It's National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month. In honor of all the babies gone too soon and all the tender hearts who were forced to say goodbye, I am taking the month of October to focus on this experience. Check out our multiple giveaways + contest.
Losing a baby is a tragic and irrevocable loss, whether via miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death.
Not only is it utterly tragic, but you don't ever forget the trauma and loss. Your baby is a part of you and deserving of his or her space in your life. (S)he moves into your heart, taking up residence as sorrow and grief for the rest of your time on earth.
Irrevocable loss is like that: it creates a sorrow that just sort of moves into you. Sometimes its quiet and unnoticeable, other times its loud and hurts like nothing else.
Grief is clunky and complex and there is no road map to it except to ride the waves as they come.
It is one of the oddest realities to me that had I not miscarried in March 2015, Ira would not exist.
In the deepest parts of my bones, a passion resides to give a voice to those who often don't get a voice or who feel too little, ashamed, or embarrassed to give themselves the voice they deserve. Baby loss victims often feel as though their voices are unheard or uncared for.
BUT I know many of us want to serve and love our friends who lost a baby...we are simply unsure what to do, how to care for them, and afraid to say the wrong thing.
Here are three things you can do for your friend who lost a baby:
- Drop a meal, buy groceries, clean her bathroom.
This is simple and yet the magnitude of it's blessing is unspeakable.
To have a meal or couple bags of groceries dropped off on the front porch is one of the greatest things you can do for a mama (and her family) who is grieving their loss.
If you're up for it and able, offer to clean her bathroom. When you've just lost a baby, the last thing you want to do is clean your bathroom. But sometimes you just want to sit in your shower and cry. Offer to clean her bathroom and don't feel the need to talk much.
- A gift.
Purchase a gift in honor of her baby. This doesn't need to be over-thought. It can be as simple as a heart necklace or a small teddy bear or as customized as a special ornament or a garden stone.
A card with flowers and the written permission to grieve their loss as well as letting them know you cannot imagine how they must be feeling. (Unless, of course, you can because you've also walked this road).
A book to help her grieve. Empty Arms by Sheroke Ilse or This Undeserved Life by Natalie Brenner. Both of these books were created to offer space for loss and grief.
- Remember her baby on either Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness day or month (October, October 15).
It's impossible to remember everyone's due dates or passing dates, but sending a little text or email or card during the month of October that you are thinking of her and her baby speaks volumes.
I light a candle on every 15th and you can too! For all the babies gone too soon. Speak your friend's baby's name, tell her you're thinking about him or her, and you wish you got to meet him too.
I'm a praying mama too, and believe in the absolute power of prayer. Prayer coupled with action is powerful and offering your friend some extra support will speak volumes to her in one of her loneliest seasons.
Whatever you do, don't tell her how to feel. Don't tell her "at least she got pregnant." And don't say this was "God's plan."
God's plan was never for loss and brokenness, and it's very important to remember that cliches and fix-it phrases never help a hurting person.
Don't miss this week's giveaway on Instagram!