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  • Writer's pictureFiona Murray

Helping with Pregnancy and Infant Loss

Supporting someone who has lost a baby can be difficult to know, you don’t know what to say or how to help. Sadly, many parents say how isolated they feel after the death of a baby, and everyone's grief is different and changes over time. But there are lots of ways you can help be there for someone.

Simply saying how sorry you are can really help, and it is so important to ask about the baby and to use the baby’s name if you can. For instance, “I’m so sorry to hear about [baby’s name], would you like to tell me about them?” or “I’m so sorry to hear about your baby, what did you call her/him?”

You can’t fix the pain someone will be feeling, but you can be with them and not try to fix things, just acknowledging how difficult things are can be so helpful to someone. People often say things like "at least you have another baby/child", “at least you know you can get pregnant” or "at least you are fit and healthy". If you find yourself starting a sentence "at least …", stop straight away.

When a baby dies it can be very hard for parents and families to do everyday tasks such as walking the dog, going shopping or cleaning the house. Offer to help in a practical and be specific. Say "Can I help with [shopping/ preparing food/ household jobs]?", rather than, "I'm here to help if you need me.

Memories are an important part of grieving for a lost loved one, yet often there are very few or no memories when a baby dies. Support your friend or family member in creating memories; for example, they may have some photos or keepsakes from their pregnancy or the time they spent with their baby and offering to help with a memory box or scrapbook can be appreciated. Finding ways for them to feel connected to their baby can help, and so can adding to those memories over time to create an enduring bond or connection is helpful; this could be doing an activity on their baby's birthday, or planting trees and watching them grow.

There is lots of support out there through charities like SANDS or more privately by reaching out to a counsellor so mentioning resources to your friend or loved one can help them reach out for further support when they’re ready and if they need it.

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