This in particular has been on my heart to share. There are so many hurting hearts out there who have lost sweet children. These are just from my own experience, that I want to share with you, that you might be a shinning light to someone who you may know personally who is hurting.
We all need help on knowing what to say to people who are hurting, and what not to say, we are human, after all and we are inquisitive when it comes to baby deaths. Sometimes we overstep our bounds, and say/ask too much. I truly wish that I had known these things back before we had our stillbirth.
…Things You Should Never Say/Ask/Do to a Couple Who Have Been Through a Stillbirth (My Own Thoughts From My Own Experience)
1. Never say, “Oh you’re still young, you can still have many more.”
You have no idea how tragic that sounds to a mother or father who have witnessed losing a child they never got to know, and to tell them, they can have many more is like, trying to excuse the fact this was a child and he was loved very much. To dismiss that he was human and that we cared for his lil life and that we can quickly dismiss that and go onto trying to fill up that void with another child as if the first never existed.
2. Never ask, “What happened?” Unless you know for a fact they are strong people and they have shared their story with others.
Be aware that when you ask those two words “What happened?” what most people don’t realize they are asking more of them, maybe things they don’t wish to share. You are asking to open up to a subject that has been a nightmare to them, a dream they can never awaken from. You are asking them to reveal a painful subject that they may not be ready to share with you, especially if you are not a close friend. A friend that is present on a weekly/monthly basis, maybe. If they are willing to share you their story, they may tell you without hesitation or they may pause and say, I’m not ready to go down that road just yet. It’s too fresh in their mind and sometimes it’s best to keep those thoughts to their self. Everyone grieves differently.
3. Never, I say NEVER joke about getting pregnant, like say on April Fools day, a popular day for such pranks.
Never ever joke about being pregnant, or pretend with a (Just Kidding) on a pregnancy stick. I know this has nothing to do with a Still Birth but it must be said, too many people out there hurt people as it is, some people after going through a traumatic time with stillbirth, its hard on your body and it takes a bit more time to heal and possibly get pregnant again. Someone who has lost a baby doesn’t need to see on social media that someone is joking about getting pregnant. It’s not funny and you’re hurting yourself far more than those who can’t conceive again. It hurts enough that we lost a true love baby, don’t make it worse by making light of something so deep. Something you can’t understand unless you’ve been there or know of someone who has been there. Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another.
4. Never say, “Maybe you should look into this further.”
First off, that’s a pretty personal question, not many people feel comfortable sharing. Who knows, they maybe looking into it already, you just don’t know it. Especially if it happened more than once. If so, let them figure it out. But most likely, they are trusting in the Lord and how much more should we do the same, if they are?
5. Never talk about the baby and then turn around and say, “on a lighter note…”
Who knows? Maybe talking about their baby-loss is a comfort to them and to say this can result in tears. Be cautious with newly wounded creatures. They are frail and hurting, try to be considerate of their feelings.
6. Never say, “I’m so sorry you had to go through this.”
I had so many people tell me this and I would try to tell them, “It’s ok. The Lord is in control.” And He is. For me, these words were discouraging and I wished more than anything people would have said, “Im sorry for your LOSS”, because he was, a loss, to acknowledge that my baby was a person and great loss; not that I had to go through this? Truly, it’s a painful experience, and I too, would never wish it on anyone, but if God is trying to get ahold of someone’s heart and mind, then sometimes losing a baby is a way to bring people to the cross, to trusting Him again, to finding peace and comfort in and through, Him. Remember we serve a jealous God who wants ALL of our love, not just a little bit here and there. If a baby loss is all that it takes to bring people back to Jesus, then I say, its God’s will and best for them. If they are trusting the Lord to see them through and they are finding peace, this phrase is not a comfort to the sojourner who is seeking and finding their peace and comfort in God’s love, but rather a hindrance, telling them you’re sorry, they had to go through it when they know, it was God’s will. Telling them I’m sorry for your loss, is far better to hear than saying God’s will is not best and I’m sorry God chose the wrong way for you. That’s why its so discouraging when people couldn’t except that it was God’s will for us to go through this. If we are finding peace and comfort in our loss, shouldn’t you who haven’t lost a baby or maybe you have, but haven’t found that peace that passeth all understanding, how much more should you trust God too, if those that have, do. Plus, after going through this loss, I am closer to the Lord than I ever have been in my whole Christian Life! I am thankful, but it still hurts. **
…Things You Should Say/Ask/Do to a Couple Who Have Had a Stillbirth
- Please say, “I am praying for you and your husband.” Not only say, but do!
You’re not being nosey but rather being a comfort, you’re not asking a lot of complicated personal questions but rather taking initiative to encourage and lift them up when they feel so down. You have no idea how comforting it is to know people are praying for you and love you tenderly and dearly! They would never wish to hurt you in this trying time, and I know no one ever meant to hurt me with their questions, but when people put aside the questions and simply told me they have been praying, it is such a HUGE comfort and you don’t have to rehash the painful experiences all over again.
