Family and Friends
We are constantly contacted by Family and Friends of newly bereaved parents of babies through Stillbirth, Neonatal Loss, Genetic interruption of Pregnancy, and Infant Loss. They are feeling lost, confused and deeply upset at the loss of the baby.
Just as the parents had hopes and dreams for after the babies arrival, so do the Family and Friends. Grandparents are without a much wanted and loved Grandchild, and it is also difficult to see your own child in such an enormous amount of pain.
It can also be a really tough time for Aunty's and Uncles. A much awaited neice or nephew who you had planned on spoiling and had joked about buying very noisey toys for birthdays and Christmas.
It is difficult to know what to say or do. The anxiety around doing or saying the wrong thing can often lead to blurting out exactly what you didnt want to say.
What happens if your pregnant or planning on having a baby. It's tough to be excited about your pregnancy when you now know that sometimes you dont leave hospital with your baby, and you also dont want to upset the grieving parents.
After the death fo a baby a Close Family Member or Friend are often called upon to become a great support for the parents. Everyone is so caught up in the grief of having a baby die, that you become a pilar of strength for the whole family. This sometimes means that you become the sounding board, the counsellor, the mediator, the organiser, the funeral liason person, and the supporter. We all need someone like this, and you may step into the role with very little notice or warning. It is because they trust you, that you are instilled with such responsibility, but it can be overwhelming. It is hard to be this close to all consuming grief and see people you love going through such incredible heartache.
Sometimes bereaved parents will isolate themselves. Its completely normal, but can be confusing and upsetting. If you are a family member or friend who feels like you are being pushed away by the parents, or perhaps they are not returning your calls, or maybe the family or friend we speak of above is passing on messages or updates, it is not forever. Its temporary. Its just all that they can deal with at the moment. Send your messages of support regularly, and wait to be contacted.
The Five Best Ways to Help the Parents;
1. Speak about the baby and use the babies name. After the death of your baby, hearing someone else say their name out load is a beautiful thing.
2. Offer to help with anything and mean it.
3. If they want to be alone- respect that and wait for them to contact you.
4. Bake something!
5. When they start to talk- Listen.
Thanks to the following people who have agreed to share in the hope that they can help someone else.
" I just couldn't bear to see my son in so much pain. I was never really close to my daughter-in-law, but we shared a good relationship. I wanted to give them time and space, but I was also hurting for the loss of my Grandchild, and felt very selfish for feeling this way. As much as I wanted to give them space, I was also so worried about them both as our grandson was their first child and our first grandchild.
As a parent you just want to make things all better for your child, no matter how old they are. But there was nothing I could do. Nothing I could say, he was such a beautiful baby and it was very hard for me too."
K.S, New South Wales, Australia
" We found out that my neice had died, a week before our wedding. I didnt know how anyone was going to be able to come to our wedding, and I couldnt have cared less if it went ahead or not at the time. I was gutted for my sister, and the dreams she and her husband had. At our wedding we had planned on annoucing I was pregnant. We didnt know what to do, I was 15 weeks, and we had held off telling anyone as it was part of the wedding surprise. We decided to tell people after the honeymoon, but it was still too soon and there was nothing we could do as I began showing. I had a little girl also, it was hard. It's still hard. "
Becky, Queensland, Australia
" She was my best friend, and after the baby died she didn't return my calls, or texts. I just wanted to let her know that I was so sorry that her baby had died, but I didnt hear anything. At the funeral she hardly even looked at me. I just kept sending texts every couple of days and a few months later I got one from her asking if I wanted to come over for a coffee. It was hard walking into the house. I wanted to ask lots of questions, but instead I just listened and she texted me after to say it was great to see me. I hope I did things right, it's just hard to know."
T.P New South Wales, Australia.
Gifts for the Parents.
Lots of the emails sent by Family and Friends is about ideas for gifts. What do you send? What do you give?
Below you can read about gifts that Mums who have experienced the loss of a baby have received. Our thanks to each of them for sharing these thoughts.
" Our house looked like a florist shop and cards from all that had heard. The most memorable are self help books, home cooked dinners, a beautiful photo frame and a gorgeous little crystal angel. People are amazing when you are in your time of need - we felt the love and support and that carried us through the difficult time of trying to grieve and organising a funeral. "
R. F- Australia
" A White music box with a poem and a bear with an halo on it. It's called my very own angel bear from a friend." K.R.M- Western Australia
" I now hate flowers because our house looked like a florists... I know its what people do, but after a little while, every delivery that goes onto die, hurts that little bit more. I will never send flowers for bereavement again- yet before the boys died it would have been the first thing I would have done. The nicest things we received were Willow Tree Statues and a Silver Birth Certificate Holder. "
E.H New South Wales Australia
" My work friends booked a lady to come and bronze my sons hands. His framed bronzed hands sit on my wall above our bed next to both my daughters. The lady also did a little silver hand for me to hold. It's my prize possession. Best present ever and in the frame of mind I was in I would never think to do this. "
M.S New South Wales, Australia
" I got a carpet rose and its still planted at my mum's house. I also got lots of little trinkets, little container for a lock of her hair. A gold dummy with her name on it, a cute pair of gold shoes, poems in frames. But the best gift I got ...was my friends who treated me the same, who openly talked about my little girl, who didn't pretend nothing had happened and were happy to say her name out aloud, acknowledging her ment so much."
K.S, Sydney, New South Wales.
" My mum gave me beautiful flowers and a beautiful family frame . My best friend gave me a candle she got made for me, with his picture and his details and a nice poem. " J.M, Victoria, Australia
My best friend gave me a necklace with two little girl pendants and a heart charm, that I wear on a bracelet. I got heaps of flowers and cards. My partner gave me an urn pendant necklace which i wear all the time. My mum had two birth certificate holders engraved which i have on a buffet near their photos.
B.C Victoria, Australia
TAGS: Stillbirth, Neonatal Loss; stillbirth and Neonatal loss; Memory boxes;
premature birth; pregnancy loss; stillbirth; Charity; not for profit; bereaved parents;
Stillbirth and Neonatal loss; Neonatal loss and Stillbirth; Stillbirth charity loss of pregnancy,
pregnancy loss miscarriage, pregnancy loss, loss pregnancy