Sometimes its hard to know how to help someone who has just lost their baby. Here are some things you can do to help a family who has just suffered a stillbirth or early infant loss:
~ Send a card:
It's the most simple thing to do, but just letting the family know you are thinking about them, praying for them and care means the world to them.~ Attend the memorial service:
Even though you did not know the baby like the parents did, the baby was truly loved, had a personality and was a very, very real person. Showing your support and shedding a few tears with them can mean everything.
~ Donate meals to the family:
The last thing the family needs to think about is what to eat. If the family belongs to a church, has a big extended family or belongs to any type of group, coming up with a schedule to share the duties is best. Or ask the family for a list of e-mails. Most likely the family had already put a list together to announce the birth of their baby. One or two people should take charge. Planning out a meal schedule for the first couple of months is greatly helpful. It takes about six weeks for a woman's body to somewhat recover from giving birth -- longer if the woman suffered a traumatic event. Her significant other is busy working, taking care of himself, his wife and possibly other children too.
~ Buy them comfortable clothes:
After the woman gives birth, on average the woman still looks about 6 months pregnant. Continuing to wear her maternity clothes just feels like another blow. Buy some loose-fitting, comfy pants and shirts that she can wear instead. Please don't forget the husband in this either. Some new comfy pajamas, lounge wear or slippers can also lift his spirits a bit too.
~ Phone calls:
Giving them a quick phone call every couple of days just to ask how they are doing can help. Please do not be offended if they don't return your calls right away or call as often as they used to. Grieving is hard -- and sometimes its difficult to pick up the phone and call someone. Most likely though, if you call them, they will want to talk and take notice of your thoughtfulness.
Just bringing them a movie to watch or magazine to read can be a simple distraction for them. With the movies, most likely comedy/romantic comedy genre is your best bet. Horror flicks, depressing movies or action films with a lot of death in them are not the best during this time.
Journaling can be a great outlet for grief. Buying the husband and wife their own journals is another great thoughtful gift.
~ Other gifts/mementos:
Any creative memento or gift to give the family in remembrance of their baby is wonderful. Some ideas include remembrance jewerly, a memory box, an angel-themed ornament, picture frames/photo album for their baby's pictures, anything with the baby's name on it, making a donation in the baby's name, etc ... Some churches have groups that make prayer blankets or other special things that are given to grieving families.
~ Spending quality time with them:
Its hard for the family to want to get out and socialize much in the first few months, but offering to come over and spend time with them just hanging out at home can be helpful. They may even want to come over to your house for a change of scenery. Bring them coffee or lunch and be a listening ear for them.
~ Knits of Grief blanket:
If you know of a grieving family who you would like to send a Knits of Grief blanket to in their baby's honor, please let us know. E-mail email@example.com.