With or Without …. What to say to a grieving mum

A lot of people have reached the dilemma of asking me if i’m alright but not being completely sure what to say when my reply is an honest no. People are in shock at the word no. I like to call it the silent bomb, with this one word people go to bits or run as fast as they can. So what should you ask a woman who’s lost her baby instead?
Here are some less silent bomb questions:
‘How did your baby die?’ – i love to talk about my Rosie, i’m still a proud mum.
‘What advice can you pass on to other pregnant women?’ – i still carried my baby for nine months and got to know every part of her growing inside of me, i can still advise others because i went through it.
‘Is it hard for you?’ – always prepare for a yes answer, instead of asking if someone grieving such a hard loss is alright this is a better alternative.
‘Could i come and see you at some point?’ – this is a great question because a lot of people will distance themselves as they don’t know what to say but guess what a grieving mum still needs friends. I still need to know that people care. Although if you were pregnant at the same time and have had a healthy baby you will more than likely get your offer rejected. Not because of you but because you have the thing that a mum to a stillborn most wants a healthy living baby. Pregnant friends will also cause a problem for a mum with a dead baby because it brings back pain to see someone’s child growing. I’m very protective over pregnant women, I want to make sure they are well and getting the right treatment and care they deserve. I always ask my mum how pregnant friends are doing. Its hard being around pregnant women and babies so I stay away from them its a sense of jealousy that they are pregnant when I wish I was still pregnant and also they are most likely to have a baby born alive. It isn’t your fault you move on in life and have happiness but respect the mum who lost their baby and let her come to you when or if she will ever be ready.
‘Can i see some pictures?’ – again i’m still a proud mum even though my baby is dead i love to show her off to people, this is what i created. Pictures are all we have left and the most amazing feeling comes across when someone asks to see Rosie because she was a real person not just a baby.
‘Are you going to have more children?’ – great question there, its the question everyone wants to know but feels horrible for asking. In most stillborn cases women get pregnant within five months of their stillborn child being born. For me this is not the right decision as i couldn’t cope with grieving and feeling joyous at the same time. I am mentally unable to cope with pregnancy right now. Also i do not trust the hospital so i wouldn’t want them dealing with another child of mine.
‘How are you coping not having those mummy things to do for your baby?’ – expect an honest answer, but its great that someone has acknowledged that you are a mum with nothing mummy to keep you occupied. I often feel lost, my arms are always empty when they should be filled with my Rosie. My body is crying out for something to nurture and the constant reminder that you are a mum with no baby is a mind bender.
‘Do you want to hear a joke?’ – yes! Grief doesn’t make you lose your sense of humour, sometimes i feel guilty for laughing and smiling because i should be sad all the time as my baby isn’t here but its so great to laugh. Its wonderful that someone wants to make you laugh and smile and its a much better gift than a sympathy card or bunch of flowers.

Speaking of sympathy cards and flowers, when someone has given birth to a dead baby they have still achieved something amazing, carrying a baby for so long, forming a human inside of you, knowing a special bond. Its something to celebrate, you made your baby, you knew and grew your baby you just lost your baby at the final hurdle. It doesn’t mean you are any less proud of the baby you grew and carried you are sad that you aren’t carrying your bundle home but there is still a massive sense of pride and achievement. So please don’t send sympathy cards and flowers send congratulations cards, congratulating the person on doing a wonderful job but acknowledging that they have a sad loss. Don’t make their home which will be their sanctuary for a few weeks miserable. A reminder of death isn’t a good thing but a reminder of achievement is a positive thing you can do for that person.
17 babies are born dead per day in the UK this is all too common and stillbirth isn’t spoken about by any midwife or antenatal nurse during pregnancy so it feels like its a taboo subject, like you can only talk about it if its happened to you and then you join the secret club like its something to be swept under the carpet. The fact is we don’t know why this happens, there is no way to know why stillbirth happens apart from research which is done by post mortem on the dead baby. I chose not to have a post mortem because i didn’t want to see my beautiful baby cut up. Those that do choose post mortem are amazing people and should be so proud of themselves for helping babies of the future survive because of the research their baby provide. We need to talk about stillbirth more because it happens so much for absolutely no reason. It isn’t a dirty little secret, it happens and we need to find a way to stop it happening.

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Here is my most treasured family portrait. My husband Andrew, me and our beautiful little Rose just after she was born. I show you my family portrait with pride and not sadness, my baby is beautiful but she was born in heaven and saw God‘s face first.

Lets have pride in our children that have died before they were born, they change the world and they change us.

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3 thoughts on “With or Without …. What to say to a grieving mum

  1. Absolutely brilliant post. I know I don’t know you personally, but you should be so proud of yourself, you are a beautiful mum with a heart that hurts, your gorgeous daughter has made you who you are today and shown you your inner strength when you feel you’ve got non, Rose is always with you, just because you can’t see the moon all the time, doesn’t mean it’s not there.. The pictures are lovely, a very special family xXx

  2. Rosie is beautiful I don’t know if this is the right thing to say but congratulations. You created a beautiful little girl and I hope in time you are able to live with the grief as I know it will never fade.

    • Thank you so much. We love to be congratulated, we did create an amazing little girl and we’re very proud of her. We hate commiserations they focus on the negativity of death but congratulations fills us with positivity and happy memories we made whilst Rosie was growing.

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