We can all go through this drama and understand the pain endured. Do not make it a taboo subject, put words on a suffering, a loss, how about parents who lose their child early?
How after so many hopes, dreams, all its promises of joy and gladness, can we as parents resign ourselves to all these things that we have touched with our finger.
How do you react as a loved one to such suffering? Can we have the right words? What to say? Between those who think that a woman can have other children, it doesn’t matter, and those who wonder how the person manages to be so strong, there is a happy medium.
Does a parent have any choice but to accept this loss and move on? They live a painful and difficult stage and have no choice but to face it.
Helping a bereaved parent is possible, but not so easy. If you survive the death of your child, you can also die from the indifference of those around you.
Can you imagine the unconditional love of a mother who returns home with empty arms? Perinatal bereavement is as painful to go through as the bereavement of a person you have known and loved.
This loss is still a taboo subject and the lack of recognition makes mourning all the more difficult for parents to live with.
Losing a baby is one of the most difficult bereavements and it is a reality that is far from being understood and known.
How to help as a loved one?
Respect the bereavement of parents
Everyone experiences grief in a different way, with emotions at different stages. When some will want to isolate themselves at the start of mourning, others will want to talk about the child to prove that he really existed.
Still others seek explanations for the child’s death. Grieving can last from a few weeks to more than a year.
Know that it is normal for a parent’s sadness to come up again at times several months later at times. It’s even healthy and it shows that the parent is going through stages of grief.
What words to use?
Who can put themselves in the place of the parents in such a case when we have not experienced it? Relatives tend to feel completely helpless in the face of the incomprehension and anger aroused by the child’s death.
If our first reaction is to comfort and help the parents, certain “advice” or “good words” should be avoided because they do not help the parents, and they need to grieve. Listening to the other is the most important, without being judgmental, simply listening to the parent’s pain.
A card with a message of sympathy is always comforting. It may be quite appropriate in this situation.
Often words are useless in these moments, but gestures have more impact. A hug, a comforting hand means much more to the person receiving it.
You should not be afraid of the grief and sadness of parents. Crying helps the heart to heal. Crying in the presence of another person often signifies trust.
If the parent does not wish to communicate, you can completely make him understand that you remain at his side and that you will never be far to listen to him when he feels ready or when he feels the need.
You can offer your help in very concrete ways: by cooking, by taking the dog out. These are true “non-verbal” words. Your availability, your ability to listen and your respect constitute support.
The word to the emotions that are said or are silent. Grieving for a child is long and difficult. And if at the beginning the tears are commonplace, they will be spaced out in time as the months go by.
Parents go through anger, sadness, and need to express these emotions to fully experience their grief. They will then be able to continue their path of life keeping in their hearts this child that they will not see growing up.
As loved ones, we are not always ready to receive these emotions, these words, these sufferings, and this can create discomfort for you.
Accept this discomfort because it is nothing to compare to what these parents live and feel. They need to feel listened to and supported.
Listen to the story of this baby if that is what they need, and remember that looking for explanations and reasons for the death of this child will lead nowhere, and will not return the child to its parents.
Nothing can justify the death of a baby, so avoid empty clichés and phrases like “nothing ever happens for nothing”, “I don’t know what I would have done to your square”. A bereaved parent will find it difficult to receive feedback on what
Finally, vision or contact with other babies is not a solution when faced with bereaved parents.
You will only be confronting them with what they have lost, so do not forget to specify this detail to them which is very important to them, they will not necessarily feel ready.
If parents are expecting a new baby after a while, don’t think that the baby’s grief is far behind. This baby will always be their child, and the birth of a future child can bring back memories.
One of the misconceptions about bereavement is that it’s best not to talk about the deceased and just pretend nothing happened. It is a mistake.
Asking the bereaved what happened is a real relief. Finally, an invitation to talk in detail about what feeds his pain: the circumstances of the illness or the accident, the last moments, everything that has been said and shared.
This story is essential. The mourner does not take pleasure in unhappiness when he repeats it tirelessly: it is necessary. It is of course painful, but if we remain present by its side, without trying to calm it at all costs, or to flee because this suffering frightens us, then we are genuinely bringing it the help it needs.
It is also necessary to accept silence, to know how to say nothing and do nothing. Simply be there and respect the bereaved’s need for reflection. Reaching out with a phone call or letter also helps provide comfort and support.
Finally, know that your friend’s mourning will take much longer than you imagine.
You must be patient. We sometimes have the impression that he is going around in circles because he constantly repeats the same things, but this repetition is essential to him!
This is the very nature of his “work of mourning”. It is in the constancy of your presence that your support will become invaluable.