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Supporting a grieving parent – a guide for friends, family and work colleagues

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Honestly, if I have never gone through a baby loss, I myself wouldn’t know what to say and would probably fit into that group of saying very, very stupid dumb things. It is a very difficult situation and I know that many people are scared that they would hurt the parent even more by asking or talking. I understand that many people would not even want to imagine how it is because who would? It is incredibly painful even as a thought. However, if you would like to help your friend, family member or a colleague from work, you need to try to imagine yourself in their shoes and think about what would help you. Now, I must say, people are different and not all people will react the same or want the same stuff. Some people will want to talk about it, some will not, some people will want to take photos of their passed babies, some will not be able to handle it. People are different, it is your responsibility to recognize which is the best approach. However, I believe there are some things that might not help directly, because if it is not their baby brought back to life, nothing can help them so much but will be remembered nicely and it might even seem that you are hurting them, but it will be very soothing for their soul.

Send flowers with empathetic notes

Avoid saying something just to say, without thinking. Avoid mentioning the God or religion if they are not much into it and you know, follow the common sense. I have received a nice letter with simply summing up that they cannot imagine the pain I am going through and that they believe my Aurora is there somewhere, happy that I was her mom even for a bit. That note made me smile a bit in all that sorrow.

Send baby loss(miscarriage) packages

We know very much about pregnancy packages received from all around, but what about baby loss packages? Yes, it is a thing and yes you should do it. You have no idea of what kind of value and how heart-healing it will be. Even though they might cry over it, in that period tears are quite normal over almost anything. I advise to be very personal on it and to think about what that person or couple like. In general, some things that are suitable for these packages are their favourite book writer, lots of chocolate, some very comfy pajama or another piece of clothing, some calming tea like chamomile, a nice diary or a notebook, gift vouchers for spa or yoga. I loved reading Harry Potter books, I loved jumping out from this reality into some other. I definitely ate tons of chocolate and if I could have the whole Ferrero production directly delivered to my home doors would be perfect. The most useful present I got after the baby loss was a very comfy, fluffy pajama from my mother. Even though I never wore pajamas before, I started wearing this one. Two weeks after, visiting one museum I stumbled upon one small notebook with pink and blue strips called Think Of Me, since I saw and bought I am writing to her every time I have a need to.

Bring food or cook for them

If they would want to stay alone, which might be the case, order their favourite food online to their address at their lunchtime. Send them some food packages with some wine inside. Go grocery shopping for them. In those moments, shortly after baby loss, their minds are empty and their souls are heavy. But their bellies get empty too, so take care of that, because they will not be aware of it.

Clean their house

Yes. Clean it, otherwise in a random visit after two weeks you might find them with a pile of trash, unusable kitchen, dust turned into a new life and zero clean clothes. These are not things they will want to do in first several weeks. Hire them someone to help them out if you are unable.

Invite them for a walk, take them outside to the nature

Mountains, nature parks and fresh air have a tremendous healing effect. The sound of the river, the far distanced sight of the mountains, the fresh breeze. Borrow them keys of your cottage. Bring nature closer to them, they need it.

Call up on them to check if they need something

If you feel like they are not much into personal contact, call them from time to time to see how they are, recommend them some movies. One of the ex-girlfriend of my husband shared her Netflix password with us, which I found very touching. We never used it though as he considered her bad luck, but in the end, she brought him to me…well, probably that’s about it.

Talk with them

If you feel like they are ready to talk about their pregnancy or their baby, don’t be afraid to mention their baby’s name. Someone pronouncing Aurora’s name never ever hurt me even a bit, it did move me and touched me to tears, but never hurt me. I always loved it when people asked me about her, how she was like when they wanted to see her picture when they were curious. They were acknowledging her existence and this was very important to me. They were few though!

