If you’re here because your friend or family member has just lost a baby due to miscarriage, stillbirth, failed embryo transfer, termination for medical reasons, SIDS, ectopic pregnancy or any other type of loss…Thank you. It is so important to support yourself so you can support the people you love. So often we don’t know how to approach this, what to say, what to do and you for sure don’t want to mess this up.
One of the hardest things for loss moms is the secondary losses where they feel like they lose their friends because of the gap that grief can seem to create. You can bridge that gap by following the steps I’m sharing in today’s episode.
As a bonus, I created a little message you can share with your loved one. My goal with the Smooth Stones Podcast is to help every grieving parent I can to know that there is hope and they are not alone. Just send them a text.
*Insert your own greeting then copy and paste the message below:
I just found a life after babyloss coach named Amy Watson. She has podcast called Smooth Stones. I listened to episode 130 “When Your Friend has a Miscarriage” and it helped me so much to understand how I can be there for you now and as long as you need me. I think you would love her podcast. Some episode that look really helpful are:
104-When you’ve just lost your baby
6-How many kids do you have?
You should check it out.
A special welcome today to this special episode that is a little different than my normal episodes because I am speaking to people who love people who have been through a loss. Usually I’m speaking to the people who are navigating the loss themselves, but this is special and it’s been a long time coming.
I’m not sure why I didn’t do this before. I have been asked this question so many. Then I realized after a really great DM conversation on Instagram with someone who found me and asked how they could help their friend that why don’t I just do a podcast episode on it, and then next time I get asked, I can just send people there.
If you have found this on your own, if you’ve been scouring the internet or Googling or looking on Instagram or asking around, first, I wanna say thank you. Thank you for being here. Thank you for caring. To try to figure out what the best way to help your friend or your family member who is suffering and grieving the loss of a baby.
It means so much. I had some really great friends who stepped up and who were there for me, and I knew I could count on them, and it meant so, so much to me and really helped me especially. Hard days to know that there were people out there who cared and who had my back and who, who helped me out. So here’s what I’m gonna do.
I am going to tell you some really simple tips of how to help your friend after they’ve had a miscarriage and really any baby loss, and we don’t get to decide, right? Anyone who has had any kind of loss from. Infertility treatments where a transfer doesn’t work or they don’t have any embryos or anything like that to, you know, any kind of baby loss.
Like with no judgment, just anyone who’s grieving a baby that they wanted and hoped for, this is for you to help support them through. So I’m gonna give you those really simple tips. And then I’ve got a couple of tips for my regular lost parents who are listening. I think this is really important for you too because a lot of times we do end up being a support person, and maybe you’re gonna hear something that you haven’t thought of before.
And I’m gonna give you a couple of tips at the end just for how to deal with friends, because here’s the problem. A lot of lost parents will say that one of the hardest things of going through grief is that they lost a lot of friends or their relationships with their loved ones. Their family, uh, were really took a hit.
It was really hard because those friends and those family members didn’t know how to show up, and the grieving person is really reaching for that. And they’re not finding it. And it’s something that a lot of people call secondary losses. So you, you lose your baby and then you lose the people closest to you when we can’t figure this out and we can’t help each other.
So I wanna go into this saying that it doesn’t have to be that way. I don’t believe that that’s just a given. Now, I do believe that relationships come and go, that things will ebb and flow. I think we all just do our best and that’s still gonna. But I want you to go into this believing, like I can show up for my friend who’s grieving, and I can also take care of myself through that.
Because a lot of times this might be your first experience with grief. This might be your first experience with baby loss. You might be totally blindsided. I had a friend who was pregnant with me. We totally like, we used to be neighbors and we both had moved, but we found out we were due on the same day and we were pregnant all together.
And then my baby died right at the end of our pregnancies, and Hearst didn’t. And that might be the case for you. You might have been pregnant with your friend, with your sister, with your sister-in. And now you have your baby and they don’t. So I want you to know that it’s okay to take care of yourself.
It’s okay that it’s hard. It’s okay that you’re grieving too. These tips are still gonna be really, really powerful for you. So let’s just dive in. The first tip I have is something is better than nothing. I will say this over and over and over. I remember before I lost my babies. That there was another family in the town I lived in who lost a baby at about seven months.
And I remember thinking, I wanna take her some flowers, I wanna do something for her. But in my mind I’d say, I don’t know, like we weren’t that close. Like we were friends, but not more like acquaintances. And what if she didn’t want flowers? What if she thought it was weird that I showed up on the doorstep?
