4 ways to comfort a grieving parent [Pulse Contributor's Opinion]

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

4 ways to comfort a grieving parent

October is dedicated to honoring and remembering parents who have lost a child during pregnancy or in infancy.

Child loss can happen through still birth, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, preeclampsia and neonatal infant loss.

Auntie Jemimah experienced a stillbirth while Size 8 was a case of hypertensive diseases in pregnancy.

Former American President Ronald Reagan declared October 1988 to be Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month on October 25, 1988.

In his speech on that day, he said, “When a child loses his parents, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them.

This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world.

According to a report by UNICEF in October 2020, every 16 seconds, a stillbirth happens somewhere on the globe. This means that approximately 2 million babies are stillborn each year.

This month of October, as we honor and remember parents who have experienced pregnancy loss, it is paramount to note the words to use when comforting these parents.

Be present.

You don't have to say anything. Make yourself at home in silence. It may be sufficient to simply be physically present with the bereaved parents.

Provide unlimited assistance.

"Please let me know if there is anything else I can do. I'm available to help in any manner I can."

Avoid Triggering Phrases

Never utter anything like, "It had to be for the best," or "It is God's will." When you say this, you can't make sense of loss. These words may make parents feel as if you are downplaying their child's death.

Never assert that the child is in a better situation. This will bring little solace to bereaved parents who are in the darkest place they've ever been.

Don't overlook the importance of the parents' experience by telling your own. It's their time to mourn. Maintain your attention on them.

Don't suggest a grieving timeline. Do not discuss the stages of mourning. Grief does not follow a timeline or progress through stages in the same way that other emotions do.

Do not say that ‘it is well’. It is not well and it shall never be well.

Offer a Meal to the Bereaved Parents

The parents might not be in a position to cook and offering a meal is a simple way of saying, "Your loss is important to me, and I'm here to help."

Because everyone is different, it's impossible to predict how a mother and father would react to the loss of their child.

If you're unsure, listen to the parents' cues and inquire about their preferences. Many parents wish to talk about their pregnancy loss in order to keep the baby's memory alive.

Love and light to all women who have experienced child loss. May you get all the support you need around you to help you and your partners during your time of grief.

The foregoing is an Opinion Article submitted to Pulse Live Kenya for publication as part of the Pulse Contributors initiative.

Pulse Contributors is an initiative to highlight diverse journalistic voices. Pulse Contributors do not represent the company Pulse and contribute on their own behalf.

Should you wish to submit an Article to Pulse, do so via contributors@pulse.co.ke.

Njeri Kinuthia a freelance writer who is passionate about telling my stories about lifestyle, entertainment and current affairs. I have three years of experience in article writing and a beneficiary of Ajira Digital.

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