Guest Post by Laura Swift, Grammie Doula
Share Your Loss. Being silent in your pain helps no one.
- Call and meet up with a close friend/friend and talk your experience. It makes the burden lighter and easier to carry.
- Make an appointment with a therapist, counselor, or someone trained to help process loss.
- Connect with others who have experienced baby loss by attending a support group in person or virtual.
- Celebrate quietly with a family dinner and talk about your baby loss.
- Journal your story. This creative act let me pour out my thoughts on to the page revealing the dark hidden emotions and questions, bringing them to the light. All the feelings of guilt, shame, confusion, isolation, heartbreak, fear. All the questions: what did I do wrong? Will it happen again? Did I fail somehow? I can clear my head after these thoughts are written on the page. It allows me to see the truth and be at peace with the situation.
- Write a letter to your baby telling them all your hopes and dreams for them, include their name and its meaning.
- Take a long slow stroll in nature and remember all the good things about the pregnancy and the baby.
- Make a memory box and include the ultrasound photos, an outfit just for baby, a pregnancy photo, special memorabilia to help you remember this baby. Include special cards, notes, small gifts, etc. In this special place. I love creating photo albums and I include some of my journal entries about the pregnancy to better tell the story of the experience.
- Get some footprint and handprint kits from a craft store. These are usually available in the hospital. They can be used as a tree ornament, placed in a special garden, or set up in a frame. Make a baby necklace with the name. A special stuffed animal just for that baby.
- Some folks work together to create a quilt just for baby. I have no sewing skills, but I know people that do!
- Plant a tree or create a contemplative garden space.
- Start a fundraiser or donate something meaningful to you in the child’s name.
- Collect quotes that speak to you. I love to search for meaningful quotes about a situation. Use these quotes in nursery and home décor. Positive affirmations are great tools to start your day. Use in baby announcements. I use these in my journal prompts and meditation to maintain hope during grief.
Helpful suggestions for friends and family during this time.
- Treat baby loss like any other loss.
- Ask the name of the baby. Say the baby’s name. They want the child to be remembered.
- Listen when they are ready to talk about their experience.
- Sit quietly and hold space with them when no words are needed.
- Be a friend that offers a hand to hold, a kind word spoken, a safe space to cry, an ear that listens.
- Ask how they are feeling and really hear what they say.
- Let them know you are thinking about them.
- Offer empathy and support.
- Recognize the pain of loss.
- Give opportunities to talk
- Take photos of baby and the tiny details of hands and feet and include each parent holding baby. Black and white camera settings are often better depending on each situation.
- And remember that grief takes as long as it takes. Each person processes differently.