You know, maybe I should do something different, but I didn’t. I should take dinner, but I don’t have time to make dinner. Or maybe it’s been too long, or maybe it’s too soon. Have you had any of these thoughts go through your head of like, you have this desire to help and to support, and then your brain starts telling you all the reasons why maybe you shouldn’t.
Uh, that is when I go back to this statement, something is better than nothing. You might not have time to make a home cooked meal. You might just have time to send a text or make a phone call, or put a card in the mail or order something. You know, we have so many options now to like DoorDash, your friend, a cup of their favorite drink or whatever, do that.
We have this desire and another tip that I wanna give you is never suppress a generous. Okay. When you have that desire, I really believe that it’s important to act on it right away, because the more you push that down, the less they’re gonna come up or the more awkward it’s gonna feel, or the more time you’ll have to talk yourself out of it.
So just do the thing when you think of it, make it simple and do it. I can’t tell you how much it means to just have people care enough to do the thing because. A lot of support, but there’s also a lot of people that don’t show up and, and that does hurt. So something is better than nothing. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but just anything.
And another tip I have is use the baby’s name. If they named the baby or if they had a nickname or whatever it is, use the baby’s name. A lot of people are. What if I, what if I bring this up? What if I talk about it and it makes them upset? It makes them cry. I can tell you with basically a hundred percent certainty for most people, they want to talk to about their baby.
That is the hardest thing about losing a baby, is you don’t have memories. You don’t have a whole bunch of pictures. You don’t have the time with them. Not very many people got to meet. And so when you can say, I remember your baby by name, that is like the greatest gift you can give them. So use that baby’s name, talk about it.
Ask about it, but be open to them. You know, let them choose is really what I wanna say. Another really important thing is don’t assume like you don’t. What they want or what they don’t want. But this is what I hear from a lot of people. I don’t wanna say the wrong thing. I don’t wanna hurt their feelings.
I don’t wanna bring up something that’s sad, but just give that person the opportunity to let you know what they need. So use their name. And for most people, that is gonna be a really great gift. And yeah, they might cry, they might be upset. You might be upset. There’s nothing. With being sad. There’s nothing wrong with having emotions, but it can be a great way to connect.
So don’t assume that talking about their baby will make them sad. For most lost parents, it will just be the most special gift as you are wanting to help. Something that’s really important is be specific. A lot of times we have this phrase, which I wish we would remove from like, I guess English language.
I don’t know if they do it in other cultures, but a lot of times we say, let me know if you need anything. I want you to think about yourself on a good day if you need help. Are you going to call a friend and tell them to come over and help? Like if you’re buried under a pile of laundry, are you just gonna say, Hey friend, I’m struggling today.
Let’s, let’s fold laundry. Now, if you have a relationship with someone like that, that is amazing. But for most of us, we’re never going to do. So for us to put that on a grieving person, it just, it’s not okay. Like they’re never going to tell you they don’t know what they need. They don’t know what they want.
They want their baby back. They want their heart to not be broken. You know? They want those things. You can’t fix that. You can’t help them there. Right. But you can walk their. You can offer to come fold their laundry in. Don’t let them say no. You can say, Hey, I wanna come watch your other kids. Is Wednesday or Thursday better for you?
Do what you can do, what you have capacity for, and what your talents are. That’s the thing, like it doesn’t have to be a casserole. It doesn’t have to be a plant. There’s so many ways to reach out and support, right? You. I am not gonna list it here. You know what you are good at, you know what you can do, do that, right?
Maybe look at your love language if you like giving gifts. There are so many amazing, like memorial necklaces or uh, like there’s a million things I’ve seen where people buy a star for their friends baby who died, you know, from that international star registry. Get creative, like think outside the box and, but think inside your talents.
If you love to make, elaborate home cooked meals, do that, right? If you’re really good at freezer meals, if you’re really good at picking up a frozen lasagna, a bag of salad and a loaf of bread, do right? I used to think that I had to make this elaborate homemade meal and so I would stop myself. Cause I’m like, I can’t handle it.
I have a whole bunch of little kids. I’ve got a lot on my plate. And so. Again, do nothing. Instead of doing something right, order them for pizza. Whatever it is, look at your own capacity, cuz you don’t need to run faster than you have strength either, because that’s where we’ll get resentment if you offer to do anything or if you say, Hey, tell me anything you need, and then they say something you don’t really wanna do.
