought a new baby home or experienced a loss. People who want to sign up have to register on the site, but it's free. For a $10 upgrade, the person organizing the Meal Train has the option to add options for other household chores that would be helpful to the family aside from bringing meals.
Take Them a Meal is similar to Meal Train, but users don't have to register in order to sign up for a meal delivery. This site also has a feature called "Send Them A Meal," allowing participants to pay to have a meal delivered to the family for them.
Consider hiring a housekeeping, dog walking, and/or gardening service for your loved one in the wake of their loss to take some household maintenance activities off their to-do list.