Twice I have carried to term babies with fatal diagnoses. Twice I have said goodbye to babies far sooner than I wanted. And twice I have climbed into the car, my body freshly postpartum, with no baby. Twice I have stumbled along, figuring out how to be a mother to a child who is no longer here. And I’ve been so thankful my friends have wanted to support a bereaved mother.
My experiences are the sort of thing people hear about and say, “Oh my goodness, I have no idea how you survived that!” And honestly, sometimes I feel the same way. My faith in my Savior Jesus was absolutely tantamount. But an extremely close second was the unwavering love and support from the dearest and best people I know.
If you are looking to support a bereaved mother through her pain, here are some amazing ways my friends and family showed love and support to me during my most difficult seasons.
My parents and in-laws are both local and were there to drop anything if I needed them. They would watch my other children when I had doctor’s appointments, for the midnight trips to the hospital, and anytime I really just needed time and space alone to sit and process. What a gift.
One of my dear friends would sit with me and listen as I poured out my heart. She never tried to fix me or tell me what to do. She just listened and validated what I was feeling, and the depth of pain I was experiencing.
I will never forget the friend who showed up at my house one night to look at pictures of my daughter. We cried and talked and looked through the photo album from 11:00pm-3:30 am, the exact hours my daughter was alive. It meant so much to me to be able to share her with my friend. To listen to my friend “ooh” and “ahh” over my beautiful baby girl.
Two of my friends would plan coffee dates for the two of us, and ensure that childcare was arranged for my son.
Usually, it was their husband watching my kids along with theirs so that my friend could just take me out for an hour or so and process life with me.
After my daughter passed away, one of my friends arranged for someone to bring a gift to my doorstep every single day for six weeks. Six weeks! Every day when I opened my door, there was a new gift waiting for me. She, and the dozens of other friends who participated, just wanted me to feel loved and supported as I grieved my loss. They wanted to love and support a bereaved mother.
Related Post: 7 Ways To Support A Grieving Friend
There was also the group of lovely women who arranged the food and decorations at my daughter’s memorial service so I did not have to think about any of it. We talked it all through beforehand, and when the day came, it could not have been a more perfect celebration for my baby girl.
There have also been so many times that big groups of friends showed up at my home, arms full of craft supplies, to help me make memory boxes to donate to the local hospital.
And I could never neglect to mention the texts, cards, emails, and calls from people encouraging and supporting me, letting me know they were thinking of me and praying for me in my time of deep grief, and the many delicious meals friends brought over so I would not have to think about cooking.
I have been shown love and support in so many countless ways over the last several years of my life as a bereaved mother.
My friends will never know the life they breathed into my soul because of their kindness.
If you are looking to breathe life into the soul of a bereaved mother–to truly support a bereaved mother–the example of these beloved people is a great place to start.
Photo credit: Pixel Creative via Lightstock
Sarah Rieke is a wife and mother who has walked the impossible road of infant loss twice. The existence of her two sweet babies, Evie and Charlie, are the heartbeat behind Sarah’s desire to extend genuine compassion, empathy, and emotional support to mothers who have experienced loss.