What to do When a Friend Loses a Baby: The 5 Love Languages

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A gray boxed lit up on my phone, and my heart began to race as I read the words, “I lost it”. “What?” I quickly replied. Her delayed response only confirmed the ache she must have been feeling as she wrote the words, “The baby”.

Unfortunately, I receive these messages far more than I’d like to admit and still, each time my heart shatters a little more with each one. Pregnancy and Infant Loss has never been a topic others want to discuss, but it’s a conversation I believe NEEDS to happen.

Before loss became my story, I was so naïve to the world of grief that surrounded me. So many women I knew, friends I grew up with, family members, and smiling faces that passed by all carried stories of loss, heartache, and grief, and I didn’t have a clue – or I did – and never realized the lifelong journey that accompanied that loss. I brushed off their news, in the same manner, they felt the need to brush off their grief, put on a happy face and pretended they were okay. Let me be the one to tell you, we are not okay. But along with that direct and unfortunate realization, there is something that helps the heart heal after losing a baby and/or a pregnancy: the way in which we are loved through our grief.

woman wearing infant loss tshirt that says I still have hope

Photo By: LH Photography

What to do When a Friend Loses a Baby?

Five years ago, I went into preterm labor with our twins, Grady and Ryder, at 22 weeks. Grady lived for three hours and Ryder was born sleeping. Soon after our loss, I too felt the pressure to brush off my grief and put on a brave face. It was through the acts of others and the way in which they loved me through my grief journey, even today – five years later, that I realized healing and hope happen when we are loved well.

A favorite book of mine, The Five Love Languages, focuses on the five ways in which a person feels loved and teaches a spouse tangible ways to love their other half in the way he/she feels loved. If using this model helps strengthen a marriage, why wouldn’t we apply the same practices in other relationships? Especially to those we love that are hurting after a loss.

While I receive messages from mothers sharing their stories, I receive the same amount of messages from their loved ones asking how they can help and what to do when a friend loses a baby.

Find Out Their Love Language & Love Them Well

grieving the child i never knew

WORDS OF AFFIRMATION:

  • What to do:
    • Mail a handwritten letter
    • Text scripture, quotes or uplifting messages
    • Speak their baby’s name
    • Gift them a book or journal
  • Things to say:
    • You are not alone.
    • You are loved.
    • Your story matters.
    • Your baby matters.
    • I am hurting with you.
    • I am here.
    • I admire you.
    • It’s okay to cry.
    • I love the way you honor your baby.
    • I am honoring your baby…
    • It’s okay to let it out.
    • I care about you.

QUALITY TIME

  • What to do:
    • Show up unannounced
    • Listen without offering advice
    • Plan a lunch or coffee date
    • Help them sort or pack their baby’s gifts, items, etc. (if they are ready)
    • Invite them to a local grief group

PHYSICAL TOUCH

  • What to do:
    • Hug them
    • Let them rest their head on your shoulder
    • Hold their hand
    • Schedule a massage for them
    • Invite them to a manicure or pedicure
    • Invite them to go on a walk together
    • Invite them to do yoga together
    • Sit close to them
    • Maintain eye contact with them

GIFTS

  • What to do:
    • Mail personalized gifts
    • Send or deliver gift cards to grocery stores, restaurants, maid services or delivery services
  • Gifts to Buy:
    • Birthstone Jewelry
    • Engraved Jewelry
    • Home Décor
      • Family Names Throw Pillow
      • Framed Print
      • A wave of Light Memorial Candle
  • Bereaved Mother Gift Boxes

ACTS OF SERVICE

  • What to do:
    • Make them a meal
    • Bring them coffee or tea
    • Clean their house
    • Watch their children for them
    • Take them to their appointments
    • Schedule appointments for them
    • Purchase their groceries
    • Plan the funeral or memorial service
    • Organize/pack their baby’s gifts or items (if they’re ready)
    • Create a meal train for them

Healing and Hope Happen When We are Loved Well

woman holding sympathy card from The Color Blue and Hope

Photo By: Josh & Rachel

“What is your love language?” I asked her. “It’s almost a tie between Physical Touch and Words of Affirmation,” she replied. “How have you felt loved through your loss?” “I just want to be hugged.”

We may not be able to take away the pain from our friends after their loss, but we can show up, walk with them through their grief journey, guide them towards healing, and love them well. As a friend, it is our job to simply be there in the specific ways in which they need us after their loss.

If you’re wondering what to do when a friend loses a baby, this week, I encourage you to reach out to them and remind her, she is not alone. Then, set out on a mission to find out in what ways she feels loved. Whether her loss happened 10 years ago, a year ago or last week, remember to not focus on how much time has passed since her loss and focus on the forever grieving heart that she carries and then, love her well.

For meaningful Gifts for Grieving Moms head on over to The Busy Bee.

what to do when a friend loses a baby

Photo By: Mindy Dunlap

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Shannon & Jenna
Shannon & Jenna are two sisters, mothers and best friends living out their childhood dreams. They are one part Type A, one part Type B, joining forces to live a life on purpose while intentionally cultivating a life full of creativity and connection. With an extensive, creative background in hospitality and event management, these two busy mothers recently embarked on a new journey to build an educational and inspirational resource for the modern-day, busy woman - The Busy Lifestyle (women on the go & homemakers), Hostful at Heart (hostesses and entertainers), The Busy Bump (moms & moms-to-be), and The Busy Boss (fellow creatives and entrepreneurs). We all lead busy lives and their hope is to inspire others to make it through, no matter what season they are enduring, with more purpose and less effort.

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