Helping a Grieving Friend | Celebrating & Planning Birthday When A Child Has Died | The Morning | A Community of hope for women finding joy after infant loss. | Ashlee Proffitt | Aaden Sage

She’s probably not going to come right out and say it. How she’s hurting and confused and afraid. Hopefully she feels the freedom to do so but most likely she doesn’t want to bring up her pain or fear. So ask her.

When it comes to loving your friend amidst her grief, when in doubt, ask.

Especially when it comes to birthdays.

Know that this is one of the hardest times of the year for her, especially if it is a first birthday since her baby has died. She is probably hurting, confused and afraid.

  • She is hurting and grieving and longing to be doing normal birthday things.
  • She is confused about how to approach this day since it is a special day to her but without her baby it feels awkward and confusing.
  • She is afraid of what people expect of her on this day.
  • She is afraid of how people will respond to the ways she wants to celebrate her baby’s birthday.
  • She is afraid of disappointing those she loves.

THINGS THAT ARE HELPFUL TO SAY:

  • “How are you?”
  • “How would you like to celebrate your baby’s birthday?”
  • “How can I help you make that happen?”
  • “No matter how you want to celebrate and remember your baby, I’m here and want to help and support your decisions.”
  • Share memories of her pregnancy or the days leading up to the birth or even the birth itself. Say: “Remember when….” or “I just loved ____ about sweet baby…”
    • This feels so hard and probably awkward and even painful for you too as a friend who most likely loved and cherished this little life as well, I understand. And you should be careful about how and when you communicate these things but as a mama who has gone through 8 birthdays without her son, on his birthday, and the days leading up to it, all I want to do is talk about him. And anything that reminds me of our time together here on earth is so special to me, especially when I’m not reminiscing alone. 

THINGS THAT ARE HELPFUL TO DO:

  • Mark your calendar. Remembering this day is one of the most meaningful ways to love your friend; this year and the years to come.
  • Give a gift. Just a small reminder that you didn’t forget this precious birthday or her.
  • Call.
  • Text.
  • Share photos via social media. My son’s first birthday was incredibly hard and I remember popping on Facebook and seeing post after post after post of his precious picture. It meant the world to me. Something I will never forget.
  • Show up with birthday cake. Or balloons. Or both.
  • Bring her breakfast. She will probably not feel like cooking that day. And waking up to breakfast is always such a sweet way to start a day.
  • Buy her dinner. Again, she will not feel like cooking that day. A gift card to her favorite restaurant for dinner will mean so much and will be one less thing for her to have to think about.
  • Pray. Know that this time is so difficult and wrought with so many thoughts and emotions so pray for her. Ask God for grace to sustain her and grace to help it be the best day even amidst the sorrow.