It makes me sad just thinking about it. Not because of personal experience, but because I have many friends who have been though it. I’m talking about losing a baby. Most of us know someone who has been through it but we often don’t know what to do or say…
I had the pleasure of meeting with and interviewing Clare Ayers from People Matters (pictured right). Have a listen to our podcast interview where we talk about this sensitive topic. Clare is a nurse, grief educator and a life and business coach.
In this podcast we make a lot of references to our guest blog by Sadie about Suffering and dealing with a Miscarriage. Thank you to Sadie for sharing her emotional story with us. We also had some honest and heartfelt comments on our If Only They’d Told Me facebook page. Thanks Rachael Berndt, Annabelle Lee and others for your comments.
I am so passionate about it that I’ve decided to give 5% of my earnings from my business ‘Go to Girl Social Media and Networking’ for the month of July to SANDS to help send a parent from out-of-town to the conference in September.
What is Baby Loss?
The term ‘baby loss’ can be a stillborn baby, a newborn baby that dies or a miscarriage. There can be a lot of grief and sometimes guilt that comes with losing a baby.
How do people react to losing a baby?
It is a very personal experience and everybody reacts differently. While some may cry uncontrollably, others may freeze up almost in a state of shock. Some people may want to ‘talk’ and ask ‘why’, while others prefer to be more private.
Friends of mine had a full-term stillborn baby just a few months before my first baby was due. I found it hard to support them because I was extra emotional about it -and a bit scared for my own baby. They were incredible the way they reacted. They invited all of our friends to a beautiful outdoor ceremony where baby Breeze was laid in a hand made coffin made of wood from their property.
How Can Friends Help?
Because everyone reacts differently, some friends will want you to ‘be there’ while others may want you to ‘back away’ and give them space. As a friend it’s ok to say ‘I don’t know what to say’ or ‘how can I help you’. Some will just want to talk and have the freedom to cry and ask why. Clare mentioned that while some comments are intended to be helpful, they aren’t always so. Examples of these were “You’ll have another baby” or “Maybe he wasn’t healthy”…
Here’s what is helpful:
- If they did name the baby, it is nice to use the baby’s name when talking about him/her.
- Give the grieving parents a gift of a flower to plant or a candle to light. “Every time you’re feeling sad, light the candle and know that all of us friends are here for you and he is not forgotten”.
- Plant a flower/plant on your own property in their honour.
- Hang out with your grieving friend. Watch tv at their house and do ‘normal stuff’.
Does It Ever Go Away?
“Just because you cry doesn’t mean you have not worked through it”.
The grief will come and go. It is a journey rather than a stage-by-stage process. You will never forget your baby. Find the support you need. Talk to others who can relate. SANDS is a wonderful support network of parents who can relate and can help.
5 words of advice/support for grieving parents
Have you experienced baby loss and what advice do you have to offer?
Thanks to Clare Ayers for talking through this sensitive topic that so many parents worldwide have to live through.
I actually had to re-schedule my interview with Clare as friends of her’s experienced baby loss and the topic was too raw at the time. Here is a moving blog ‘Overcoming Fear’ by Clare’s daughter Remaliah LeComb who writes a blog Billy and Lolo.
Clare and I will be doing a follow up podcast on other types of grief – possibly infertility, marital breakup or death of a parent. Comments and suggestions welcome. To contact Clare for grief counselling click here.