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Stillbirth Advice for Support People

“[Send] a care package with homemade chocolate chip cookies, [a supportive note or book on coping with loss,] and a package of paper plates…. I don’t know about you, but my grief doesn’t like to do dishes, so have a fucking paper plate!”

“You can’t just have another baby, you have this baby and you lost this baby.”

“Don’t forget about the nonbio mom. Feed both of them and care for both of them, and I would encourage support people who are close to the parent who is not carrying to find some place and time to speak to them individually because they’re going through their own grief process. They need space to be able to voice what they’re going through independently from their partner.”

“People might have really conflicting feelings [sometimes]. There can be a feeling of loss and also a feeling of relief simultaneously, for instance. Be able to support both.”

“((Channeling Bette Davis)) Fasten your seatbelt. (laughter) It’s just [gonna be] a bumpy ride.”

“There is a big difference between compassion and pity. Make sure you offer compassion. Bereaved parents do not need people to feel sorry for them, but they do appreciate others sharing in their sorrow. Knowing that you remember and miss the baby too is heart-warming. One of the hardest things that bereaved parents face is the reality that everywhere they look life goes on as if nothing happened as if their baby never existed. Do not avoid talking about the baby. It’s the only way to keep their memory alive. Don’t be afraid that mentioning their child will remind the parents of their loss. They never forget. Hearing their child’s name might make them cry but not hearing it denies their child ever existed. Keep in mind that having a subsequent child does not make the pain of losing the previous child go away. Children are not replaceable, so don’t expect the parents to be all better or somehow healed by bringing a baby home following a loss. After our twins were born one of our friends gave them lil sister and lil brother onesies—this was an incredibly touching way to let us know our first child will not be forgotten.”

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