By Corinne Laan
There's no perfect thing to say when somebody has lost a baby or experienced a miscarriage, but these expert tips will help you to provide support
It is important to take the time you need to understand and deal with your own emotions before you are able to support the grieving parent. When you hear such sad news, the first impulse is to help make things better but the bereaved parents do not expect you to fix their grief.
Sometimes it feels as though there are no right words to express your condolences when somebody has lost a baby.
The fear of not knowing what to say is often what stops us from approaching a bereaved parent and offering emotional support. You may be nervous but it is still important to say a few words. Here is some advice.
It depends. Are you close to the bereaved parents or do you live far away and cannot be physically present?
The bereaved parent may want to grieve alone and does not wish to be surrounded by lots of people. In that case, it is OK to send a message.
When you are crafting a message, don’t expect to get a reply. It is however still important to let the bereaved parent know you are sorry for their loss and offer your sympathies.
After a few months have passed, people tend to get back to their routine and forget to stay in touch with the grieving parents.
If the baby passed away shortly after birth or after an illness, set a reminder in your calendar to contact the parents on the baby’s birthday or on the anniversary of the baby’s death. You can simply say you are thinking of them on this day. It is of great support to parents to know they are not grieving alone.
Talking to someone who has lost a baby is not always easy as you do not want your words to sound hollow. In those moments when you doubt yourself, remember that speaking from the heart with compassion and empathy is always well received.
Being present, and offering your continued support, compassion, and empathy are what they need to navigate their grief. Giving a hug or holding the bereaved parent’s hand is often enough and all that is needed in that moment. It shows you care and that you are there for them.
Corinne Laan is a natural healer, grief specialist and author of The Art of Grieving: Gentle self-care practices to heal a broken heart (Rockpool Publishing, £16.99)
Reader's Digest – 05 August, 2022