Eleanor Douglas-Meyers is a crafty mom from Uitenhage who writes about DIY, parenting, natural hair care, fashion, food and fun on her blog JustEllaBella
This month is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and it’s a cause close to my heart. In 2012 my husband and I lost our first born son, Logan, to neonatal death when he was just two days old.
Over the years I have heard it all and, sometimes, the most hurtful comments would come from a place of love.
With that in mind, I spoke to some other mothers, who have lost children and compiled the following list of tips on how to speak to a grieving mother because, let’s face it, we don’t always know what to say …
Before you speak, remember:
- The child who passed away is important to your friend, as important as your living, breathing (if you have any) child is to you, do not underplay that;
- Whether it was miscarriage, still birth, neonatal death or sudden infant death syndrome – Sids – the pain is very real, do not underplay this either;
- Allow your friend to talk about her child if she wants to or be quiet if she doesn’t, because everyone grieves differently;
- The loss is the father’s too, don’t forget that;
- This is not something you “get over” so don’t tell them they will, or expect them to.
They will get through, yes, but getting over implies it was a little stumbling block and a child is not a stumbling block;
- Years later (four for me) the pain dulls but what happened has not gone away. You had a baby, a living, breathing child who died. Parents are not supposed to bury their kids, that kind of pain hits you in the stomach every now and again and, it is usually when you least expect it;
- New children are not replacements! Repeat after me: “I will not insinuate that my friend’s rainbow is a replacement”;
- Remembering their child on his or her birthday or Christmas is not a nasty reminder, it shows you care. She or he remembers anyway so you are not opening wounds;
- Put yourself in their shoes . . . if someone said that to you would you slap them? if yes, don’t say it;
- Your friend could be a little over-protective over their subsequent or remaining children . . . remember that this comes from a good place; and
- There is nothing wrong with a down day. Down days are like recharge days so your friend can face the tomorrows without their child.
I am not a grief counsellor. This is just from my heart as a grieving mom. I know everyone is different, but this is what I found and I hope it helps.
See more from Eleanor at justellabella.co.za