You’ve just created a recipe for disaster and for resentment and for it to just not, not bring that connection and that support that you both. So just think about what you can do and that just means so much. And honestly, like a text is amazing. I had some friends that would just text me who just asked me how I was doing, and I knew that they actually wanted the truth.
That was priceless. I cannot stress how much that helped me to. That I had a few friends who were like, ride or die, gonna be there who really cared how I was doing, and let me have the space to talk about it. And that is my next tip is you do not have to fix this. This is where a lot of people get really stuck.
It’s really uncomfortable for you to watch your friend or your family member be sad, but you have to take care of yourself and understand that it’s okay. They don’t need to fix your discomfort by healing and being. I hear so many lost parents saying like, my family, my friends, they just want me to be better.
They want me to be back to who I was and I can’t. And it is, it’s so hard cuz it’s like this pressure and I don’t know that anyone means to put pressure on people to heal faster. But you have to notice that you want them to heal so that you can feel better. If you found yourself doing that, it’s okay, like it’s normal because in our society, we are not good at dealing with grief.
We don’t understand it, we’re not comfortable with it. But just check yourself if that’s what you’re trying to do, is kind of fix this for your friends so they can get back to who they were before. They’re never gonna be who they were before. It’s going to be different, and that is. It is not your job to fix this.
You just need to listen. You need to hold space for them. And when I say hold space, I just mean if you’ve seen the movie Inside Out, there is a scene where the little emotion of joy, she’s a really bummed because they are just failing and failing and failing. She sits down and sadness, who’s this little blue person sits next to her and just sits.
And lets her be sad. And honestly, it makes me emotional. That scene, like you can look it up on YouTube if you haven’t seen the movie just inside Out sadness and joy I, I would think would get you there. But it is so powerful and I’m telling you it is unfortunately really rare for someone to just be able to sit and listen and let someone be sad.
But that is the key to all of. and you wanna take care of yourself. If you feel overwhelmed yourself, maybe that’s not the day you offer to do that, right? You gotta be in a place to be able to do that. Absolutely. Don’t give, if you don’t have anything to give, but really open up to the fact that it, it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable, it doesn’t have to be awkward, it doesn’t have to be draining.
It can actually fill your cup to. Listen in support and be there for someone who is sad. And all you need to say is, I’m sorry, I’m crying with you. I’m sad with you. I wish I could take this away, but since I can’t, I’m just gonna be here and you don’t even, A lot of times when I’ll send a text to someone who’s grieving or reach out to check on someone, I’ll just say, Hey, I was thinking about you.
I was thinking about your baby. I know that this special anniversary’s coming up, or their birthday or their due date, and I want you to know I’m thinking about you and there’s no need for you to respond. That is another gift you can give is they don’t need to respond. They don’t need to thank you, like you have taken care of yourself enough to know that that griever doesn’t owe you anything.
They’re struggling. They’re in like one of the hardest things they’ve ever been. Just don’t have any expectations, and I promise you this will connect you more than anything, to just be able to give without any expectations. But it’s, it’s really important that you’re taking care of yourself and you’re taking care of your expectations of your friend.
I promise you, as long as you keep that connection open, keep that line. Your friendship is going to evolve. It’s gonna deepen. It might not be the same, but it might be better if you can just give them the space and the time that they need to grieve this little baby. Another tip I have is use technology.
Technology is our friend, like I was just saying. Think about the important dates to this family. It can be due dates. The day the baby died, the day they got a diagnosis, the day they bury their baby. Mother’s day, father’s day, certain holidays, depending, whatever your religion is, right? Are there holidays that are more kid focused?
Whatever those milestones are, you could use technology to remind you, put it in your phone. There are online card things where you can like set up to send a card in their email. It’s so. Use technology to your advantage. A a lot of us are busy. We, we don’t remember all those things, but if you can just take honestly just like 15 minutes and just say, Hey, I wanna like find out these important dates, or I wanna send something, or I wanna do something, then do it.
And it’s done. It’s, it’s so very, I. And really, really important. I want to stress the be there after the casserole stop coming. When the baby first dies, there is this fog, there is this grief fog. Everything is really hard. Everything is just like you’re dealing with all the details. You’re dealing with the health things you’re recovering.
Your friend is in postpartum. Don’t forget their postpartum. That’s a side. Like they had a baby. No matter what happened, there are hormones and physical things going on. Uh, care for that. Ask about that. Ask about the delivery. Ask about however everything went. People don’t ask that. Ask what the baby looked like if they got to meet the baby.
