Over the years it pains me to say a number of my friends have suffered the loss of their babies.
When I look back on those moments in time, I am sure I didn’t quite say the right thing, I didn’t quite do the right thing, and perhaps I wasn’t there for my friends as much as I desperately wanted to be.
Didn’t I care you might ask. Of course, I cared every second of the day. I cried for you , I cried for your partner/family, I cried for your baby, for hopes and dreams that had vanished in an instant. I lay awake at night praying I could save you from the tsunami of grief that engulfed you.
Time moves on some people say, but I know it doesn’t. And even with time, I too haven’t forgot. There are days when I wanted to just hold you when I see your eyes well up. When I know that one little word, one memory, one reminder, that everything comes flooding back with such pain, those are the moments I want to make it all okay- but I can’t.
I never forgot you, or your baby. And there were times I wanted to talk to you about her, her memory and call her by her name. So you knew that she was never forgotten, but I didn’t want to be the cause of tears on a day when you we’re doing okay from the outside (because inside I knew you were crumbling).
I was scared of saying the wrong thing, words can be so fragile sometimes.
And now with the guilt of feeling I didn’t quite handle things as I ached to do, and the overwhelming feeling that I let you down, I look at why…. Why didn’t I do more? And then I realise…. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to say. And for that, I am so so sorry.
So I wanted you to know…. That what you went through, and what you are going through is very real, it matters, it matters to me and your baby and your pain was NEVER forgotten.
Here is some things that may help you to comfort your friend through baby loss and beyond:
- Remember sometimes the simplest of things can sometimes help the most. And sometimes just listening to your friend can help.
- Ring, text and visit. Offer to take them out for lunch/coffee when the time is right. Be prepared that the timing is important and your friend might turn you down, but letting them know you are around is important.
- If the parents had named their baby, use the babies name. (unless they request you not to) Every baby has an identity, even if the never made it to this world.
- Express you sympathy. ”I am so sorry”, ” ”I can’t imagine how you feel”, ”I am here for you”.
- A hug says a thousand words.
- If your friend has other children, offer to take them out for the day and give your friend some time to themselves.
- Don’t forget about the babies dad. Many people concentrate on the woman who has lost the baby, dads hurt just as much and will also need support through this time, and beyond.
- Don’t give up, but don’t intrude either. Something that might not suit your friend one day, may mean the world to them the following day. Your grieving friend needs time and support so don’t be offended if they don’t take you up on your offers of support.
- ‘I am here for you’ isn’t enough by itself. Saying once that you are there for your friend needs to be backed up if you are sincere about what you’ve said. Your friend might not need you for weeks, but don’t forget about their loss and grief because even months down the line they may suddenly feel the need to cry on your shoulder and they may feel you have moved on and forgotten.
- Don’t avoid your friend. Right now the feeling of isolation and lonliness is tremdous, don’t be distant because you don’t know what to say. Sometimes being honest and saying ‘I’m lost for words, I am so sorry, but I am here for you” is enough. Ignoring the situation wont make it go away, nothing will make this go away and it certainly wont help your friend.
- You cant explain the loss of a baby. So don’t try. ”Everything happens for a reason” , ”You can always have more babies” does NOT help.
- Everyone copes differently with loss, so don’t tell your friend what they should or shouldn’t be doing right now. What works for the lady down the road may not work for your friend – they are different people.
- Don’t forget your friends loss in weeks or months to come.
- A new baby does not replace the one they lost. Children are not replaceable. Understand that if your friend has another pregnancy they are bound to be anxious and scared. Even the joy of a new arrival won’t mask the loss of their previous baby. Try be sensitive and understanding.
To my friends, I am sorry if I didn’t do enough for you. Words failed me and I was scared I would say the wrong thing.
I love you and I NEVER forgot your baby, I think of you often and I wish i could take the pain away.