What not to say & How to Help

What Not To Say To Someone Who Has Just Lost An Infant

*I know how you feel…

*Your baby is with Jesus/God/etc so they are in a better place…

*Everything happens for a reason…

*Atleast you have other children (or ANYTHING else that begins with ATLEAST)…

*You’ll get over it…

*When are you having another baby?…

*It was God’s will…

*Maybe there was something wrong with your child…

Also, please keep the following in mind:

*DO NOT keep time. By this I mean, do not try to set a “time period” that grief should be over. They will not just wake up one day be the same person they were before their loss. Some people grieve quickly, others take years or a lifetime. Each person is unique, and their grief process will be, too.

*DO NOT compare their situation to yours. Even if you have been through a similar situation, now is not the time. However, if you are asked about your personal story feel free to share at your own discretion gauging on your friends needs at the time.

*DO NOT forget surviving siblings. They are just as hurt and confused as anyone. They may not have the ability or desire to talk directly about the loss but their feelings need to be expressed and can be expressed in many ways including; drawing, crafts, reading books, playing games, make believe, watching a movie, etc. Try to be there for a surviving sibling as much as you can be. This is of great help to the parents who are barely able to care for themselves.

*DO NOT break commitments to the family. If you say you are going to be there, BE THERE. If you say that you are going to do something, DO IT. A family who has just suffered a loss needs stability at a time when their lives have been shattered. Even if you just sit on your friends couch for 4 hours that is great. If you said you would do something, DO IT.

*DO NOT attempt to bring up the topic of having more children. This is comparable to asking a widow when she will remarry shortly after her husband has died. Completely inappropriate and none of your business. If your friend brings it up, feel free to discuss it briefly, but do so knowing that your friend probably has no idea what she wants in that regard.

*DO NOT offer vague help: “Let’s get together sometime”. “Call me if you ever need anything”. Your friend needs a lot, of course she will need something. It is difficult for people who are buried in grief to find the energy or drive to even pick up the phone some days. CALL HER and make a SPECIFIC time, “if you ever” and “sometime” are not timeframes.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

BE THERE. A lot of people dismiss how important it is to just be there for a friend. Each person is different in their needs, but I assure you, in the days that follow a loss parents do not want to be alone. (If you start to feel like it is time to go, ask them if they are ready to be alone and see yourself out.) You may sit and listen to sad songs, or just hug them while they cry. Be there for your friend. They need you.

BRING FOOD. Not just casseroles and dinner. Veggie trays, fruit trays, deli trays, etc are great options because the family can graze on it at their own leisure. It is going to be impossible for most families to sit down to a full dinner in the immediate time period following loss.

BRING REFRESHMENTS/HOUSEHOLD ITEMS. People forget that the fridge doesn’t stock itself, napkins don’t fall from the clouds, and toilet paper doesn’t magically appear in the bathroom. If you will be stopping in frequently it is helpful to keep your eye out for items that needs replaced, most specifically: NAPKINS, TOILET PAPER, PAPER PLATES, PLASTIC CUTLERY, TISSUES, DIAPERS FOR OTHER CHILDREN, WIPES, HAND SOAP, ETC.

HELP WITH HOUSEWORK. There is a household that needs to be run and a lot of the time families just cannot keep up with it. Dishes need to be done, laundry needs to be switched and folded, dog needs to be fed, trash needs to be taken out, diapers need to be changed on other children, baths need to be given, phone calls need to be returned, etc. If you are like me then you may be thinking, “I would not want someone doing such intimate acts in my home.” Think again: You wouldn’t care about anything of the sort if you had just lost a child. The house needs to keep running free of mess, and sometimes this is the most helpful thing a friend can do.

ASK THEM. If you honestly look around and can’t see anything that needs to be done, ask the family how you can help. Maybe it’s making photo boards for the service, maybe it’s returning phone calls, maybe it’s taking the kids to school, or the dog to the groomers, or the recycling to the recycling center. Whatever it is… let them know you are willing to help them in any way.

IN SHORT:
Be the caring friend you have already proven you are by trying to do the “right” thing. You will say things you might wish you didn’t say, you may feel awkward and out of place, you may have no idea how to respond to such sadness… But just being there for your friend makes a world of difference. I promise.

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About Kari

Kari. Wife. Mother. Farmer. Agronomist. Natural Health Nut. Skin Care Guru. Entrepreneur. Fashion Lover. Jewelry Enthusiast. Jesus Lover. Amateur Gluten Free Chef. A Million Other Things In Training. Welcome to my world...
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8 Responses to What not to say & How to Help

  1. niceysmiles says:

    I get goosebumps everytime I read this blog…

  2. Thank you for all of this info & advice!

  3. jamie331988 says:

    Thanks for posting this. When my son died earlier this year, I had lots of friends ask me what they could do. I couldn’t think of anything at the time to tell them. I just couldn’t think period. This would have been great to have them read. Thanks

  4. Kelsey B says:

    Thank you for this…thank you so much. My niece died last night. She was 2 months old. I will do anything for my sister and brother-in-law, but I know there really is nothing I can do to make this better. I know I can only be there for them, which I absolutely will, I just wish I could do more. The sections about What Not To Say is one I will be sharing. I get so made when people say “Everything happens for a reason” or it was “God’s plan.” So thanks for acknowledging that. You guys will be in my thoughts and prayers. Glad I found your blog.

  5. Cecilia says:

    This was great to read and to know. I must say I’m amazed, and not in a good way, people would dare tell someone it “was God’s will” or “they will get over it” My mom told me that my Great-Grandmother lost two children and she told her once that you learn to survive but you never “get over” the loss of your child.
    God bless all the sweet angels

  6. J. Palmer says:

    Each time that I hear about another mom who has lost an infant weather after it was born or before it digs deep into my heart and sadens me to see another mother suffer the same pain as I have already been working thru. I myself carried a child for six n half months attaching my entire self being to her more than ever as she was to be my first child ever and a special child at that to become a millennium baby. However, at 6n 1/2 months and after creating that special parent child bond Katrinia lost her heart beat forcing me to have to go thru emergency DNC to have her removed and protect my own health, while tearing my heart out with hers. I will never forget my reaction sitting on that OB table just those quick subtle minutes and the screams that left with her that very day as tears pour from my eyes. The loss of a child is one that never goes away or leaves your side. It is one that ones involved must find their own RIGHT closer for to bring peace to their mind. It’s been 11 years for me now and every year I am still celebrating what I can just to never let her go as if she was still right here.

  7. Katie Wilson says:

    this is all so amazingly true…….
    great job laying it all out there. we too had no idea what we needed at them time. I think this would of helped us alot. we wanted to have constant company at first and unfortunately everyone thought the best thing was to give us space….they couldnt of been so wrong. thanks for posting this!

  8. Kelsie says:

    I have never suffered this loss, but when I miscarried, it seemed like people had no idea what to say, even family avoided me in hopes of not making things worse. I really could have used the company and someone to talk to, but I was left feeling even more lonely and isolated. I understand that people don’t know what to do in a situation like this. Thank you for the helpful tips and all of the amazing work you do!

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