Many women “share” a pregnancy with a relative, close friend, or a community member in their neighborhood or church. Pregnancy buddies are due about the same time and share the journey together, swapping ultrasound pictures and planning to walk together, strollers in hand, to get back into shape after birth.
But what if something went wrong for your buddy? What if she went into premature labor at 5 months and the baby was too small to survive? Or if at 7 months, there was no longer a fetal heartbeat? How would you continue your pregnancy respectfully while your buddy mourns the loss of her baby?
Pregnancy loss is rare, only about 11 in every 1,000 pregnancies ends this way. But for these few women, it’s a painful loss. Meanwhile, you’re still the glowing picture of health as your pregnancy continues.
You might feel scared or worried that something similar could happen with your baby. You want to reach out to your buddy but are unsure if you should call or visit with your big belly. Here’s how to reach out to her:
What to Do
- Contact her: Don’t avoid her. Parents say their grief at pregnancy loss or stillbirth is worse when no one acknowledges their loss and pain. Do call, text, or write to her. Let her know you’re thinking about her, that you would like to see her or talk when she is ready.
- Talk about her baby: Do bring up her baby in conversation. Her son or daughter is always on her mind; what she fears is that her child is forgotten. Mention his or her name as saying the baby’s name reinforces that her child was real and is important.
- Invite her out: Do invite her to your baby shower or party. Include a personal note letting her know that she is welcome. Say you understand if she’s not up to coming or might need to leave early.
What Not to Do
- Don’t send your birth announcement without asking: She is grieving the loss of her baby; this reminds her of what she does not have. Do ask her, or ask a mutual friend, when she would like this sent to her. Let her know what it will look like coming in the mail.
- Don’t reassure her that she will have other babies: When someone precious to us dies, they cannot be replaced. She may have another child, but this one will always be special in her memory.
- Don’t forget this baby’s birthday: Next year, and in the years to come, do say, “I remembered that today was Joseph’s birthday; I wanted you to know I have not forgotten him.”