I have had so many people ask me what they can do for someone who has lost a child. It’s a helpless feeling, knowing there’s no replacement for what’s been lost. But small, simple gestures truly mean so much.
I’ve thought a lot about this topic, because we’re all so different and it’s impossible to lump all of us into one category to determine what would be best.
So I will just tell you some things that have helped us.
- When we got home from the hospital, my sister and mom had cleaned our home. It had never been as dirty as it was before they cleaned it, Branden was working 7 days a week and I was well, 34 weeks pregnant. My cousin stocked the fridge with healthy food to eat, Branden’s Aunt sent a basket of goodies. My Aunt and my job sent flowers. Another friend sent an edible arrangement, another friend sent a fuzzy blanket. Our friends came home from a weekend trip and came straight to see us, with gifts in tow. We received numerous cards and letters. All of these things gave us some happiness and helped us to feel loved when we were at our most vulnerable.
- My sister bought a specific book for me to read. The title is heartbreaking, but it truly helped me more than any other book I read: “Empty Cradle, Broken Heart” This book goes into scientific detail on why loss parents feel the way they do, how other parents and family have coped with child loss and how to cope with and accept grief.
- We received so many gifts related to Cooper, from teddy bears similar to this one, jewelry, artwork and more. These items are cherished and are so touching. They are proudly displayed around our home. I like to think of the art as replacements for the messy, adorable drawings that would’ve been on our fridge in a few years. Cooper’s heartbeat is my favorite piece, everytime I see it I’m reminded that she was truly alive. The stamped footprints remind me how tiny her feet were in my hands. I like to think that the gifted jewelry replaces the pasta necklaces Cooper would’ve made for me one day in Kindergarten. I wear them with pride and love seeing Cooper’s initials, birthstone or name on my wrist and neck.
The rest is more general information:
- Save the baby’s birthday on your calendar, or maybe their due date. Send the parents a note on this day, or even beforehand because the anticipation of the birthday or due date is sometimes worse than the actual day. Reach out on holidays or special events.
- Make it a point to listen to them, even if you’re uncomfortable. So many people clam up and shut down when a stillborn child is discussed. Why? The baby is still a baby, they should still be discussed. I know a lot of people don’t know what to say, so don’t. Just listen. As fellow parents, we gladly listen to you talk about your children, what they’re doing, how they’re growing, etc. We scroll through social media and are bombarded with EVERYONE’S children, so it’s so nice when friends and family simply just listen. We don’t have the privilege of posting what our babies are doing or sending pictures with updates, but we still love them and want to celebrate them just like you do with your kiddos.
- Ask them how they’re doing, call/text or email them randomly and tell them you’re thinking about their baby and wondering what he/she would be doing. More often than not, I am thinking about Cooper. Someone bringing her up doesn’t upset me, it makes me happy that they’re thinking about her too. This is so comforting to a parent to know that other people care about their child.
- Don’t tell parents that you can’t handle posts, pictures or shared articles about stillbirth. Scroll on and ignore them if you can’t deal. Telling someone you cannot read their posts about their deceased child is honestly just unnecessary. We don’t need to know. It’s completely fine if you need to skip over, and no one will know if that’s the case. We get it, it’s hard to read. It’s hard to imagine, but letting us know makes us self conscious and filtered, and makes even more of a taboo related to stillbirth and child loss.
Thank you for taking time to read this. It is nice to have come so far in our grief, and to be able to look back at last year and remember all of the thoughtful things that were done for us and for Cooper. She’s a very special girl who is loved by many and thankfully we have been shown that often.
**This post contains affiliate links, these links help me keep the blog running, but does not affect you in anyway. If you purchase an item from my link, I will make a small percentage of the cost of the item. Thank you for helping support this blog!