Have you ever felt lost for words after hearing of a stillbirth? Not out of disrespect but just completely lost for the ‘right’ words, perhaps fumbling through well meaning clichés?
I have! And you know what I’ve found?
There are no ‘right’ words.
I do know that the more stillbirth is not talked about, the harder it becomes to talk about. Time passes and the bereaved mother feels like their baby has been completely forgotten about. I know this is the LAST thing you want to happen.
SO, helpful words such as, ‘I can’t possibly imagine what you’re feeling and going through right now. But please know I am thinking of you, I am so sorry that you’re going through this, and I’m here if you would like to talk about your precious son/daughter can sensitively allow acknowledgement and express sorrow.
Flippant clichés are NOT helpful.
“Everything happens for a reason”, “It is God’s plan”, “you’re young, you can have more children”, “at least..” (anything that follows this phrase is never helpful). These phrases don’t have any substance, thought or compassion behind them and are better off not said.
I once read a quote in a fortune cookie that said “A true friend is one with whom you can be silent”. How very true! Words cannot heal. Support, understanding, sensitivity, acknowledgement all create a safe space for women who have experienced loss to express their feelings and assist on a healing journey.
SIX babies are stillborn every day in Australia. With well over 2000 women experiencing stillbirth every year, it is likely you know of someone who has experienced this loss, or will. This prevalent issue needs openness, compassion, awareness and helpful words.
Don’t compare apples with apples
Through my experience, we cannot compare apples with apples. Every loss is individual. Grief is subjective. And without words, space and acknowledgement, our stories cannot be heard. Be open to listening, and with compassion and acknowledgement, the “right” words won’t feel as necessary.
If this blog post has triggered anything for you, please reach out and contact one of the support organisations.