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How to help

I am sometimes asked ‘how to help’ when people experience grief from losing one or more of their babies. Usually I suggest what was helpful to me, as people deal with their grief in so many different ways, what helps one person may not always help another.

I have been fortunate to speak to many people after their loss and privileged to hear about many very special babies. Therefore I have decided to write some of my own thoughts of things that might help.


Say their names 

 I love people to say my twins names and always have. I understand it is difficult and that you or the bereaved parents may get upset but it will still usually be much appreciated.


Talk about the baby/ babies

Even though they died it is lovely when people ask questions about them. How much did they weigh? Who did they look like? I also liked to share my photos with those friends and family that were happy to look.


Listen

I just wanted to talk about my babies even though they had died. I had many supportive family and friends that would just listen. Even now I like to tell people about them both and it makes my day when friends listen or even initiate conversation about them.


Still be there.

My biggest worry after they died was that people would expect me to be ok after a few months; that I would be expected to go back to normal! For me, around 4 months after was such a difficult time, it felt like things were going back to normal for everyone except for me. I wanted to shout out to everyone that my babies had just died. Consider that although having another baby may be helpful that the new baby does not replace the one that has died. Having a new baby can be an emotional time anyway without the grief running alongside too.


Understand that grief is ongoing, it’s a new normal. 

This leads on from my last point. I want to always remember and think of my boys. I don’t ever want to forget. Sometimes it’s painful to think of the what ifs but sometimes it helps. Sometimes something will happen that will take me right back to the time that they died, the very raw painful time when everything is too much to bear. Sometimes something will happen that comes out of the blue and just makes me cry but that’s ok. I like to remember them. They will always be my children. I will always think of them. I am a different person, having them has changed me but it’s ok.


Support

Encourage the bereaved parents to take up support, either professional support such as bereavement counselling or using one of the many fantastic charities that offers support in these circumstances. It might not be for them but it’s worth a try. Tamba and Sands were my lifelines. A place where I felt understood and that I belonged to. I could talk about my twins as much as I wanted to. I met some lovely friends through Sands who I consider to be some of my best friends now. I have also recently heard such good things about hospices providing fantastic support and after care too.


Fundraising

Fundraising can often play an important part in the months and years to follow. After the funeral there can be such an emptiness, having a focus and something to plan for can make such a difference. I have done many different fundraising activities over the years and found each time it to also be a healing process for me as well as another time to remember and talk about my babies. Fundraising for a charity also helps with raising awareness.


Remembering

Understand that for many bereaved parents it is often important to keep their baby/ babies memory alive. They are part of our family even though they are no longer with us. Remembering them on their birthday or liking a post on social media means a lot. I am so lucky that so many of my family have been amazing at including my twins at various family occasions. I will always want them to be remembered and thought of.


Twins/ Siblings

Consider the impact of losing one of their twins or triplets, the joy of one being alive and celebrating their life alongside the despair of losing one or more. Likewise it is important to understand the impact that our loss will have had on us and on any future pregnancies. Pregnancy is different after a loss and it can be hard to stay positive. Having siblings can also reinforce what you are missing out on but not necessarily at the time. For me it is always a year later as my daughter approaches something new and I think that the twins should have done it last year.



With all of these TALKING plays such an important part of getting through these days. Feeling normal was massive for me, from the days in hospital when they were in the Neonatal unit, to when they died, to afterwards at the funeral etc. and then to continuing with having my family. Is it normal to name your baby if they might die? Is it normal to bath them after they have died? Is it normal to wake up every morning hoping that it is all a bad dream? Is it normal to be so worried about your subsequent children? Talking helped me realise that all of these things are normal and that as bereaved parents we need to do things that help us. We need to feel able to talk, reach out and accept help.


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