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Illness & Loss

How To Help A Friend Through A Stillbirth Tragedy

Written by

Erica Chidi of Loom

Photography by Photo Via Carrie Bostick Hoge

Stillbirth is one of the most challenging and devastating losses a women will ever experience. As a friend of a grieving mama, the right words can often seem impossible to find and you might feel unsure of how to provide stillbirth help and navigate the experience with them and maintain a supportive presence.

The advice I often give is: Allow her the space she needs to process her emotions and be ready to be completely present for her when she reaches out to share her stillbirth story. However, until she does, send her helpful gifts from the heart. It’s important to remember that although her baby has crossed over, after a stillbirth she will still have to move through the postpartum shift and will be healing both physically and emotionally, without the baby to bond with, therefore gifts that promote healing in body are an ideal fit.

Try these offerings of stillbirth help from a caring friend.

Nourishment: Simple things like grocery shopping can feel overwhelming during a grieving period, leaving healthful foods to fall to the wayside. Food and grocery delivery services like Good Eggs or Instacart or something similar might be helpful during the first few weeks and months that follow when things have started to settle and she might be back at work. Another great option is Meal Train, this website organizes friends around personally delivering meals to a friend in need.

Bodywork: An in-home session would be best. After a stillbirth, a women still feels the hormonal and physiological effects of labor, so gentle, restorative massage can be really helpful in promoting healing and bodily connection.

Flower Essences: Potent and gentle, flower essences work on equalizing vibrations in the body and can help create more balance. Wholehearted by Alexis Smart is a wonderfully supportive blend.

Aromatherapy: Essential oils have the ability to help balance hormones, shift emotional states, and ease someone through times of transition when used regularly. Packed with lavender, sandalwood, and clary sage, Hope Gillerman’s Stress Remedy blend is incredibly soothing and promotes deep breathing and equanimity.

Crystal Therapy: Rose quartz is the crystal of unconditional love and can help counteract the stress that builds up during the grief process. Amethyst also provides stress relief, relieves emotional despair and can help with insomnia. Blue lace agate, another calming stone, enables free expression of thoughts and feelings. Write a note and encourage her to keep the crystals by her beside, under her pillow, or use them in a bath.

A Few Helpful Books, For When She’s Ready:
A Silent Sorrow: Pregnancy Loss—Guidance and Support for You and Your Family
Empty Cradle, Broken Heart, Revised Edition: Surviving the Death of Your Baby
Spirit Babies: How To Communicate With The Child You’re Meant To Have
& see more book recommendations here.

Author Erica Chidi is a doula, lactation counselor, chef, and co-founder of Loom.

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