How to help a bereaved parent

We asked bereaved parents what helped them and what didn’t in the hope that greater understanding would lead to more support from family and friends.

What can I do?

 “My cousins son was stillborn, she said people acknowledging him and speaking his name helps, people allowing her to talk about him without feeling uncomfortable. As a family we all talk about him, we acknowledge his birthday etc, he’s part of our family even though he’s not here. Xx” Kathryn Potter O’Leary

“Hearing of lots of love being sent our way through cards etc but not being bombarded with people. A bit of space gave us time to decide how we felt /were doing before we had to start answering that question in person. I turned my Facebook off because I could tell I was being irrational and likely to cause more upset if I saw people complaining about sleepless nights with their babies. I’m fine with Facebook now, and even complain about sleepless nights with my son now! But I wasn’t ready for a good 3 months to accept that others lives were untouched by these depths of misery.” Bex Griffiths

“My daughter Brogan was born sleeping at 39 weeks in June 2011, My partner was my rock! He made sure my other children got fed and got to school as I just couldn’t function! My mum who was there every second I needed her. But mostly just having someone who didn’t try and make me “feel better” my best friend would just sit with me no words were needed and that was what got me through! Not having to keep telling people how I feel x” Suzanne Hair

 “Friends / family / people should not avoid talking about your baby, that hurts more when they act like your baby didn’t exist. They should not say time is a healer, it isn’t . Do not listen to people who think “you must be Over it by now” you will never get over itYou will have better days and take one day at a time. The pain never goes away, you just learn to live with it and yes you will be a different person, you lost a child . Never have regrets about those last moments with your baby. Xx” Catherine Campbell

What not to say

“The worst comments I heard were the ones that began with “at least”, at least he didn’t suffer, for example, or at least you can try again, these comments are so painful. Nothing can ever replace your child, ever.” Amy Price

“People need to understand that even though our angels didn’t live in the world, they still lived inside us for however many weeks. I lost my Keira at 37 and a half weeks pregnant and sometimes felt like I didn’t have the right to grieve because of some comments made. Be kind to yourselves, angel mummies and daddies”  Kelly Owen