May 11, 2011

To say or not to say...

Updated on 12/2/11: Missing Riley, Brielle and Maia.

Some people wonder what can you say or what should you say when a friend or loved one has lost their baby? This is just a simple list of things that in most cases would be okay to say and a list of things you shouldnt say.

It is of course different for each mother going through it and each father. It depends on her greiving process. The best thing you can do is listen and dont judge her based on her emotions. If she wants to cry, let her cry. If she gets angry, help her work through that anger. If she blames herself, reassure her. If she screams and wails, let her and dont leave her. Just listen. Going through this has taught me that the absolute best thing you can do for someone is to listen to whatever they have to say even if it takes hours. Just sit with them and love them. Dont try to "fix" them or get them to stop crying. Dont pretend like it didnt happen. Recognize the baby by the name if they chose to name the baby. Urge them to take care of themselves and eat. Urge them to seek counseling if you feel like you cant listen enough or if they are showing suicidal tendencies. Many women are depressed for a few weeks, while some women take months, years or never heal. Losing a child is one of the hardest things someone has to go through, regardless of the age the child is loved and treasured.

Things okay to say:

  1. "Im so sorry."
  2. "I'm here to listen."
  3. "It's not your fault."
  4. "I love you and am praying for you."
  5. "Can I pray with you?"
  6. "Do you want to talk about it?"
  7. "Is there anything I can do to help you?"
  8. "We love and miss Riley, Brielle and Maia too." (call the baby by his or her name).
  9. "Can I cry with you?"
  10. "Can I give you a hug?"
  11. "It's okay to cry and be sad/upset/angry/tired/hurt/etc."
  12. "It sucks and I wish I could change it."
Things NOT to say:

  1. "You can try again later." (That doesn't change the fact that we miss this baby right now, one child doesn't replace another).
  2. "You will have more children someday." (I repeat: one child doesn't replace another).
  3. "You're strong you will get over it/past it." (you NEVER get "over" the death of your child).
  4. "I've been through something similar... my dog died last week/I lost my job/my month sucks too/etc." (you better not compare the loss of my children to losing a dog... you may see a side of me you have never seen before).
  5. "At least you werent too far along." (a baby is a baby no matter how small. Saying this is like saying its better to have your newborn die than your toddler).
  6. "It's probably better it died because there may have been something wrong with it" (never ever, ever refer to the baby as an it and nothing was "wrong" with my baby).
  7. "Someday you will have a chance to be a mom/dad" (she or he is already a mom or dad, dont belittle their baby in heaven).
  8. "Miscarriage can be a good thing because you dont want a retarded baby. I know I wouldnt." (This should be self explainatory but yes, people have said this)
  9. "How far along were you?" (It doesnt matter).
  10. "You know my aunt/mom/sister/friend went through the same thing and went on to have more children." (Nice way to blow off the way the mother is feeling right now).
  11. "Why do you name your miscarriages/blobs/fetus/etc?" (There was a BABY in there not a "blob" and I am not "naming my miscarriages" I am naming my children).
  12. "Someday you will be a great mom." (are you saying that I am not a great mom now or that I am not a mom period?)

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