If you are their manager or work colleague section

In a lot of countries miscarriages and baby loss have not full support from the health insurance and work leave. As their manager there are several things you can do that would help the bereaved parent a lot. If there had a miscarriage they should have the right to have the time off. Paid if the circumstances allow. If you are not the one making decisions, use your voices to bring this topic to a higher manager or even highest management, taking care and respecting all the time the privacy and confidentiality. Miscarriages are usually not recognized as a baby loss, WHICH IS WRONG! Miscarriage is a baby loss too, for a mother as well as a father. Give them the time needed to recover, and if not possible to give them the time required off, allow them to work from home. Shift them to a lighter task, take over their tasks for a while, do not over flood them with information, because they will lack focus for some time. This is one thing you have to be very much aware of. Lack of focus will follow them quite some time and they might seem disconnected from this world from time to time. Recognize when it is needed to have a coffee and chat a bit, as a human to human, not as their manager. Send them a miscarriage or baby loss package on behalf of the team/company. I have received a wonderful letter from my team, and even though I know half of the team just signed and never said a word to me personally, it still meant something.

Give them time

Their healing will be very long, life-lasting. They will not get over it with the second child. They will not ‘’be back’’ after one year. They will need all time of this world to learn how to live with this pain. Remember the dates important to them and try to honor them together every year.

Do not stay silent

Last but not least DO NOT STAY SILENT. The worst thing I have been through is silence from all those family members that asked my parents how am I but never me and never ever wrote to me or called me to ask me about her. All the silence from all those who knew but avoided saying anything when they would see me. All the silence even when I would bring up the topic, they would be so uncomfortable they would simply pretend nothing has happened. Well, there is no worse thing you can do. I have talked about silly, stupid and pretty dumb things people can say, but all that can be understood (if you don’t repeatedly keep saying it and try to enforce it as their way of spiritual enlightenment). Silence and avoiding means that you are not acknowledging what they went through. Or you simply don’t care. So, don’t consider yourself their friend or a family member anymore. They won’t show up for your second child’s baptism or celebrate your promotion. But don’t forget, it is never too late to write to them, call them and ask them about it.

[JUGO VERZIJA] Kako pomoći roditeljima koji su izgubili bebu – vodič za prijatelje, porodicu I radne kolege

Iskreno, da mi se nikad nije desio gubitak bebe, ni sama ne bih znala što da kažem i vjerojatno bih spadala medju grupu  onih ljudi koji govore vrlo, vrlo glupe stvari ne bi li ih pokušali utješiti. Situacija je vrlo je teška i znam da se mnogi ljudi plaše da bi još više mogli povrijediti roditelje pitajući ih ili razgovarajući o onom što se desilo. Razumijem da mnogi ljudi ne bi ni željeli zamisliti kako je to izgubiti dijete,jer što bi iko htio? Nevjerovatno je bolna čak sam pomisao. Ali nisu ni oni htjeli, I ako želite pomoći svom prijatelju, članu porodice ili kolegi s posla, morate pokušati zamisliti sebe u njihovim cipelama i razmisliti o tome što bi vam moglo pomoći. Moram reći da su ljudi različiti i neće svi regovati isto ili biti im ugodno sa istim stvarima. Neki će htjeti razgovarati o tome, neki neće, neki će htjeti fotografisati svoje preminule bebe, neki se neće moći nositi s tim. Ljudi su različiti, vaša je odgovornost da prepoznate koji je najbolji pristup. Međutim, vjerujem da postoje neke stvari koje možda neće biti od pomoći direktno, jer ako nije nešto što će magično vratiti njihovo dijete u život, ništa im ne može toliko pomoći, ali neke stvari će se lijepo upamtiti i možda će vam se činiti da ih možete povrijediti ali vjerujte biće to jedan od melema za dušu im.

Pošaljite cvijeće sa saosjećajnim porukama

Izbegavajte da nešto kažete čisto eto da kažete, bez razmišljanja. Izbjegavajte da spominjete Boga ili religiju ako oni nisu duboko u tom, slijedite zdrav razum. Ja sam dobila vrlo lijepo pismo sa jednostavnim rečenicama da ne mogu zamisliti bol kroz koju prolazim i da vjeruju da je moja Aurora tu negdje, sretna što sam joj bila mama čak i nakratko. Uspjelo je da me nasmije na svu tugu I slomljenost.

