Members Advice: Support after a baby's death

  • Print

PSP members offer advice for dealing and supporting a loved one who lost a child.

dad-1716160 640

 

As a member writes:

My brother's 4 day old baby died yesterday after being in NICU. Today, he and his wife will head home. She had a c-section so is also dealing with recovering from surgery. We are looking for ways to support them.  We are heading over to their house to ensure that the first thing they don't see when they walk in is the empty stroller in the living room. I want to help my family be balanced about how much they hide all the baby stuff while being respectful of the need for the parents to not have it in their face. Any ideas for support, things to bring to them, books, websites, etc. would be appreciated.

 

Responses:

"My cousins had this experience a couple of years ago and handled it very proactively and I'd be happy to put anyone going through this in touch with them after getting their ok, but I recall that my cousin pumped and donated her breast milk for perhaps as long as a year to help other mothers who couldn't pump or produce milk and it helped her feel like something good was coming out of what happened. She donated thru an organization whose name escapes me but I can ask [see PSP's article about how to donate breast milk]. They also joined other groups that have other members dealing with these experiences so they didn't feel so alone. and they marked their son's birthday and are honoring him in so many ways another part of their issue was dealing with infertility and they may still be grappling with that, and wanting to be parents, so there are a lot of complexities on top of grief for many couples. And of course I'm so so sorry for their loss."

"I'm so, so sorry your brother and his wife are going through this. Here's one resource." [see PSP's article about support and resources available].

"First, I'm so sorry for your family's loss. Your brother and SIL must be hurting terribly.   I have several close friends who have dealt with the devastating loss of a baby through stillbirth, prematurity, and full-term newborn loss. All of them have said that they actually welcomed discussion of the baby and were upset by too much avoidance on the part of family and friends. This was the case regardless of religious belief or lack thereof; whether the baby was named and formally put to rest or not. Needing acknowledgment of the existence of the life and loss was universal.   Talk with them -- more than once, since the grieving evolves -- about what they want in this regard and urge others to do the same.

"Our babies just got home from NICU -- thank goodness, but I did find an organization during our stay that I believe can help. Please check out Graham's Foundation. They support bereavement post premie loss and NICU stays. Their peer support helped me the most vs the hospital services.
I also found the social workers at NICU to be helpful. The therapists were good too. Additionally, despite being a skeptic, I also really enjoyed pastoral counseling and felt they aided me a lot during my in-patient stay. I am so sorry. It doesn't mean much, but both me and my babies were on death's door. It is only through luck we are here."