Ask what the pregnancy was like. Let them have that journey. When a baby dies, they still need to be born in one way or. Let them talk about that, like you would talk about it with your friends, with living children, but back to my point after this, fog lifts kind of exactly coincides with when people stop showing up, like nobody’s ringing the doors with soup anymore.
A lot of people have moved on. Life has gone on and this fog lifts and the grieving person is. How do I do this? How do I do this? I feel so alone. And there’s a lot of stigma and a lot of messaging that says like they can’t talk about it anymore. They shouldn’t be sad anymore cause it’s been a month, six months, a year.
Be there when the Castro stopped coming and let them know like you are in it for the long haul. I have a friend who has sent me books on my daughter’s birth. Since her first birthday, and we are coming up on 10 years now, I don’t know how long she’s gonna keep doing that, but knowing that she cares enough to do that, to set that up.
And at first she sent it out to everyone and like a lot of people were doing it, they’re sending books to my other kids. And it was the sweetest thing ever. But through the years, like people aren’t still doing it and that’s okay. But I know that she cares and she’s still there. That is just so important, and I wanna say this to lost parents.
As I wrap up, I wanna give you the advice to choose and assume love. This is a tool that a lot of people use in like marriage counseling, is to assume love. So if your partner leaves their socks on the floor, you just assume they love you, not that they are trying to drive you because you’ve told them to pick up those socks a million times.
But when your friends fumble over their words, when your friends don’t know what to say, when maybe they don’t do things on days that are important to you, when they stop commenting on your posts on social media, you can assume love anyway, right? They love you. They care about you. They care about your baby.
They wanna be there for you. Maybe. Don’t know how, or maybe they’re carrying something right now. Grief is very self-centered, and so you can forget that other people have stuff going on. I honestly think that this is a huge gift you can give yourself is to just assume that all your friends and family are doing their best and their best.
Sometimes it’s not that good and sometimes the support that you need isn’t the people closest. They may also be grieving this baby. They may also have stuff going on. It’s okay that they aren’t there for you in the exact way that you hoped they would be or you wish they would be. But the more we expect people to act a certain way, like exactly support you the way you have in your mind, the more you set yourself up for disappointment and disconnection, and then you start distancing yourself for your friends, and then it’s like you’ve created that secondary loss for your.
I’m not disregarding like people who absolutely say and do things that are really not okay. Right? We don’t have to let ourselves be treated in a terrible way. But also there’s a lot of pain that we build for ourselves when we, when we just have these expectations for people that they’re never gonna be able to meet.
So assume that all your friends and family are doing their. Know that you’re doing your best. Know that grief brain just is hard sometimes, and it’s all good, but I wanna say this to my friends and loved ones of people who are grieving a baby. I have made something really, really simple for you in the show notes.
If you just scroll down on this podcast, you’ll be able to see the show notes. I made a simple message that you can copy and paste and give to your. I forgot to introduce myself at the beginning, but I am Amy Watson. I am a mom to two babies in heaven. I had a full-term stillbirth and I had a 14 week miscarriage.
I have had two pregnancies after, one after each of those losses. And I had older living kids, um, all throughout this. And I am a coach for baby loss parents, mostly moms, but anyone who needs support, I am here for them. And that’s what this podcast. So what I’ve done is make it really, really simple for you.
I have a really simple message. It just says, Hey, I found this podcast, it’s awesome. It’s for lost parents, and I really wanted to share it with you. So go in the show notes, copy and paste that. What I want for this podcast is to help as many lost parents as I possibly can to navigate this unique kind of grief.
I wanna give them. I wanna show them that life after loss isn’t all just dark and sad. There is so much goodness in their lives. And I wanna thank you again for being here and for caring about the people in your life. I promise you, following these tips will help you with anyone who is struggling with anything.
And it’s unfortunate that a lot of times we don’t learn these things until we’ve gone through it ourselves and been on the other. So I am trying to help you as someone who has been on the other side. This is all you gotta do. You don’t need to fix it. You just need to be there. You need to let them be sad, take care of yourself, and offer to help in specific ways and use technology to really make it easy.
You can do this, you can be there for your friend, and I promise you they are going to be okay, but however long it. Just hang in there with them. It is the best, most amazing gift you can give them. So get in the show notes, send that message right now while you’re thinking about it, and I’ll see you next time.
Are you tired of feeling like your baby’s dead was somehow your fault? Go tostones coaching.com and get my free mini course. How to Stop Blaming Yourself After Loss.