Pošaljite paketić za gubitak bebe (pobačaja)

Znamo jako puno o paketima za trudnice koje dobijamo sa svih strana, ali što je sa paketima za gubitak djeteta? Da, to je nešto što postoji I zove se materijalizovana saosjećajnost iliti ‘’Žao mi je’’ u maloj kutiji svega što može biti korisno ovih dana. Nemate pojma od koje će to vrijednosti biti. Iako će ih mozda rasplakati, u tom razdoblju suze su sasvim normalne na gotovo sve. Savjetujem da dobro razmislite  o tome što ta osoba ili par vole. Uopšteno, postoje neke stvari koje su pogodne za ove pakete kao npr.: knjiga njihovog omiljenog pisca, tone čokolade, neka vrlo udobna pidžama ili neki drugi udobni dio odjeće, neki umirujući čaj poput kamilice, lijep dnevnik ili spomenar, poklon bonovi za spa ili jogu . Ja sam mnogo voljela čitati Harry Potera, voljela sam pobjeći malo iz ove stvarnosti u neke druge. Definitivno sam pojela tonu čokolade i ako bih uspio cijelu Ferrerovu proizvodnju direktno dostaviti na moja kućna vrata bilo bi savršeno. Najkorisniji poklon koji sam dobila nakon gubitka bebe bila je vrlo udobna, plišana pidžama od mame. Iako nikada prije nisam nosila pidžamu, počela sam je nositi. Dve nedelje nakon posjete jednom muzeju naišla sam na jednu malu svesku sa ružičastoplavim trakama na kojoj je pisalo Misli Na Mene. Otkad sam je kupila, pišem joj svaki put kada imam potrebu.

Odnesite im hranu ili kuhajte za njih

Ako bi željeli biti sami, što bi mogao biti slučaj, naručite njihovu omiljenu hranu putem interneta na adresu im za vrijeme ručka. Pošaljite im pakete hrane s nekim vinom unutra. Skuhajte i odnesite im hranu. Otiđite u kupovinu umjesto njih. U tim trenucima, nakon gubitka beba, njihovi umovi su prazni, a duše teške. Ali i njihovi se stomaci su prazni samo toga neće biti svjesni, pomozite im.

Pomozite sa čišćenjem

Da! Očistite im stan ili kuću, jer ako ne u slučaju da navratite onako nakon dvije sedmice naći ćete ih s hrpom smeća, kuhinje prepune sudja, prašine koja je pretvorena u novi dio namještaja i hrpu prljave odjeće. Ovo nisu stvari koje će htjeti da rade u prvih nekoliko nedelja. Pošaljite im nekog da im pomogne ako vi niste u mogućnosti.

Pozovite ih u šetnju, izvedite ih u prirodu

Planine, parkovi i svježi zrak imaju ogroman ljekoviti učinak. Zvuk rijeke, daleki pogled na planine, svježi vazduh. Pozajmi im ključeve svoje vikendice ako imaš. Dovedite im prirodu bliže, potrebno im je.

Nazovite ih da provjerite treba li im nešto

 Ako se osjećate da je bolje da ih ostavite na miru trenutno, povremeno ih nazovite da vidite kako su, preporučite im neke filmove. Bivša devojka mog muža podijelila je s nama svoju lozinku za Netflix, što mi je bilo vrlo dirljivo. Nikad ga nismo pogledali doduše, jer ju je smatrao da je lošom srećom kad god se pojavi, ali na kraju ga je dovela do mene … pa, vjerojatno to je to. 😀

Razgovarajte s njima o tome

Ako osjećate kao da su spremni razgovarati o trudnoći ili bebi, nemojte se bojati spomenuti ime bebe. Niko ko je izgovorio Aurorino ime me nikad nije nimalo povrijedio, jest me dovelo do suza, ali nikad me nije povrijedilo. Uvijek sam voljela kad su me ljudi pitali o njoj, kakva je bila, kad su željeli vidjeti njenu sliku I kada su bili radoznali o njoj. Priznavali su njeno postojanje i to mi je bilo jako važno. Nije ih bilo puno takvih doduše.

