How to Support Someone Who Has Lost a Baby
By Megan Morrow
Published October 7, 2019
Every year on Oct. 15, people around the world light candles in honor of loss due to miscarriage, stillbirth, ectopic pregnancy or the loss of an infant. National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day and Month recognizes that loss is not an uncommon story: One in four women suffers a miscarriage, or loss of a baby before the twentieth week of pregnancy, while about 24,000 babies are stillborn each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If someone in your life has lost a pregnancy or infant, here are some ways you can help beyond lighting a candle on National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day:
- Do, and leave. If you ask a grieving mother what she needs, you may not receive much of answer. Rather than waiting for a reply, do what needs to be done: rake their lawn, make them dinner, take care of other kids, or fold some laundry. Food is far more useful than flowers. But then leave – many people will not have the energy for guests during this difficult time.
- Listen. It can be tempting to share thoughts like “I just lost my dad, so I know how you feel” or “fortunately, you are young so you can try again.” “Everything happens for a reason” and “at least you have another child” are also to be avoided. Be mindful of your words. Instead, focus your energy on listening with compassion.
- Say their name. Sometimes people are too worried about upsetting parents to acknowledge the specific loss. Honor their baby by saying his or her name and recognizing how much the baby meant to the family.
- Consider a lasting tribute. You can plant a tree or perennials in honor of the baby or make a donation in the child’s name to an organization that the parents would value. A lasting tribune can be a nice touchstone for grieving families over time.
- Stay in touch. Many people will reach out shortly after the loss, but not everyone will continue contact or remembrance into the future. Mark monthly and annual anniversaries of the loss in your calendar and let the family know that they are in your hearts and thoughts. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are also good times to reach out with a kind thought.
While it is hard to know what to say or do during such a challenging time, keeping it simple and doing something is better than anguishing in silence. Reach out with words of love and remembrance, reminding the family of your thoughts and support.
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The material presented here is for information purposes only and is not to be considered an offer to buy or sell any security. This report was prepared from sources believed to be reliable but it is not guaranteed as to accuracy and it is not a complete summary of statement of all available data. Information and opinions are current up to the date of publication and are subject to change without notice. The purchase and sale of securities should be conducted on an individual basis considering the risk tolerance and investment objective of each investor and with the advice and counsel of a professional advisor. The opinions expressed by Ms. Morrow are strictly her own and do not necessarily reflect those of Herbert J. Sims & Co., Inc. or their affiliates. This is not a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell any particular investment. All investment involves risk and may result in a loss of principal. Investors should carefully consider their own circumstances before making any investment decision.