Ways to Help Grieving Parents
Updated: Mar 1
Pregnancy and infant loss involve the same feelings of grief as many other types of loss, but with the added need for physical rest and healing. Whether the mother gave birth, had a D&C, or has spent the last 6 months in the NICU, she will likely be exhausted and in discomfort. Here are some excellent ways to help loved ones going through pregnancy or infant loss that approach their needs holistically.
Take them a meal
If you’re part of a larger group of people - a faith community, a club, etc. - you could even involve others and organize a meal train.
Comfort foods are great! Ask for the family’s preferences and favorite foods, as well as any dietary restrictions. Nutrient-dense foods will help to promote healing.
Help with daily tasks
Run errands, pick up groceries,
Help with childcare or school pick-up
Help with housework
Sometimes offering to help can lead to the family declining your offer. Perhaps say something like “I’d love to wash some dishes or fold some laundry while I’m here.” This keeps the family from feeling like they’re asking you to do their chores, and it also lessens their mental load of coming up with tasks for you to do.
Request a H+H Loss Box for them
We are here to support grieving mothers and to help bring them some comfort as they grieve. Use our Contact form to request a care package.
Sit with them
Sometimes all a grieving parent needs is presence.
If you know they will be having lots of people over and helping out, you may consider arranging your visits so that they have some help scattered over a longer period of time.
They have family or other friends helping with the kids and housework, but perhaps no one has thought to sit with mom.
Remember their baby
Make a note of the baby’s due date or birthday and reach out when those dates come around. It means the world to loss moms when another person remembers their baby with them. If they have named their baby, refer to him or her by name. Let them know that you value their baby and recognize their pain. This validates the grief they are feeling.
Offer a listening ear
Some parents may not wish to talk about their loss because it is too painful. Others may be wishing someone would ask about how they’re doing and listen to them. Either way, offer a listening ear, and if they do open up to you, listen intently and without judgement.
Make or purchase them a gift in honor of their little one
One friend made me a small charm with baby booties, another friend made me a small freshwater pearl necklace that always reminds me of how little my sweet Samuel was when we lost him. Another friend gave me a charm with his name on it that I use as a Christmas ornament.
There are so many sweet options out there! See our post about ways to memorialize a baby.
Donate Paid Time Off
After I had my miscarriage, I emailed the head of Human Resources at the company I worked for and requested to use my bereavement leave. However, I was told that it was not a “qualifying loss” and that I needed to use my PTO and/or sick leave. I was also told that I could speak with my manager about taking some unpaid time off if I did not have enough PTO left. Thankfully, I had enough PTO to take off the week of my miscarriage and subsequent D&C. However, the response I received from my HR department felt incredibly invalidating, and I was almost embarrassed for having disclosed my loss to them in the first place.
If you know your co-worker is experiencing a loss, donating PTO can be such a kind way to show that you care and that you recognize their loss.
Attend a support group with them
Project Gabriel hosts regular support groups for pregnancy and infant loss. You can find them on Facebook and Instagram or at their website.
You can search for support groups in your area, or there are national support groups with local chapters. Some are virtual, and some are in-person.
Sometimes it can be hard to go alone, so it may be helpful to attend the support group with the grieving parent.
Remember them on Mother’s Day/Father’s Day
Especially if loss was their first experience with having children, there may not be many people in their lives who recognize their role as parent. Even a simple text to say “Happy Mother’s Day” goes a long way.
However you choose to help, just be there for your loved one. Grief is uncomfortable and messy, and there are no words you can say that will make everything all better. Be willing to sit with your friend in their grief. Be ready to get a little messy. Don’t back down from the hard moments, even when you don’t understand or feel uncomfortable. This is part of loving like Jesus.