Today is October 15, Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day. I am so honored to bring Sarah Philpott to you today. Sarah is more than a friend to our baby loss community. She is the author of Loved Baby: 31 Devotions Helping You Grieve & Cherish Your Child After Pregnancy Loss, as well as the founder of the Facebook support group, Loved Baby. I hope you’ll find much comfort in her words today. Later this week, I’ll be reviewing her book, and Sarah kindly has offered a giveaway for one of our readers here! Keep posted later this week for your chance to win her book, Loved Baby!
Tonya brought boxes and boxes of Chinese food, Leighann brought a dozen hot, still-gooey, straight out of the oven cookies, Amber brought the most delectable chocolate cupcakes I have ever eaten (& offered me her uterus), Chrissi brought a beautiful flower for me to plant and Mary sent me the most heartfelt letter via email because she was hundreds of miles away.
I didn’t want them in my house. I thought I wanted to be alone. But like good girlfriends do, in they pushed. There I sat with my eyes swollen and my stomach contracting with pain. Their eyes were soaked with tears, too. They hugged me & loved on me & then departed. Words were sparse but love was abounding. I needed them.
My husband cried. He listened. He pulled me close to his chest and wrapped his arms around my body. He fielded phone calls and told people I didn’t want to talk. He protected me. He told the sweet people at my church not to mention anything to me in a public setting. She’s just not ready to talk. Private yes, public no. Please pray. He told me how much they cared. He took me to the doctor. He made sure I ate. He let me mourn. He mourned. I needed him.
My brother called. Every day. He left messages. He sent texts. I’m just calling to check on you, Sis. I needed him.
My mom, dad, father-in law, and mother-in law each offered to babysit my son. They took care of him while I layed beside the Kleenex box in my bed. I needed them.
The strangers on the internet understood. The ones in the support groups and chat rooms were brutally honest. The bloggers who wrote about their losses gave hope. I needed them.
My Professor at University nodded her head and said I’m sorry with her gentle glance when I entered class for the first time after my loss. I needed her.
My girlfriend’s husbands hugged me. They squeezed a bit harder when I placed my head on their warm shoulders. They didn’t utter a word, but I knew they cared. They told my husband they loved him. They asked my husband if he needed to talk. We needed them.
My doctor and the nurses at the office hugged me. Their cheeks were landing grounds for tears. One nurse sent me a text the next day telling me she was thinking about me. I needed them.
My best friend forced me to go on a weekend getaway. Just the two of us. It wasn’t fancy. Just a hotel with a pool. We were the oldest people slipping down the waterside. She even brought a book to read. She hates to read. We laughed we giggled. She asked how I was doing. I needed her.
I need you to know that you can’t take away the pain. Tears will still pour from our eyes & our hearts will still ache. But I need you to know that we need your love.
Simply showing up means more than you’ll ever know.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; Mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15).
Ideas for Offering Support to Someone Who Has Experienced Pregnancy Loss
- Say I’m sorry
- Send a letter, email, or text expressing your sincere condolences
- Don’t bring it up in a public place. You can nod, whisper I’m so sorry, or gently squeeze our hands, but please don’t ask us about our loss right before the company business meeting. Talk to us in a private place.
- Respect us if we don’t want to talk
- Listen if we do want to talk
- Let us grieve
- Understand this is the loss of a specific child. We are mourning.
- Drop off food
- Offer to babysit our other children. Ask us twice so we know you are serious, but don’t force us if we say no.
- Gift a book such as, Loved Baby: 31 Devotions Helping You Grieve & Cherish Your Child After Pregnancy Loss
- Educate yourself: Miscarriage Resources & Links
- Ask us if we need anything from the store. There are physical side effects to pregnancy loss
- Gift the children’s book, Love You Forever. The story was written to commemorate the author’s unborn child.
- Gift a beautiful token of jewelry that serves as a remembrance such as this LOVED bracelet.
- Give a Christmas ornament or some other token of appreciation.
- Ask our partner if he needs to talk. Listen.
- Invite us to dinner or coffee the weeks after our loss. Invite us to talk. Listen.
- Choose your words carefully. Read What Not To Say To Someone Who Had a Miscarriage
- Be willing to talk to us a year later.
- Invite your loved one to join a support group such as, the Loved Baby group.
- Understand that you can’t fix it, but you can love on us.
Sarah Philpott is a wife, stay-at-home mama and author. She lives on a beautiful farm where she rocks boots or flip flops most days, but loves a good pair of stilettos. She loves spending days at the river, reading, cooking, eating, gardening, acting in community theater, studying about God and organizing. (Though she admits her home rarely looks like it!) She is a former teacher with Ph.D from the University of Tennessee, which she uses to research and write.
In between the births of her children, she suffered two miscarriages. She has paired her heart for those enduring pregnancy loss with her passion for research, and has created Loved Baby: 31 Devotions Helping You Grieve & Cherish Your Child After Pregnancy Loss, available at retailers such as Amazon & Barnes and Noble.