Ako ste im kolega sa posla ili šef

 U mnogim zemljama pobačaji i gubitak beba nemaju punu podršku zdravstvenog osiguranja i pravo na radno odsustvo. Kao njihov šef, možete učiniti nekoliko stvari koje će pomoći ožalošćenom roditelju mnogo. Ako je došlo do pobačaja, trebali bi imati pravo na odsutsvo. Plaćeno ako okolnosti dopuštaju. Ako niste vi oni koji donose  odluke, koristite svoje glasove da ovu temu prenesete višem menadžeru ili čak najvišem menadžmentu, vodeći računa i cijelo vrijeme poštujući privatnost i povjerljivost. Pobačaji se obično ne prepoznaju kao gubitak bebe, ŠTO JE POGREŠNO! Pobačaj je gubitak bebe, kako za majku tako i za oca. Dajte im vremena koje im je potrebno za oporavak, a ako to nije moguće osigurajte im potrebno vrijeme, dopustite im da rade kod kuće. Prebacite ih na lakši zadatak, preuzimite na neko vrijeme dio njihovog posla, nemojte ih preplaviti informacijama jer će im neko vrijeme nedostajati koncentracije. To je jedna stvar koje morate biti vrlo svesni. Nedostatak koncentracije pratit će ih prilično dugo i može se povremeno činiti kao da su odsutni. Prepoznajte kada je potrebno pozvati ih na  kafu i čavrljati, kao čovek sa čovjekom, a ne kao njihov šef. Pošaljite im paketić za pobačaj ili gubitak beba u ime tima / firme. Primila sam divno pismo od svog tima, i iako znam da je polovina tima samo potpisala i lično mi nikada nije rekla ni riječ, i potpis još uvijek nešto znači.

Dajte im vremena

Njihovo proces oporavka bit će vrlo dug, čitav život može se reći. Neće preboljeti dijete koje su izgubili s drugim djetetom. Neće se „povratiti sebi“ nakon jedne godine. Trebat će im svo vrijeme ovog svijeta da nauče kako živjeti sa ovom boli. Sjetite se važnih im datuma i pokušajte ih zajedno svake godine da im pošaljete lijepu čestitku.

Ne pravite se da se ništa nije desilo i ne ćutite

Posljednje, ali ne najmanje bitno, ne pravite se kao da se ništa nije desilo. Najgore poslije svega kroz što sam prošla je tišina od svih onih članova porodice koji su moje roditelje pitali kako sam, ali nikada mi nisu pisali ili me zvali da me pitaju o njoj. Sva tišina svih koji su znali, ali su izbjegavali bilo šta reći kada bi me ugledali. Sva tišina čak i kad bih počela da pričam o tom, a njima bi bilo tako neugodno da bi se jednostavno pretvarali da se ništa nije dogodilo. Pa, nema ništa gore od ćutnje! Pisala sam o blesavim, glupim i prilično retardiranim stvarima koje ljudi mogu reći kao utjehu, ali sve se to na kraju može razumjeti (jedino ako nisi toliko u glavu da te gluposti ponavljaš stalno I pokušaš nametnuti kao normalno). Ćutnja i izbjegavanje znače da ne priznajete kroz šta su prošli. Ili vas jednostavno nije briga. U tom slučaju, nemojte se više smatrati njihovim prijateljem ili članom porodice. Neće se pojaviti za krštenje vašeg drugog djeteta, niti slaviti sa vama vaš novi posao. Ali, ne zaboravite, nikad nije kasno da im pišete, nazovite ih i pitajte ih kako su!

One comment on “Supporting a grieving parent – a guide for friends, family and work colleagues

  1. Lusi says:

    Dear Silvana! Thank you for this post! ❤
    I have gone through almost exactly the same and I think it is very important to spread the awareness!
    I would like to get in touch with you because I am preparing one artistic project about mothers after baby loss, would be great to get in touch with you! 🙂
    Here is my contact:
    Big hug and all the best!!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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