When we lost our baby Beau at 21 weeks we had many people reach out to us. I truly believe that most of the people who reached out to us did it from a place of love and support, but some of the things said to us were hurtful or inappropriate even if they weren't meant to be. If someone close to you experiences child loss, I hope this post will help you in finding the right things to say to them.
We realize that people were uncomfortable and unsure of what to say to us when we lost our baby. Honestly, before losing Beau, I'm sure I said some of these things because they seemed right in the moment. I thought it might be helpful to share some of the things people said to us and how they hurt or helped us through our grieving process.
How did he die? This was the worst. It was hard enough that we'd just lost our baby, but people asking about how he died made it seem like they were just curious about what had happened. When our close friends and family asked we were fine with sharing with them, but unless the parents want to share the circumstances with everyone it's not appropriate to ask.
Maybe it's better you lost him now-there was probably something genetically/anatomically wrong and he would have had a harder life. Yes, people actually said this to us. After going through half a pregnancy and feeling this baby move and kick, on top of a perfect anatomy scan at 20 weeks, this comment was just hurtful. Even if our baby had been born with genetic differences, he was still our baby and we still never would have wanted him to die.
You're young, you can still have more kids. Sure, this is true. However, it's not the first thing on our mind to start planning for more kids when we just went through such a traumatic loss. And the baby we lost will NEVER be replaced by having another. There will always be a permanent hole in our heart where he lives.
God wanted him back in Heaven. Regardless of your/their religious stance, this is never a helpful thing to say to someone who has lost a baby. The only thing it did for us was made us resent the people who said it and resent God for giving us a child and then taking him away.
Please don't feel bad if you've said any of these things to people in the past. Unless you experience child loss yourself there's no way to know how hurtful some of these things are, and we understand that. I just hope that by sharing our experience it will help people know what to say. We heard from many people whose comments were helpful and uplifting after the loss of our baby as well. Here are some of the things that we loved to hear and that helped us grieve the loss of our baby.
Helpful Phrases for Families Experiencing Child Loss:
We lost a baby at 12 weeks/4 months/8 years. Child loss is a tough subject and it's almost become taboo to talk about it. I can't tell you the number of people who reached out to me after we lost Beau with their stories of loss. It was never a "I know exactly what you're going through" sort of thing, but more of an "I have felt what you are feeling and I can help you through this". The community of families who have suffered child loss is one you never want to be in, but it has some of the most amazing support you'll ever find. It was SO helpful for us to talk with other parents about their babies and we are so grateful for everyone who reached out to us.
We will never forget your baby. It was one of my biggest fears, after losing Beau, that he wouldn't be remembered or wouldn't affect others the way he affected our lives. It was such a reassurance to us that people were impacted by his short life. To this day (almost two years after losing him) it still gives us so much happiness when people talk about Beau and how he touched their lives.
We are here for you. Even if you don't know what to say, just letting a grieving family know that you care makes a huge difference. We didn't expect anything from our friends and family when we lost Beau, but we were overwhelmed by messages of support. Even a simple message like "We are so sorry you're going through this. We love you and are thinking of/praying for you" means so much.
I hope you never experience child loss in any form. I hope no one you know experiences child loss either. If you find yourself in a situation and don't know what to say, I hope our experience helps you find the right words.