5 Things You Can Do to Help
The natural response to a couple who has experienced such loss is to somehow ease their pain and sorrow. Realistically, there are no words or deeds to take away the pain of the loss of a baby.
But, there are things that can be provided, like love, support, hope, and understanding. Some ways to help a couple during the time of grief are listed below.
1. Acknowledge the stillborn baby. Ignoring the issue will not make it easier on the parents. Most members of the family need to talk about the death and about their baby. Referring to "the baby" or the baby by name (if the parents named their baby) will let them know you're interested and willing to listen.
2. Validating and acknowledging the grief gives the parents and family permission to express their feelings.
3. Silence is not always golden. Looking for the right words to say can feel awkward and difficult. Don't be afraid to speak to the parents. Simply expressing, "I'm here if you need me" may be all they need at that moment.
4. On the other hand, listening is so important. Providing a shoulder or an ear often speaks louder than a thousand words. Be there for them.
5. Parents need to make their own decisions. Be an encouragement by supporting them in whatever decision they make.
Even with this help, the reality is that friends are only around for so long. After a few weeks they get back to their lives and the parents are left alone with their loss.
It may be a good idea for the bereaved parents to seek help and support from groups of other parents who have experienced the same kind of loss. Their experiences are similar and there is a level of understanding that transcends that of the good friends who lent their support in the initial weeks.
They Will Never Forget
Many parents who have experienced stillbirth go on to have another baby. The pregnancy is usually fraught with fear and anxiety, with thoughts of another loss consuming their minds. It doesn't matter how long the period of time is between the loss and the next baby, the anxiety often remains.
Friends and family usually think that once another baby is born the parents will "forget" and move on. The fact is that bereaved parents will continue to grieve the loss of their baby; many do so for most of their lives.