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How do you console a woman who has just lost a child?

My friend just had a baby... and he was stillborn. She's completely clammed up, like there's nothing inside her at all. All I can do is cry for her. I can't imagine her resentment of the other women in labor and delivery that went into the delivery room and got to take home their baby. All she got to do was hold him once and say goodbye. How do I help her through this? And how do I stop from feeling guilty over having a happy, healthy, ALIVE son? =(

 
MarlyeGirl

Asked by MarlyeGirl at 2:14 AM on Nov. 20, 2008 in Relationships

Level 2 (5 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (18)
  • I agree with the PPs. There is nothing that can fix this. I lost a daughter 5 years at 36 weeks. She was stillborn due to gestational diabetes. It is such a difficult situation. The best thing that people did for us was to just be there when we were ready. My parents, inlaws and BIL/SIL all put the baby stuff up for me so that we didn't have to do it when I came home from the hospital. Friends brought over food as well so that I didn't have to cook. Dh and I read the Bible together and prayed together. I read the book of Job while in the hospital to remind myself that if Job could get through it so could I. It took me a year before I was in a decent emotional place. I have changed a lot over the past 5 years.
    Just cry with her and listen IF she wants to talk.
    mcginnisc

    Answer by mcginnisc at 8:02 AM on Nov. 20, 2008

  • All you can do is listen when she wants to talk, and hold her when she wants to cry. I am so sorry for her, I could not imagine what that must feel like.

    Don't feel guilty about your boy honey, but just try to understand when she may not come around right away after he is born.
    CarolynBarnett

    Answer by CarolynBarnett at 2:15 AM on Nov. 20, 2008

  • I've been exactly were you are. It's been over two years and she's a different person now. Kind of sad and keeps to herself. She and her husband are now divorced. We all tried to console her and get her to talk to us. There is no loss in the world like the loss of a child and the only thing you can do for her is to be where she needs you to be and do what she needs you to do. Everyone is different. She may prefer to be alone right now? It also might be hard for her to be around you, since you DO have a healthy baby....try not to take that personally. She will eventually come out of the fog and saddness....just let her know that you are always there for her. Call her once a day, even if she doesn't answer, and let her know you'll help with anything. Good Luck and my sympathies.
    Raegy

    Answer by Raegy at 2:26 AM on Nov. 20, 2008

  • Don't know if this would help, but in the bible when Job had lost everything, including all of his children, his friends just sat with him and cried for 10 days straight. I don't think there are words. Look at your child? Taken tomarrow, what words are there to console that hurt? There just isn't. Just be there for her, cry with her, and when she is ready to open up and talk, listen. Don't try to fix it, because you simply can't.
    daughteroftruth

    Answer by daughteroftruth at 2:45 AM on Nov. 20, 2008

  • That's so sad...you are both in my thoughts and prayers : )...I agree...listen when she talks & hug her when she cries. There is nothing you can do to bring her little baby back, but there are things you can do to help her cope. However if she won't tell you what would make her feel better (maybe she's too sad to know) then just keep reminding her that you want to help & if she needs any support to let you know. Don't feel bad about having a healthy baby, she shouldn't resent you for that either...if it seems that way, its probably because when she looks at your baby she wonders why her baby is gone. Most importantly, be open with her. Tell her your feelings about feeling guilty. My sympathy to both of you and good luck. Things usually get better with time, if they don't maybe she needs counseling.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:49 AM on Nov. 20, 2008

  • What's so bad about it... she was full term... it was a happy trip going into the hospital. The baby couldn't take the labor. He died minutes before he came out. I think she blames herself... like, if she had pushed harder or tried harder he'd be here......
    MarlyeGirl

    Answer by MarlyeGirl at 3:03 AM on Nov. 20, 2008

  • I had a stillborn almost 11 years ago and all I can tell you is to try as hard as you can to get her back out in to the world as soon as she gets a little hold on her emotions. I couldn't face people, I stopped trying and ended up losing what few friends I had. They didn't have the patience to wait on me I guess, and I realized a real friend wouldn't have let me push them away (I didn't say anything mean or hurtful just wasn't able to reach out to them). So... my advice is, to be there for her, to never tell her that she'll get over it, that she's young, can have more babies, it's God's will, something must've been wrong, it's nature's way of taking care of it". Those are all hurtful to families that have lost a baby whether it be miscarriage or stillbirth. Continued........
    lisa_ann_p

    Answer by lisa_ann_p at 6:11 AM on Nov. 20, 2008

  • Call her, show up even if she doesn't feel like company, offer to sit and watch tv, or sit and stare at the walls if that's all she's up for. She will have a hard time seeing a baby, baby toys, anything to do with a baby but she will have to, can't hide from it. I tried hiding from the world and everyone in it for about a year and it didn't work, only made life harder once I was forced back out in to the world
    lisa_ann_p

    Answer by lisa_ann_p at 6:11 AM on Nov. 20, 2008

  • You can't... be there for her both emotionally should she want to talk and physically by helping with other children, housework and things like that. There is nothing you can say or do to make her feel better but you can be a good friend to her and she will see that in time.

    Forget-me-not

    Answer by Forget-me-not at 6:50 AM on Nov. 20, 2008

  • You can't do anything, you can't fix this. If you try then it may be more hurtful for the both of you. My brother died when I was 12 and I saw how my parents grieved. The loss of a child is the most painful experience you could ever go through, it doesn't feel natural to have your child die before you do. I also lost a child, in a different way. If I am being honest it was difficult when I saw women with their healthy infants. It wasn't that I was mad at them or jealous that they had their baby - it just reminded me that I didn't have MY daughter. In time she will slowly start to get up and start to live again. It may take a long time but we do get through it. What you can do is call and say hello. Don't have pity dripping in your voice. Fake it if you have to. Listen to her. You don't have to say anything.
    frogdawg

    Answer by frogdawg at 7:55 AM on Nov. 20, 2008