When a family member or friend loses a child, you want them to know that you are there for them. You may not always know what to say. There is no formula that dictates the right words to use in such a situation. So when your friend tells you about her miscarriage or a guy confides in you about the loss of his baby, do you just keep quiet? Different things work for different people. However, there are some statements we may utter that end up doing more harm than good.
Better that it happened now
In your bid to help, you may presume that the pain of loss would be easier to bear if the child was older. Whether the baby is in utero or 5 months old, the parent has bonded with that child. A common misunderstanding is a parent will experience less grief is they lose the baby in earlier stages of pregnancy. However, research has proven that the time frame has little to do with grief. If the person is willing, one can ask about the child they were carrying. Some parents like to talk about the dreams they had for their children.
Are you going to keep trying?
Losing a baby is not like losing a job. You do not get to just dust yourself off and get back on the horse. Parents who have lost their children need to go through the process of loss before they think about trying for another child. Emma, who lost her baby girl before birth says she would have given her life for her child so the idea of having another child does not come to mind straight away. If the aggrieved wants to talk about it, she will initiate the conversation herself.
Did something cause you to miscarry?
This question may simply be used in an attempt to gather information about what really happened. As innocent as it may sound, this may trigger feelings of guilt in the mother. Such questions may make a woman feel like the loss of the child was her fault. Most mothers may not even want to talk about the cause of their miscarriage.
It could have been worse
Yes. The truth about life is that it can always get worse. However, this does little to comfort a grieving parent. So quoting stories about a lady you know who has had two miscarriages or had her uterus extracted do not make things better. The idea of comparing tragedies does not inspire the parent. At the moment, nothing but that lose matters. One mother shared that.’ While miscarriages are relatively common, it does not help to hear about it when going through your own personal heartbreak. Instead of sharing other people’s experiences, one can listen to the bereaved share their own story.”
You already have two healthy children
You may be trying to ease the parent’s pain by reminding them of the blessings they already have. However, bear in mind that one child does not replace the other. Having other children does not take away from the loss of the other. This statement can also make a parent feel guilty for feeling hurt about losing one child when they have perfectly healthy children. As a friend or family member, you should allow the parent to go through the process of grief. City Mums Blog suggests taking care of the other children to give the parent’s time to grief. This releases them from feeling like they are neglecting the other children.
You need to move on
One important thing to note is that no one should tell a grieving parent how to feel. They need to go through their process of grief at their own pace. There is no allocated time for grieving. No alarm goes off telling a parent that it is time to move on. As support for the hurting parent. You too have no right to rush them. They will move on when they are ready. You can instead remind that whenever they do decide that they are okay, it does not mean that they have forgotten their child.
During those moments of grief and hurt, all a parent wants to know is that they are supported. In case of any talks, allow them to lead the conversation. This way, it will be easier to discern what or what not to say.