Helping Other Children Through the Loss
Many children can sense when something is wrong, so don't be afraid to tell them what is happening.
Sharing the news of the baby’s diagnosis with your children can be difficult. Kids are great observers, and they easily sense when something is wrong. So it is important to share with them what is happening. Withholding information in an effort to protect them may cause them to feel an overwhelming sense of guilt. They may feel they have done something wrong to cause your sadness.
Guidelines for sharing information with your children:
- Prepare what you will say and when.
- Tailor your explanations to each child’s age and stage of development.
- Offer simple, easy-to-understand information.
- Avoid giving too much information.
- Expect children to respond according to their ability to understand.
- Offer reassurance that they did nothing to cause the baby’s illness.
Other ways to support your children:
- Encourage them to express their sadness.
- Maintain their routines.
- Solicit the cooperation of schoolteachers and other adults who have contact with your kids.
- Be open with your emotions. It is okay for them to see you cry.
- Involve them in a local grief support group for children.
- Share your spiritual beliefs as it relates to death in terms they can understand.
- Include them in family prayers for the baby and pray for their brother or sister by name.
More and more families are encouraging siblings to become an integral part of the experience by letting them:
- Help select the baby’s name.
- Choose a special outfit or toy for the baby.
- Participate in family maternity pictures.
- Plan a birthday party for the baby.
As you begin this journey of a lifetime . . .
The story of your baby’s lifetime has already begun. Though the emotional pain cannot be underestimated, this journey of love and loss will change your heart and life forever. Perinatal hospice can help you find hope in the midst of your grief and give meaning to your journey.
Many parents find comfort and hope in knowing that their baby will know only tender care and love during its brief time on this earth. And at the moment of its last breath, they release their cherished baby directly into God’s loving arms. May you find this same comfort and strength throughout your journey as you honor the life of your baby and build memories to last a lifetime.
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