**For me, I do share my story, from time to time, mainly because I have accepted it as God’s will and have found true peace and comfort, because of God’s love and strength, (I am weak, and He is strong!) if I can help someone else with my story, and encourage them, then by God’s grace He will sustain me and help me tell my story, the way He sees fit. Though I will admit I’m not quite ready to type it out for my blog, I may never be fully ready for that, cause I don’t want people to see it as a “good story” but rather an encouragement to those hurting and those that haven’t found that peace yet.**
2. If you have had a child loss in the past and you are ready to share with others, I say, share it.
I don’t know how many people, young women and older women alike, even men, came to me and told me their stories, boldly. One by one, they came and shared story after story, some even wrote me handwritten letters, snail mail and some called me on the phone. You have no idea what a blessing sharing your story can mean to those hurting and to see, you too, trusting in our Saviour’s love and strength! It is so refreshing to know, you are not alone, but you have friends who have been there or close, or have lost through miscarriage or other baby deaths. A baby loss is hard to go through, but if you have friends who have been through it also, then the loss doesn’t seem as hard to go through cause you have friends backing you up in prayer, daily even!
3. Be Present!
You have no idea what it means to us who have lost to have faithful friends that daily encourage us and remind us of God’s love through just being present, whether it’s a simple card in the mail to let them know you are thinking of them and praying for them. (Something I wish very much to do for others, who have lost). Call them on the phone if you have their number if you don’t live close. You have no idea what a phone call can do to a person, an art not many use anymore, except to pay bills. Texting and private messages are the in thing, not that that’s bad, just not very emotional and personal. Listening to someone’s voice is more pleasant than a simple text message or private message. And of course if you live close, be present, in person is far better than any of them!
4. Along with being present, Ask them if you can do anything for them!
I had so many friends from church and family come over to “check on me” which was a blessing and I guess I admit I miss very much! I don’t get to spend time with people that much so anytime I get to see friends or spend time with them I try to snatch up any opportunity I can! I enjoyed having families come do my laundry, watch a movie with me, give me Starbucks, send me flowers and SHOWER me with cards of encouragement! I have no idea how many cards I got and flowers! Wow! What a blessing indeed!! People from church showered me and Spencer with wonderful things to eat! We are so blessed to have so many that care and love us! I am still overwhelmed at the thought of it all!
5. Give them a hug.
Have you ever felt depressed or down and someone whom you love grabs you and gives you the biggest hug and lets you cry on their shoulder?! Wow!! I seriously have some of the sweetest friends! Give them a hug, cause it is the best form of telling someone you love them and that they are in your prayers! It’s a gesture that means more than just “Hi how are you?” I’ve even had strangers come up to me and hug me and thank me for being so strong! (It’s not me! It’s all the Lord!)
6. Be an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry upon and a hand to hold, someone once said.
No need for words, just listen. Share your shoulder and make your arms feel welcoming and safe, sometimes they need to hold a hand, a great opportunity for you to pray for them right there, out loud.
And lastly, “…just LOVE them like Jesus, carry them to Him, this will get easy, this burden is light, you don’t need the answers to all of life’s questions…Just love them like Jesus!” –Casting Crowns
Have you had a baby-loss? Recently, or in the past? Do you have things to add to this list? Please share so others can know that haven’t been through this, can know what not to say, and what to say. Thank you for reading! God bless!
9 thoughts on “To Ask or Not To Ask? (What to say or not to say to those who’ve been through a Stillbirth or Baby Loss)…”
Thank you for sharing your heart, Katie. What a blessing to know what to say and do and what to refrain from during times in others lives when comfort is needed. I love you and appreciate your openness and your desire to let God use you exactly as He sees fit. Hugs to you, my friend. If only I lived closer, I would be knocking on your door, Starbucks in one hand and a chic flic in the other! 😉
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Awe!! Thank you, Miranda!! What a blessing you are! I wish you lived closer too! I love watching chic flick`s with girl friends! 🙂 So glad it was a blessing to you! That is what my hearts desire was, that it would be blessing to at least one person! 🙂 Love you, sweet friend! 🙂
Katie….this is so good! Thank you for sharing! I know all of those are true for people who have had multiple miscarriages, too. Love you!!
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Thank you, Hannah!! You are such an encouragement to me! Love you too! 🙂
Katie & Spencer we love to hear you speak your heart. This will help me & lots of people know what to say, and I know Hugs are always one thing that makes you (me) feel better. This was so good of you to share. Sending lots of love and you are in my prayers. NonaPat
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Thank you, Nona!! We love you and Granddaddy so much!! Hugs to you! 🙂
This is a beautiful post, coming straight from a beautiful heart. Thank you for sharing and helping others with knowing what to do or say to comfort and not hurt those who are in this situation.
I am so, so sorry for the loss of your precious children.
I know the pain of miscarriage, too. I have five living children, and two babies waiting for me in heaven.
My sister lost many children because of a unicornuate uterus. She suffered so much throughout this, and heard many insensitive comments from well-meaning people. Today, she has two young sons, but I know that the children she lost to miscarriage are still a sorrow to her heart.
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Hi Alma Mater!
Thank you so much for letting me know, this was an encouragement! What a blessing you are! I truly appreciate it! And thank you for the sweet words!
Wow!! I am so sorry for your sister! I know all too well about the hurtful words, I’ve been through a bit of that myself. I am so sorry, she experienced that. Thank you so much for your encouragement! You are blessing more than you know!
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