Going to see someone whose baby died. Advice on what to take/do/say please

(19 Posts)
reddaisy Mon 01-Oct-12 09:12:40

An ex colleagues newborn baby died recently and they are waiting for a postmortem result. She has asked me to visit her and I am going to pop over today. We are not very close so I think she has asked me to come over so she can keep busy.

Should I take anything with me? Should I be led by her about whether she wants to talk about her DD? But I don't want to pretend nothing has happened. Is there anything I should avoid saying/doing? My two young DC will be with me and her DS will be there I assume so they can all have a little play.

I wish I could make everything better for her.

PickledFanjoCat Mon 01-Oct-12 09:14:43

My friend found people avoided her because they just didn't know what to say, don't struggle to find the "right words" just go and say your sorry and give her a hug.

PickledFanjoCat Mon 01-Oct-12 09:17:49

Food will be good as well...

reddaisy Mon 01-Oct-12 09:21:25

Thanks Pickled. It sounds strange but we really barely know each other and I would only have previously said a quick hello if we bumped into each other in town. So I have never hugged her before! But if she wants me to visit then I feel that of the distraction helps even a little then it is the least I can do.

PickledFanjoCat Mon 01-Oct-12 09:23:00

Ah I see, do what comes naturally then.

My friend found people avoided her not out of unkindness but what as they didn't know what to say if you see what I mean which she found upsetting.

It's really good of you to go around.

Hopefully you will get some more advice too.

reddaisy Mon 01-Oct-12 09:28:29

I do know a little of what your friend means. My DF died suddenly when I was a child and some people never mentioned him again! It was like he hadn't existed and it infuriated me. If I had time I would have made them a meal but posh biscuits and a colouring book for her DS might have to do. I am sorry for your friends loss too. It is so so sad.

Ohhelpohnoitsa Mon 01-Oct-12 09:30:57

a cooked meal like a big curry or lasagne would be nice. a rose or holly tree - thats what i took friend when sister died. good luck.

NeDeLaMer Mon 01-Oct-12 09:32:59

I would take some muffins or something like that (not a cake as it feels a bit 'celebratory') & depending on how old the kids are, some sweets/something to play with (distraction more than anything).

I would just give her a big hug & say it's good to see you, thank you for inviting me over.

Then when you have the kids sorted, say how sorry you are about 'baby's name' (if you know it or 'your daughter' if you don't) & then it really depends on what she is like/what your relationship is like - but I would say something like, 'I wish I could take this pain away from you and make everything right again, but I can't - please do what's right for you, I'd like to hear all about 'baby's name' but if you would rather not talk about her today, that's OK too, I'm here anytime you would like to talk about her <another big hug>.

IME (I haven't lost a child myself, but I have lost other family members) it is worse when people avoid the topic like the plague - it sometimes makes you feel like people think you should be over it or they have forgotten about it...

OTOH I know some people would rather not talk about it.

This way I feel brings it up, but gives her the option of talking about her DD or not.

I'll be thinking of her too.

reddaisy Mon 01-Oct-12 09:35:16

Thanks Ohhelp. I will do a cooked meal if I visit again as I haven't had enough notice of this visit to do anything. The tree idea is great too, something that lasts to remind them of their daughter.

reddaisy Mon 01-Oct-12 09:39:44

Thanks for the excellent advice NeDe. I think she is putting on a brave front at the moment.

PickledFanjoCat Mon 01-Oct-12 09:42:28

In a funny way she might find it easier to open up to you than family, as she dosent have to worry about your grief as well, it can be all about her. With parents husband etc they are all grieving too.

reddaisy Mon 01-Oct-12 09:47:43

That is true. I hadn't thought of that.

MsGee Mon 01-Oct-12 09:48:25

I lost a child in pregnancy so not at all the same but a very lovely friend sent me chocolates and some chick lit easy read books (with storylines vetted). It was the perfect gift as it kept my mind busy as I couldn't sleep very well, without me actually having to think. Something for her DS would also be good, my DD was unaware of what happened but still very affected by it all.

Definitely mention it - even if you say I am so sorry about <name> or your daughter. You can then take her cue as to whether she clams up or wants to talk. Do not try to make it better or say something cheery. I hated that - (I'd have people say - oh well you can have another, erm no, then they would say oh well, you have a lovely DD anyway...). Sometimes its just better to say that its shitty and that its horrible.

Hope it all goes ok, will be thinking of you all.

reddaisy Mon 01-Oct-12 09:54:01

Yes saying oh well you can have another is definitely not the right thing to say! No parent wants a replacement, they want that lost baby back. I am sorry for your loss too MsGee. My friends DS was old enough to know he was having a baby sister so I don't know how well he is coping either.

My 1st dd died when I was 5 months pregnant. All I wanted was for somebody to acknowledge her, say her name and tell me it was ok to be so sad about losing her.

It just felt like within 2weeks everybody had forgotten and expected me to be over it and back to "normal"

Great suggestions below about a hug, even if you don't know her that well. I found and still find it easier to talk to someone distanced from me about my dd. also asking if she'd like to tell you about her dd, show you photos etc and also saying she doesn't have to if she doesn't feel up to it.

Anything you take her she will be grateful for. Just for the fact that you've gone round and shown you care.

Well done you for going. Most people don't for fear of not knowing what to do or say and thats the worst thing of all sad

claraschu Mon 01-Oct-12 10:02:32

Having lost other family members, the best thing is having people call or ask me to go out for a walk, and let me know they care and aren't avoiding me because I'm unhappy. I think just keep making an effort to show her you like her and care about her.

chipmonkey Mon 01-Oct-12 10:39:08

Say the baby's name. If you don't know what she called her, ask.
Definitely food, we found it hard to cook after dd died.
I know you probably wouldn't but don't say "At least you have ds" because when you lose a child, in the initial stages, you could have ten other children and it doesn't make a dent in the grief.
Also don't say "It wasn't meant to be" Sorry, I know you are probably more savvy but a lot of people said things like that to me!
Give her your mobile number and tell her to call any time. Also remember that the grief doesn't go away and that she may still need a friend, 3, 6, 12 months down the line. Often people seem to think you will be "getting over it" by then.

Too late in replying now, but I second going out for a walk - if she wants to talk then it's easier sometimes when you're out and about, and silence whilst walking is never awkward. If you think you might see her again, perhaps you could take her DS for a bit of an outing if they all got on ok......

I hope it went ok for you both.

Pictureperfect Fri 12-Oct-12 23:36:53

You have done the best thing possible- simply going to see her. When my sister was stillborn people would cross over the road so not to have to talk to her, when a lady I know lost her 4 day old daughter over 50% of her business clients disappeared over night.

This is a great guide on how to help http://www.achildofmine.co.uk/How-you-can-help-grieving-parents/I83.htm

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