I felt this way over the summer when I knew my sister's baby was going to have problems. He stopped breathing many times. Somehow my nephew that has many odds against him, is now over 4 months old.
At the time, I didn't know what to say. She is my sister, and I didn't know how to comfort her. Nothing can prepare you for those days ahead.
If someone losses a baby, it is a major loss. I'm not sure all people can understand this. Some, especially people that have never carried a baby see it like this, "They can try again." Like it's no big deal. It's a huge deal! The parents worry that the same scenario could happen again.
A woman carries a baby in her for 9 months. There is a bond established. Daddy and Mommy had a chance to feel the baby move. Both parents got to see the ultrasound and get pictures.
Talking about the baby helps. Many wonder, "How do I talk about a life I never knew?"
Healing Hearts - Baby Loss Comfort is a great resource to go for baby loss.
What to say:
- Many parents have a hard time knowing what to do, they are lacking on sleep and their minds are all over the place during a situation like this. You can offer to call people for them.
- Let them know it's ok to cry.
- Let them know that their child was unique, special and irreplaceable.
- Talk to them about what their baby was like, even if they only knew the baby when they were inside the womb.
- Offer to help them sort through the baby's clothes, toys and furniture when they are ready. Do not push them to do this.
- If they have other kids, offer to take them out. This is one thing I did a lot of with my nephews.
- Offer to run errands for them.
- Tell them to be patient with themselves and give themselves time to heal. Let them know that there are no rules about grieving.
- Offer to take care of the siblings during the funeral.
- Talk about their pregnancy and baby.
- Don't forget. They may not be ready to talk right away. Talk later on. Take them out to lunch.
- Give them a list of support groups for when they are ready.
- Don't make it sound like it was meant to be, or God's will.
- Don't mention that their baby is in a better place. To the Mom, the best place is with her!
- Don't rush the experience. Death is not something that can be rushed. Let them hold their baby if they pass, take photos. Time does not heal all wounds.
- Don't talk about how you know how they feel. (Unless you have personally experienced the loss of a baby.)
- Don't talk about their other children being all that they need. Each child is different.
- Don't mention how it could have been worse. Each death experience is hard in it's own way.