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Next door neighbours newborn has died - What do I do wrt card etc ??

(18 Posts)
TheOriginalNutcracker Sun 17-Jul-11 12:26:44

No experience of this at all so apologies if I say the wrong thing.

My neighbour had her baby at home (unplanned) early hours of sat morning but became ill upon arrival at hospital and her life support was switched off this morning.

I only know all of this because the dad has been outside on his phone to various people and I couldn't not hear.

We are not cloe, just chat in passing now and then and my kids play with theirs. I had a congratulations card all ready for them which obviously i won't send, but should i get a condolence one and if so shall I wait for them to actually tell me ? I don't want them to think I was earwigging.

I have told my dc, as they were constantly asking their dc if their mum had had the baby yet.

Absolutly gutted for them, but unsure what the right thing is to do. I don't know if they named her or not.

herewegoloopyloo Sun 17-Jul-11 12:33:24

I have not been in their position and I can imagine few things more awful. I would say that a card would be appreciated. From my experience with bereavement (which has not thankfully been with baby or child), people not saying anything because they don't know what to say feels worse than people not saying the 'perfect' thing. There will be nothing you can say that will make it better so all you can do is send your condolences and offer support, even if just to let them know you are thinking of them. I don't think you shoudl be too concerned re 'earwigging' - they will be aware that news spreads and am sure would not want to have to tell everyone individually.

LoveBeingAbleToNamechange Sun 17-Jul-11 12:35:58

Could you maybe offer to look after the kids if they need it?

TheOriginalNutcracker Sun 17-Jul-11 12:39:43

Ok, thank you. If i see them I will of course offer my condolences personally. I did see the dad outside earlier but he was on the phone.

OohMatron Sun 17-Jul-11 12:40:08

My advice would be to send a congratulations card and condolence card. When my BIL & his DW lost their twins they so wanted congratulations cards too.

I would post them through with a note offering to have their kids for tea maybe.

TheOriginalNutcracker Sun 17-Jul-11 12:41:55

I did think of that namechange and I will offer but they aren't there atm, I think they may be stopping with relatives. They have a big family so there won't be any shortage of people to help.

TheOriginalNutcracker Sun 17-Jul-11 12:43:34

Ohhmatron - that did cross my mind, but I wasn't sure if that was appropriate.

It is just so awful. Last week I was sat chatting with their kids about names and if they were excited and now this. Life is so cruel sometimes.

BluddyMoFo Sun 17-Jul-11 12:43:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheOriginalNutcracker Sun 17-Jul-11 12:46:57

I am not sure I could bring myself to send a congrats card tbh, not unless I knew that's what they wanted.

mumblechum1 Sun 17-Jul-11 12:47:56

Definitely don't send a congratulations card.

We lost our ds1 when he was 7 and it was comforting to receive cards, particularly since we'd only moved a few months previously so didn't know many people.

Perhaps you could pop a "thinking of you" card to say that you're there to help if they need childminding or whatever.

TheOriginalNutcracker Sun 17-Jul-11 12:57:17

Sorry you have experience of this Mumble.

I will certainly offer to have the kids over etc, especially with the school holidays coming up, and I will only send the condolence card I think.

As far as I know, there is to be some sort of inquiry as something went wrong somewhere I think, so I am assuming the funeral will be delayed ?

I shan't go to the funeral unless asked as I feel that is for family and close friends only. I shall ask if they'd like flowers or a donation to a charity though, but obvously not right now.

StrikeUpTheBand Sun 17-Jul-11 13:03:01

"Absolutly gutted for them, but unsure what the right thing is to do. I don't know if they named her or not."

I hope you don't take offence, but please, whatever you do, don't ask them if they named her. This is a baby you are talking about - they will have named her, even if early. I was astounded at how many people asked me this question when my DS was stillborn (they also asked if I had to give birth to him and if I had to have a funeral hmm).

People not knowing what to say or do is understandable - what upsets bereaved mothers is usually people who say nothing and cross the street to avoid you. You are in a difficult position, having overheard rather than been told, but I would maybe say something along with sorry, couldn't help but overhear and that you are sorry. Maybe explain that whilst you don't want to intrude on their grief, you just wanted to let them know how sorry you are. If they seem more open to conversation then let them talk about their baby, name, weight etc. If they seem to want to stop talking then perhaps just offer them any help you might be able to offer and leave them to it.

Often, it is not the first few weeks that are hard, but the months after this as people 'forget' and lose interest, or assume they will be 'over it'. This is something that will affect them all forever. Don't be afraid to say their baby's name - they will want people to recognise that this was a little person who existed and is and was a part of the family. Don't think that by mentioning it you will 'remind' them and make them sad...their baby will be on their mind whether you mention them or not.

You sound like a lovely caring neighbour and just knowing you care will help.

StrikeUpTheBand Sun 17-Jul-11 13:11:10

PS. I agree with you...no congratulations card IMO, but please remember that they will still feel lots of pride about their baby and will probably have cuddled, dressed her and taken photographs. I will never get over my midwife's reaction to my baby's photos (she had asked to see them). You probably won't be asked but if they want to show you photos then IME the best thing to do is to admire their baby, try to genuinely think of nice things to say about the baby (that are true) and try not to appear shocked or recoil in any way as this is very hurtful, just as if someone comments negatively about your living baby. While I am sure you are a lovely kind person I am just saying this to forwarn you so you can consider this possibility.

TheOriginalNutcracker Sun 17-Jul-11 13:17:11

Thank you both.

I know they will have named her, not sure what I meant when I put that tbh. Think I am rambling a bit sorry. I was planning to ask what they had called her when I speak to them, maybe thats what I meant.

They seem to have alot of relatives there at the moment so I am not going to go and speak to them today but will do at some point over the next few days.

xalala Sun 17-Jul-11 14:15:19

Definitely send a card. We brought home a surviving triplet, most of the cards we received ignored the other two. Personally I treasure most the ones that recognise that there were meant to be three of them.

And like PP says, saying something (anything) is infinitely better than saying nothing.

janedoe25 Mon 18-Jul-11 02:23:28

Send a card, maybe not a condolence card or a congratulations card. My dd was stillborn 5 months ago and i treasure the thinking of you cards sent to us, especially the ones where people mentioned our dd by name.

ninedragons Mon 18-Jul-11 05:01:10

Set a reminder in your Outlook for the baby's birthday next year. It will be an extremely difficult day for the family, and a small gesture like flowers will mean a lot.

My aunt lost my cousin many years ago but absolutely loves that people still remember her birthday.

TheOriginalNutcracker Mon 18-Jul-11 17:25:54

I like that idea Jane, will def look for a thinking of you card.

I have spoken to the mum today. She is being so so strong for her other kids and told us everything that happened. There are huge questions to be answered about the care that the baby recieved and they have asked if I will type up the notes that they have written down for their complaint, which of course I will do.

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