Five ways to support a friend who lost a baby
“My friend just lost a baby and I’m at a loss of what to do or say. How can I be a support during this time?"⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
1. Don’t be afraid to talk about the baby. Simply start by saying, “I’d love to hear more about [baby’s name] sometime." Your loved one hasn’t forgotten their child, not even for a moment, and hearing or speaking their name is a gift. Don’t worry about “reminding” them about something upsetting--They haven’t forgotten.
2. Remember important dates and milestones. Add their baby’s birth date, due date, or other significant milestones to your calendar and check in with your friend on those days. I have found this to be encouraging no matter how many years have passed.
3. Continue to include them. There were (and still are) days when when we needed to be alone and groups felt overwhelming. Yet there were (and still are) many other days when we craved company (and even normalcy) and a day with friends was just what we needed. While it was difficult for me to navigate crowded social gatherings, it meant a lot to to be invited and to have the opportunity to accept or decline.
4. Offer to help. Even better, offer specific ways you can help. While a “let me know if I can do anything” certainly shows that you care (and definitely isn’t a bad thing to say), your friend may not have the energy to identify their needs or ask for help. Feel free to offer specifics based on your gifts, like “Can I bring you a meal on Tuesday night?” or “Can I take the kids on Saturday?”
5. Don't worry about finding the perfect thing to say. Your friend doesn’t expect you to have all the answers. One of the most helpful things to say is “I’m so sorry" or "I'm praying for you." Simply acknowledge their pain and sit with them for a moment. Give yourself the freedom to not do or say the “perfect” thing. Sit with them, cry with them, pray for them. Your presence means so much.