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Advice for friends and family

Advice for friends and family - Kara Davies, Julia and Evan's Mama

Having your loved one's child die before, during, or shortly after birth is a horrendous, traumatic experience. I've lived through it twice (2nd trimester miscarriage resulting in stillbirth, and neonatal death) and the following is a list of things I've learned during my time in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit).

No one really knows what to say to someone who has just survived the death of their child. As a society, we're taught to say "I'm sorry for your loss." I can tell you first hand that this is NOT comforting, nor is it helpful. What I and a host of other grieving parents would rather hear is something along the lines of "I'm so sorry your child died. Baby (insert their name here) was a beautiful little one. I am so sorry this has happened."


-Ask what happened to the child. We love to brag about our babies just like any other new parent.

-Ask what baby was like in the womb, in the hospital before/during/after birth.

-Ask if the family needs help coordinating funeral and/or memorial services. Volunteer to drive them to appointments or the funeral home or the morgue etc. Grief does funny things to you and basic skills like driving are too much for us to even think about doing.

-Ask the family if they need any errands run. Offer to sort their mail and to contact companies that are sending baby-specific mail (let them know the child unfortunately did not survive and the parents request their names to be taken off the mailing lists). Offer to pick up prescriptions, get some basic groceries from the store, to take the surviving children to the park or the movies, take the parents out for dinner at a child-free restaurant, offer to sort their bills from regular mail. Offer to coordinate meals from concerned friends and family.

-Say the child's name. A lot of people think that by bringing up baby's name that they are reminding the parents of their child's absence. Believe me, we haven't forgotten that our child is gone. Hearing other people say our beloved baby's name is music to our ears and will bring a smile to our day. Please say their name!

-Ask what day baby was born, when they were due, when they died, etc. Remember thesed dates with a card, phonecall, email, letter, balloon or flower delivery. The parent's will never forget that you remembered!

-Remember baby when you send Christmas or birthday cards. We like seeing our child's name in print as it includes them in our daily routine. Lost for Words has a line of cards for every occasion. They are made by Carly Marie and Franchesca -two grieving mothers- for other grieving parents.

-Offer to go with us to a support group meeting. It's very intimidating to go to a strange place and hear about other families and their children's deaths. Having you there will provide a hand to hold and a shoulder to cry on.


-Don't keep quiet about baby. It is uncomfortable talking about a dead person but you'll do much more harm than good by not talking.

-Don't be afraid to listen. We need a listening ear, someone to cry with us.

Have we forgotten anything? Contact us and we'll add it to the list!

References (2)

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    evansembrace - Resources - Advice for friends and family
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    evansembrace - Resources - Advice for friends and family

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