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Advice on how to support sibling through stillbirth

(9 Posts)
Shadow1986 Sat 16-Apr-16 22:40:02

Wondering if anyone can offer any advice. My sibling and their partner are currently going through the devastation of a stillbirth.

I know there's nothing I can do to make them feel any better, but has anyone got any practical ideas of anything I could do for them?

What makes it worse is that I'm pregnant myself, we were close in stages.

Thank you.

caza25 Sat 16-Apr-16 23:01:35

This is really difficult. Me and my sister were pregnant at the same time, there was only a few weeks difference. I sadly had a misccariage. I was heartbroken but no one really acknowledged it. No one ever mentioned it they just kept talking about my sister and her baby. No one else asked how was I feeling, people kept asking me how is my sister feeling and how is she doing. All I wanted was for people to acknowledge that I had lost a baby and that this was hard on me. I just wanted someone to ask how I was feeling and for someone to listen to me. It is such a lonely experience and I found the general reaction is don't mention it because you don't want to upset them. But that make it worst. I think you should ask your sister what she wants as everyone is difficult. In the first instance she may not want to talk about it because she is hurt and hurt. But it may take time you her to want to talk. I have just read a book on surviving a misccariage and there was a chapter on supporting people through it. Sorry for your sister lost and all the best for your new arrival.

Shadow1986 Sat 16-Apr-16 23:08:51

I want to make sure that doesn't happen, I want their baby to be talked about and remembered. I think they will name the baby. Would it be nice once I know to get them something with the name on (not sure what?) a necklace perhaps? Any ideas on anything like that?

I've already called twice despite not knowing what to say. I can imagine a lot of people won't call for that reason so I'm trying my hardest to keep in touch and not go silent on them, and will make sure I keep doing that.

I haven't posted a great deal about my pregnancy on social media but even more conscious now not too as it would be incredibly insensitive.

Just don't know what else I can do.

Shadow1986 Sat 16-Apr-16 23:09:20

Oh and thank you Caza25 for your reply and well wishes.

SpanielFace Sat 16-Apr-16 23:17:29

Firstly, I'm so sorry for your sister. I lost a little boy, Alex, at 21 weeks in 2014, so have some idea, although everyone will be different. The best thing I found that people could do was to talk about him. Ask me his name, what he looked like. They may have photos, she may even want you to see him or her. Please look at them and admire his/her perfect little face, like you would any other baby. Practically speaking, bringing around food, hot meals, help with childcare for any older children, or even just someone to be a listening ear - those things all helped.
And then continue to talk about him/her, remember his name, his birthday, don't pretend it never happened, even if you feel awkward. The worst thing for me was the fact that people just wanted to pretend he had never existed. It took me well over a year to start to feel at peace with my loss, it's the hardest thing I've ever been through, and there isn't a day goes by when I don't think about him and what he would be like now. flowers to you and your family.

Mrsmulder Sat 16-Apr-16 23:27:56

So sorry for your siblings loss op. My first son was stillborn and it was without doubt the worst thing I have ever gone through in my life. I think from your point of view things you could do is listen to them, take time to hear about their baby and remember their baby. Allow them to grieve and give them space if the need it but don't stay away so give notice that you are popping round to give them chance to make excuses if they are not feeling up to it. Sorry if I am waffling, I am trying to think of the things I appreciated and things I didn't.

Please make sure you don't complain about pregnancy aches and pains etc and allow your sibling and partner to mention your baby if they are feeling up to it at the time. I struggled for a long time with other peoples babies but didn't want to avoid, I just knew when I could handle something and when I couldn't.

Practically you could offer to make tea or do the shopping if they are not up to going out? Buy a little teddy for the baby? And/ Or a memory box? My family all chipped in to buy ds a lovely, personalised wooden memory box to store all his things in. I also found SANDS (the stillborn and neonatal death charity) a godsend. They had groups where I could talk to people who had gone through similar and would offer one to one visits too. Hope this helps, most importantly, just be there for them.

caza25 Sat 16-Apr-16 23:30:31

You could maybe get a locket for her to put a photo in or something as simple as a photo frame.

Spaniel face I am sorry for your lost, it is really hard. Alex is a lovely name.

BelleEtoile Sun 17-Apr-16 23:02:19

Hi OP!
I'm sorry about your sister. I'm a few months down the same horrible road. Unfortunately many people who I hoped would rally around didn't (they were probably too shocked / afraid of what happened) and left us to our own devices so please don't do that.

On a practical level make sure they have lots and lots of easy/freezer meals - we ended up eating out/lots of takeaways as cooking was the last thing on my mind. Also laundry and any other basic household chores done regularly. Your sister is going to go through a whole range of emotions (sadness, anger, jealousy...) but try bear with her.

If she's taking maternity leave maybe you or her friends might take her out of the house for a walk or a day trip somewhere when she is ready to go out. Oh and if she doesn't want to do anything leave her be. She needs some alone time too - that's ok.

I suppose most importantly don't forget her baby. Don't be afraid to tall about him or her. Don't be afraid to ask for photos, they are the only ones she'll ever have of her baby.

If you want to get her something maybe a photo frame. I'm not sure about jewellery, it's a very personal thing and your sister might like to pick out something herself.

I'm so sorry your sister and family have to go through this but remember to look after yourself and little one too. x

Shadow1986 Tue 19-Apr-16 22:00:34

Thank you all so much for your messages and so sorry for those who have also gone through losses.

A lot of the practical things are hard seeing as we live quite far away from each other but really appreciate all the ideas.

I like the photo frame idea, that's something I can definitely do.

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