How to help someone through baby loss
Neo natal charity Tommy’s offer advice on how to help someone through the pain of losing a baby
Lauren shared this touching image of baby Lorena's hand.
Photo credit: Lauren Goodger / Instagram
It’s unthinkable when you’re pregnant that you could lose your baby, and in the vast majority of cases, mums-to-be never have to face such a tragedy, but the heart-breaking news from over the weekend that saw former The Only Way is Essex star Lauren Goodger face exactly this, it has brought the reality of baby loss to the forefront of people’s minds.
Lauren is already mum to daughter Larose with her partner Charles Drury and they were expecting their second daughter together this month.
Their newborn daughter, who they named Lorena, was born on Friday (8th July) but tragically died soon after birth.
Lauren shared the devastating news on Instagram with a black and white image of baby Lorena’s hand on Lauren’s fingers.
Lauren opened up to followers about her heart-breaking loss. She wrote: “Lorena R.I.P 08.07.22 she was the most beautiful healthy baby I’ve ever seen just like her sister @babylarose.x … words can’t describe as a mother losing your baby that I carried for all these months perfectly and gave birth too for my angel to be taken from me [angel emoji] there was no pregnancy or labour complications and she was fine & healthy but I am not going into detail right now just know that there was nothing wrong with her or myself she was perfect I can’t understand it she is so so beautiful Larose twin so similar.. I am broken.
The brave mum continued: “I am back home from hospital Me & Charlie spent as much time with our baby girl Lorena and I haven’t said my goodbye yet.
“Please can I ask photographers to respect our privacy right now as we have a lot of grieving to do and funeral organising that I just need this time & with my baby girl Larose she is my rock that’s getting me through this or I wouldn’t survive… I will never ever get over this but I will learn how to live everyday with Lorena in my heart she will be with me always and I will be with her again one day.
“My [angel emoji] Lorena I love you so much [broken heart emoji]”.
Following the sad news, we take a look at neonatal charity Tommy’s that supports families through baby loss, advice on supporting someone through such a difficult time.
Tommy’s have put together some helpful advice for people on how best they can support someone close through such a difficult time. The advice is based on what parents who have been through baby have told them is what they need.
When to talk and when to listen
Grief can feel isolating and lonely. Parents often say the biggest help was someone just being there for them. Someone who cares and asks questions about the birth, the baby and what they need.
You may assume the parents need space and will reach out when they’re ready. But, if everyone keeps their distance, the parents may feel alone and have no-one to talk to. Sending a regular message by text or in a card to say that you are thinking of them can bring comfort to parents without putting them under any pressure to respond.
They may want space for the first few days or weeks. Let them know that you’re there, ready to talk about what happened and listen to how they’re feeling, when they are ready.
Support the whole family
Everyone is different. One parent might want to talk but the other might not be ready yet, or ever want to. Try to support each parent at a time and in a way that works for them, rather than seeing them as a unit.
This also applies to any siblings that may need support from you.
Go at their pace
If in doubt, ask the parents if they want to talk and be sensitive to their reactions. If you know that they are not ready, acknowledge their loss and then move onto other things.
It may be appropriate to say that you are ready for when and if they want to talk about it.
Talk about the baby
Many parents will be happy for you to acknowledge their baby. Give them an opportunity to tell you if this is what they want. You could ask “do you want to talk about your baby?” If they do, you could ask them questions that you’d ask any parent, such as:
- what name they chose and why
- what the baby weighed
- if they had any hair and what colour it was
- if they had any of their parent's features.
- You might like to ask if they have photos they’d like to share, if it feels appropriate.
What not to say when a baby dies
Some comments can be unhelpful. For example, saying things like, ‘you’ll have another baby’ or ‘everything happens for a reason’ may be well meaning, but can come across as insensitive. Children are not replaceable and there is no reason why any parent should experience the loss of a child.
Most people understand grief and have lost people close to them. But the loss of a child is unique. It’s hard to imagine how this feels if you haven’t been through it. It’s OK to say that you don’t understand what someone is going through, but that you are there for them if they need you.
Try not to ask too many questions about what they are going to do or make assumptions about what they should do. For example, don’t ask them about if they are going to try again or if they will go back to work. It’s very likely that they are not ready to think about making any major life decisions yet.
If you have lost a child too, it may help both of you to share your story. Only do this if you are comfortable and when the time is right for both of you.
For more advice and support on baby loss, visit Tommy's website by clicking the button below.