October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, the time of year dedicated to the support of women who grieve their babies and the dissemination of resources on the topic of miscarriage and infant loss. Losing a child at any stage of development is a heartbreaking and often lonely experience. How do you support a grieving mother in need?
For the most part, your love, prayers, and offers of companionship will go a long way toward soothing the ache. Your efforts need not be elaborate or overwhelming. Here are five simple ways to support a friend during miscarriage and infant loss.
Five Simple Ways to Support a Friend During Miscarriage and Infant Loss
Make Yourself Available
Loss and grief can be sticky subjects. Everyone reacts differently, and where some women prefer the immediate physical support of those around them, others prefer time alone. Send a text, write an email, or give her a call, depending upon what you believe is her level of comfort. Because it is easier to respond to direct inquiries than blanket statements like “How can I help?” or “How are you?”, use specific phrases such as “I am available to help you today,” “What can I do for you this afternoon?” or “How are you feeling right now?”
Coordinate a Spiritual Bouquet
A bouquet of flowers is certainly beautiful, but a hand-delivered selection from a garden of prayer can brighten a room and ease an aching heart. Offer yourself as the contact point for written records and promises of prayer. They can be gathered together and delivered to the grieving mother as a physical reminder of your spiritual support. Sites like Simple Catholic Living and Pinterest provide suggestions for creating and modifying a spiritual bouquet, including the creation of such a gift when the loss is not public and there are fewer volunteers to offer prayerful support.
Take them a Meal
Grief makes even the simplest of tasks difficult. Ease the burden on a grieving family with a meal delivery catered to their tastes and dietary preferences. If you have a larger community available to help, organize several weeks or months of meal deliveries using sites such as Take Them a Meal or Meal Train.
Keep Spiritual Reading on Standby
Several Catholic women have turned their own experiences of loss into books, prayer journals, and blog posts designed to support and uplift other grieving women. I keep a library of these resources on hand, including work from writers such as Karen Edmisten, Christine Henderson, Mary Haseltine, and Heidi Indahl. They are beautiful gifts to pass along when a grieving friend is ready.
Commemorate the Loss
Help your friend remember her little one with a gift handcrafted in his memory. From embroidered jewelry, wall hangings, and prints to felt dolls, peg dolls, and blankets, you are sure to find something your friend will cherish. See this collection for a larger selection and direct links to items available for purchase.
Pregnancy and infant loss can be a lonely journey, but it doesn’t have to be. Don’t be afraid to reach out to those who are grieving and support them, both spiritually and physically.
Copyright 2017 Ginny Kochis
Your purchase of the resources mentioned here through this author’s Amazon link benefits the author of this article.