5 Simple ways to support parents in the early days of grief and loss and some things to avoid….Oct 13, 2022
5 Simple ways to support parents in the early days of grief and loss and some things to avoid….
One of the most difficult things about grieving the death of a baby or pregnancy is the lack of validation and acknowledgement available from professionals, friends, family and society at large.
It feels jarring for the person experiencing baby or pregnancy loss because their baby was so loved, so precious and so wanted, that to hear others ignore their experience, their pain and suffering feels very wrong.
I think often people are afraid of upsetting grieving parents, and in turn then upsetting themselves, when acknowledging the death of baby. We are naturally empathetic creatures after all and so many people are afraid of feeling the pain of that loss.
There is so much we can do when we lay empathy to one side and engage with compassion instead.
Here are 6 simple ways of supporting grieving parents:
- If you are present at the birth you can help parents to make memories with foot castes, take locks of hair, save first baby grows, cards, scan pictures, first photos. Creating a memory box of special items makes something tangible that can provide comfort and remembrance as parents grieve their loss. SANDS provides excellent memory boxes to parents.
- Support parents to get about. Grief is disorientating, it’s easy to get lost, forget where things are and generally feel lost. Be an anchor, a guide and support as parents find their terra firma again.
- If parents are ready to talk about their baby then talk about them. What did they name them? Did they have hair? Look like mum or dad? Did they get a chance to hold them? Asking validates their baby’s existence and their parent’s love for them.
- If they did name their baby then use their name when talking about them. Again this simple act acknowledges the importance of their existence.
- When we are grieving, we don’t know what we need. Often the best help and support is when folks just do the thing. Cook the meal, drive to the appointment, show up at the funeral, stay in touch and ask ‘how are you doing today?’. Don’t disappear after the funeral. Grief takes time and is normal response to losing the person that we loved so dearly.
The BLAW ‘Out of Sight’ report from 2019 found that 60% of bereaved parents felt they needed specialist psychological support for their mental health, but were not able to access it on the NHS.
Because baby loss is often viewed as one of the worst traumas that someone can endure yet there is no national pathway available for parents experiencing baby or pregnancy loss.
To support BLAW I am offering a 30% discount on the online course Supporting Baby Loss & Miscarriage.
This online course comprises of 7 modules that cover:
- Understanding the impact of pregnancy and baby loss
- Understanding Grief
- Understanding trauma symptoms in relation to grief
- Listening Well
- Pregnancy after baby loss
- Video case study - Sarah's story
- Video case study - Leila's story
Give you confidence in your service and avoid making the mistakes that alienate many traumatised, bereaved parents who unfortunately often feel let down by friends, family and professionals when seeking support.
Learn how our own experience, biases and prejudices can slip us up when it comes to supporting loss and grief.
Gain a valuable insight into what bereaved parents want and need at different stages of their grief journey because grief changes as time goes on.
Learn practical exercises that can help parents cope with trauma symptoms and with panic and anxiety.
Practice these exercises on our live training day on Monday 5th December over Zoom.
Learn from video case studies included in the online course that demonstrate the core skills required to hold space for parents who are grieving.
Feel supported in a closed online community who are all learning, honing and practicing the skills.
Work safely with access to free, small group supervision every month.
Take a look at detailed course content by clicking the link here.
Find out what you will gain from taking this course, and how making an investment in yourself and your service will change the lives of the parents that you work with.
Here is what a recent TBR student had to say about the course.
"I've really enjoyed your course Alex! What amazing women to have shared their ongoing experiences of loss. Thank you so much for the opportunity to do it. It’s going to be so helpful in my work. I really look forward to being able to share experiences with others who also complete the course. Thank you again, it's so, so valuable’ Anna Nella, Bereavement Midwife