When parents lose a baby, showing your support and love can be a delicate matter. Regardless of how you chose to show you care, ensure that the gesture comes from the heart. A simple handwritten note may be all it takes to support the grieving parents, although memorial gifts and help with mundane daily tasks that my be too difficult for the family to complete will be equally meaningful.
Help With Day to Day Life
If it is immediately after the death of a baby in a family, perhaps the most help you can give is to assist in getting the family through normal, everyday tasks that might feel like too much to bear given the family's circumstances. Cook for the family or bring them groceries. Give them a gift card for a grocery delivery service if you would prefer they choose their own groceries. Order a laundry or cleaning service to help with upkeep in the home. Offer to take any surviving children to lessons or school so the parents may have some time to relax. If relatives are coming from out of town, offer to pick them up at the airport for the family. Your help with these everyday tasks will mean more to the family than a throw-away gift.
Gifts that Grow
If the family has a garden or even a small yard, consider giving the gift of a flower that will bloom each year or a sapling tree that will grow and provide comfort and shade to the family. Many flowers are named after people, so if the child was given a name, see if there is a plant with the same name you can give to the family in honor of the child. A plant that will blossom each spring or a tree that the family can watch grow from a tiny twig into a mature shade-giver will serve as a living memorial to the deceased.
If the child passed away due to a disease or syndrome for which there is a research foundation or charity, consider giving a donation in the name of the grieving family or deceased child. Many of these charities and foundations will send a small token or card to the grieving family letting them know that a gift has been given in honor of their child. The parents will appreciate the gesture and would probably rather you potentially help find a cure for whatever caused the baby to die and help prevent that tragedy from happening to another family in the future.
Caring for the Self
Encourage the parents of the baby to take care of themselves during their time of grief. Consider giving gifts that will help them take care of their own feelings and bodies during this time where those things tend to be completely overwhelmed by the loss. A membership to a yoga studio is a thoughtful gift that will encourage the parents to take time to turn their brains off and just focus on breathing and moving. That peace of mind could be the greatest gift you could give. A beautiful journal for each parent will also provide them with a way to care for themselves by working through their feelings privately in a time when so many people will want to talk to them about what has happened. Consider the gift of a weekly home visit from a massage therapist for the parents, as the human touch can be very healing for people after emotional trauma.
Based in Austin, Texas, Carrie Burns has been writing professionally since 2004, primarily ghostwriting corporate white papers and reviewing local theater productions. She has also spent time devising new works with cutting-edge theater ensembles. Burns holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
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