Grieving parents who have lost a child (women in particular) occasionally find that close friends and even family shy away from them. People who haven’t been through this excruciating experience may not understand why the bereaved parent is feeling such intense grief toward a child they “didn’t even know.” These same people may be extremely uncomfortable with the death of a child (or death in general), but are made especially uncomfortable if the loss is a miscarriage, the child is stillborn or lives only a short while. Friends or family members may have their own unresolved feelings about the situation or perhaps fear the demise of their own pregnancy or children. For whatever their reason, they don’t know what to say, and eventually stop contacting their grieving friend or relative.
We often say in our groups that losing a baby is one of the last taboos in our society. It is such an incredible shame, because most of us just want a friend who will listen to our stories about our baby who has died, or simply want someone to hold our hand while we cry. It is painful enough to lose a child, but to lose friends or relatives over the situation is doubly so.
I found a wonderful resource at the following web address: http://www.handsupport.org/friends.html. They give some great suggestions for friends and family of a parent who has experienced a neonatal loss. I also added the “Hand of the Peninsula” website to the blog roll on the side of this page (please note that I added some other new resources there as well). March of Dimes also has a resource page for those close to a family who have experienced the loss of a baby (this includes some good suggestions for helping the siblings of a baby who has died). Their page can be found at http://www.marchofdimes.com/pnhec/572_4057.asp. Please print these resources and give them to friends or family members if you are finding they are having difficulty dealing with your grief. Perhaps it will help them to support you in your time of need.