The loss of a baby, whether through miscarriage, stillbirth, or a child that lived a short life, is a profound and heartbreaking event for parents. Parents will find comfort in the love and assistance from others that try to understand their needs. While friends and family may not understand the intensity of the grief associated with this traumatic loss, they can offer practical and comforting support.
--Sympathy Message - Unfortunately, there are no ideal words to comfort a grieving parent but "I'm sorry" goes a long way. Do not minimize the loss with cliches that may be hurtful to the parents. A simple, yet loving and heartfelt acknowledgement of their pain provides much needed support.
--Practical Support - Simple daily chores may seem monumental for a grieving parent. Running errands, doing laundry, walking dogs, babysitting other children in the household, and preparing meals are some practical areas of support. Be specific. If the offer to help is vague, the parent may refuse your offer and assume it was meant as a courteous gesture only. The grieving may not accept all your offers of assistance but will be comforted by your thoughts and efforts.
--Listen - The best gift is to give of yourself. Grieving parents may want to tell their story and need a shoulder to cry on occasionally. There is no time stamp on grief. Remain supportive following the death and continue to follow up months down the road.
"Honestly, when I'm hurting, I'd rather have a friend who stands and weeps with me or wonders with me than one who rattles off his or her take on the universe."
-- Quote by Patsy Clarimont from the book "Stained Glass Hearts"
--Talk About the Child and Refer to the Child By Name - Your gift of remembrance, even if tempered with tears, will be much appreciated.
"If you know someone who has lost a child or lost anybody who's important to them, and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died - they didn't forget they died. You're not reminding them. What you're reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and that's a great, great gift." --- Elizabeth Edwards
--Remember Significant Dates - Let the parents know that you are still thinking of them during significant days, such as due dates, birthdays, Mother's Day, or Father's Day, with a special card, a phone call, or memorial gift.