Often I have heard friends, family and concerned individuals make statements such as “you can have another”, “get well then try again”, “I know What You are going through” or similar gems. The amazing thing is that none of those individuals have any idea how it feels to have lost a baby.
Friends and family often feel sincere concern. This is their attempt to make the mother feel a little less emotional. However, these statements and similar ones can cause more pain than comfort.
When one loses a baby, the pain can be excruciating. The range of emotions felt are amazing. I know! I suffered through the loss of four babies’ premature birth.
As a mother who suffered through several miscarriages, I felt the pain of receiving the information from my gynecologist that the baby I was preparing to bring into the world after three and four months was gone. The emotions felt seemed to cut to the very breathe of my entire being. My baby was gone. The little human being I wanted so much to hold, love, and nurture would not live!
As I sat each day after receiving the news, my longing to hold the baby I just lost was intense. I would find myself crying, crying and crying until there literally were no more tears.
When receiving the news of the first three losses, medical science had not progressed to a state in which doctors could determine the actual sex of the baby. Nor could they determine what could have been the reason for my little one to be gone.
Today, modern science has advanced to such levels whereby the reason a miscarriage occurred can be determined in 90% of the cases. Physicians can also determine the sex of the infant if the embryo has progressed at least two to three weeks. In addition, if your physician has been able to obtain enough of the fetus, they might just be able to provide details regarding why the baby could not or did not survive.
A grieving mother and father do not mean to or wish to be rude, but emotions can sometimes be extremely high when just being informed or for several weeks afterward. It’s very hard to be diplomatic when hurting.
The best advice I can give is if you do not know what to say to comfort the mother and family, say nothing. It’s best to just offer compassion and express concern.
Let the mother and family members know you are there for them and will be there to assist with anything they may need. Offer to prepare or provide a meal or several meals. When the time is right, ask the mother if she wants to go shopping or riding. She might just need to get away for a little while.
If the parents want to talk about the loss, they will. Then, just provide them with the opportunity to get it out. Offer that listening ear.
When concerned but confused as to the appropriate thing to say, remember silence is best. A hug is always an acceptable and wonderful gesture of love and concern.