OK, so I can’t let you angel mommies off the hook. Just because I recently posted about how to respond to your grief, does not mean that others are solely responsible for this conversation. It is indeed a conversation. You should reach out too. Here a few ways to help others help you:
1. Thank them. Right after your child’s death, you may not want to talk about it. And understandably so. However, you should not shut down the conversation because later you may need that support. Instead, thank others when they ask how you are doing. Give an honest but brief answer, and genuinely thank them for asking. By doing this, you will encourage future conversation.
2. “Let me know if you need anything.” Most people do mean it when they ask how they can help. Give them something to do. They can bring meals, clean your house, babysit your other children, pray, or visit with you. You may not get everyone who asks involved, but let them show their love.
3. Be direct. Tell others that you are OK with talking about your child. Again, time may need to do its healing first on this one, but encourage others to talk about it when you are ready. Or maybe you’re not OK with talking about it ever. Let them know that too. Your closest friends and loved ones especially need to know what you want. They have probably never experienced losing a child; so they don’t know what to avoid or how to act around you. Help them know what to do.
4. Mention your baby. Talking about your child doesn’t have to be awkward. Mention something funny about him or talk about the pregnancy. Practice with close friends to make sure you won’t burst out into tears, but talking about your child casually and positively will make others more comfortable with the situation.
Above all, just start a conversation! Don’t let others become uncomfortable around you just because they don’t know what to say. Help others help you through your trial.
by Sarah George