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How to Support a Friend Who is Grieving a Miscarriage or Infant Death
By Chellie Bonebrake

The death of an infant or a miscarriage is so sad. Many times it's difficult to know what to say, how to say it and of course you may be wondering what not to say. Often those worries keep people from reaching out to support friends and loved ones who are experiencing this loss. Receiving support and condolences is very important to the grief process. This article is written to assist you in supporting a grieving parent .

First of all what helps:

1. I'm sorry. This simple sentence conveys so much. It means you care, you acknowledge the loss and you understand the person you care about is in pain.

2. What can I do to support you? Asking this question allows the grieving parent to ask specifically for what they need. They may need help making phone calls, or funeral arrangements. They may need help with childcare for other children. They may want you to remember their child's birthday with them. By asking this question you offer your friendship and caring for the grieving parents specific needs.

3. Listen. Grieving parents need to talk about their feelings, their lost hopes and dreams. They need to express feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, and devastation. Being available to listen to those feelings and not trying to make the situation better or offering solutions is a true gift.

4. Send a sympathy gift. Receiving a sympathy gift that specifically honors the miscarriage or infant loss provides enfolding comfort to grieving parents. Knowing that someone cared enough to honor their grief with a gift validates this tragic loss and provides comfort in a time when comfort is difficult to find.

What not to say:

Sometimes in an effort to try and make someone feel better we may say things or want to say things that in this situation don't help. If you read this and find you have already said some of these things call or write your friend and apologize. Let your friend know your intention was to offer sympathy and support and if some of your comments were offensive you are sorry. This apology will go a long way in letting your grieving friend know you care.

1. I know how you feel or offer comparison stories. The death of a child is a unique experience for everyone and grieving people often bristle when someone utters this statement. The child this parent is grieving had unique hopes and dreams and characteristics and this parent was in their own unique circumstance. Each person's grief is different.

2. At least. Any statements that have at least in them; at least she didn't suffer, at least you didn't have to go through labor... What these statements imply is look on the bright side. To the grieving parent there is not a bright side of this situation. Only death and loss.

3. Should statements. You should go on a vacation, you should focus on the healthy children you have, you should move on ... The grieving parent will need to decide how to manage the grief process and it at this time it is likely theyare in survival mode and just trying to get through the day, the hour, the month. Thinking about what should be done only adds to the misery.

4. You can have another baby. Hopefully these grieving parents will have this opportunity when they are ready. However, right now they need to focus on their grief, their loss and no child will replace this child who died.

Thanks for supporting a grieving friend. Caring friends are an essential part of the healing process and make a difficult time a little easier. If you have additional questions please feel free to write dearchellie@acknowledgements.net. We appreciate your business and the support you offer to those who are grieving.


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