Tonight marks the end of Baby Loss Awareness Week, and also the Wave of Light in which we remember all your lost little ones. I thought I would share some advice about offering support to families you know are suffering tonight and every other.
1) If you already know they have suffered a loss, ask them if they want to speak about it before you start asking questions.
Making someone feel comfortable after a loss is the best thing you could do. Be there for them and listen, but only if they want that. Some people may find it too difficult to speak of it, whereas others may want to speak about it to help them heal and keep the memory alive of the one they lost.
Sometimes it can feel like people need space after suffering such trauma, but this can leave them feeling isolated. Listen, support and give advice but do not pretend you know how it feels. It is emotional and raw, but most of all it is unique. I mean that as in, even if you have previously suffered a loss, everyone's loss is different.
Different circumstances, different emotions and different families.
Be there and listen, that is enough.
2) Remember that it is never truly over.
Baby loss is different from death. Everybody will experience the death of someone they care about. Baby loss is forever loss. It is not just something individuals have to deal with in that moment, day or year. It is something they will carry with them forever. They will have to watch other children grow like theirs never will. Whether that be potty training, their first day of school or graduating from university.
Baby loss, at any stage, is never over.
3) Stop asking people when they are having (more) children!!
I cannot stress this enough. Stop asking women and couples when they're having children. You do not know their situation so don't ask.
Alongside this, do not tell them that they can 'just' try for another baby. It's most likely that they don't want another baby, they want their baby. They will always crave the one they lost.
4) Don't tell them how they should feel.
Comments such as 'you must be devastated' just aren't helpful. Yes, they probably are but they don't need you to remind them of that. They know how it feels. Don't put words in their mouths or thoughts in their heads. Listen to where they are and go from there.
5) Remember the ones they lost.
As I said above, the loss of pregnancy will never go away. Show them that you remember. Understand how difficult everyday things can be, how trauma can be bought back within moments. While their lives were short, these babies will touch so many lives. Say their names. Remember their birthdays. Keep their memory alive. Never forget, because they won't.
In memory of our sleeping Daisy, born 5th June 2015.