October is Pregnancy and Infant loss awareness month, but today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Last year I experienced two second trimester pregnancy losses, back to back, within a five month period. The loss of my sons, Elijah Timothy and Malachi Jude, still hurts today. The grief never fully goes away. I think about them all the time and I think about the loss we experienced. I have had many people who have reached out to share their experiences with miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss – and I’ve had a lot of family and friends of people who are going through it reach out and ask, “How can I support someone going through this? How can I help someone who has experienced a miscarriage, pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or infant loss?”
I wrote a blog post on this last year, but this year, I decided to take it a few (100) steps further and put together an exhaustive list of tons of ideas on how to help and support a grieving family.
1. Get her a Held Your Whole Life necklace or keychain
2. Get her some jewelry inscribed with the baby’s initials or angel wings
5. Send a Bottle of Tears Gift Box
6. Give her a beautiful succulent plant (avoid giving flowers because they die. Succulents are great because they’re pretty and hard to kill)
7. Purchase a funeral or memorial service program for them (if applicable)
8. Pool money together with friends and gift her with… money. Some friends did this for my husband and I when we were grieving and it was a huge blessing.
9. Gift her a massage
10. Gift her a facial at her favorite spa
11. Put together a little DIY at-home spa day basket complete with a sugar scrub, face mask, good smelling lotion, a candle, etc.
12. Gift her a piece that has the baby’s birthstone on it
13. Gift a meaningful print or artwork from Lindsay Letters (this link gets you $10 off)
14. Gift the family an ultrasound picture frame
15. Get her a custom Mother’s Ring
16. Make a donation to a charity or nonprofit close to the family in honor of the baby
17. Gift them a cross with the baby’s initials on it
18. If she’s a bibliophile, gift her a subscription to the Book of the Month club
19. Drop off an iTunes gift card and some popcorn
20. Bring a “memory candle” that she can light to remember her baby
21. If she’s really into beauty, gift her a subscription to the Petit Vour beauty box – that way she gets a little something each month to pamper herself
22. Bring her some comfy pajamas, cozy socks, cozy slippers, etc. to help her feel relaxed
23. Take her to get her hair done
24. Take her to get her makeup done
25. This encouragement gift box is really meaningful
26. Get her some custom Sseko Brave jewelry (each charm has a special meaning and you can customize it for her)
27. A memorial garden stone like this one would be beautiful
28. If she loves accessories, design her a custom Sseko Designs bag or earrings that you know she’ll love
29. Don’t be silent… acknowledge the loss, say the baby’s name, don’t be silent.
30. Simply say, “I’m sorry.” Don’t try to qualify it or justify it. Just say you’re so sorry.
31. Avoid any cliches like “Everything happens for a reason.” and “God needed the baby more.” etc.
32. Give lots of hugs (if the person is a physical touch kind of person)
33. Be there to listen. Or not. Offer to sit with her or offer to leave her alone. Some days it may change, respect whatever place she’s in.
34. Remember special dates (due date, loss date, birthdate, Mother’s Day, etc.)
35. Pool money together with friends to hire a cleaning service
36. Don’t want to hire a cleaning service, but you love to vacuum? Offer to come clean her house yourself!
37. Offer to do a load (or 7) of laundry
38. Offer to pick up and drop off any dry cleaning
39. Offer to rent a cheesy chick flick or hilarious comedy and have a girl’s night in
40. Take her out to get a mani/pedi
41. If you like essential oils, make her an “Emotional Support” oil blend with oils like Frankincense, Lavender, Rose, Blue Tansy, etc.
42. If she has other children, offer to pick them up and take them out for a playdate to give her a break
43. Offer to babysit her other children so she and her partner can go on a date night
44. If applicable, offer to help with any donation or organization of any “baby” things, nursery items, etc. around the house that might be painful to look at. This is a touchy one so enter with care… I had friends I had to just give stuff to. Others might want to keep something around. The most important thing is to offer to help.
45. Make them a Spotify playlist of songs to encourage them
46. Offer to mow their lawn
47. Offer to tend to their garden
48. Offer to purchase a tree to plant in remembrance of the baby
49. If you’re artsy, paint a beautiful picture for her to remember her baby
50. If you’re good with hand lettering, make her a print with her favorite Bible verse or quote hand lettered
51. If you’re musical, write her a song to remember her baby
52. If you’re crafty, make her something special to remember her baby
53. If you’re organized, offer to come over and organize her pantry or junk drawer or bathroom!
(ideas for books to read, words of encouragement, etc.)
61. Waiting with Gabriel: a story of cherishing a baby’s brief life by Amy Kuebelbeck
62. We Were Going to Have a Baby but We Had an Angel Instead by Pat Schweibert (perfect for families with other kids)
63. Something Happened by Cathy Blanford (also great for a family with other kids)
65. Write the Word Journals from Cultivate What Matters
66. Bring in a Gratitude Journal like this one (and maybe write on the first page what you’re thankful for about your friend)
67. Get a set of encouraging postcards or notecards and snail mail them to her once a month for a year with words of hope
68. Send emails randomly with words of love, a funny story, etc.
69. If you have the gift of prayer, write out a beautiful prayer for the grieving family.
70. Bring her some beautiful watercolor scripture verse cards to encourage her
71. Randomly text your friend funny videos from the internet to cheer her up
72. Say, “When you’re ready, here’s a group / online forum specifically for grieving moms.” (Groups like The Joyful Mourning were so helpful for me).
73. Send a GrubHub, Postmates, or Uber Eats Gift Card
74. Set up a meal train for others to provide meals for awhile
75. Make a take a freezer meal or two or seven and bring them over
76. Drop off her favorite snack
77. Drop off her favorite beverage (my friends brought me lots of fountain Diet Cokes from McDonald’s)
78. Drop off her favorite dessert treat
79. Bring over an “ice cream sundae” making kit
80. Deliver an Edible Arrangement (so yummy)
81. Bring over all your “favorite store snacks” (A friend dropped off two huge bags of her favorite snacks and drinks from Trader Joe’s and it was SUCH a blessing)
82. Offer to go grocery shopping for her
83. Bring her a gift card to a local grocery store
84. If they have other kids, offer to make a few easy lunches for the kids throughout the week
85. Gift the family a subscription to a meal plan delivery service like Freshly, Hello Fresh, Home Chef, etc.
86. Gift the family a CSA or local produce delivery subscription
87. Gift the family a subscription to a meat delivery service like Butcher Box
(It’s so important to remember that dad’s grieve too, here are a few ways to support a grieving dad)
89. Gift him a remembrance keychain (in case he’s not a “jewelry” person)
90. Take dad out to lunch to get his mind off things
91. Acknowledge the baby on Father’s Day
92. Remember him with a small gift like a gift card for coffee or donuts from his favorite place
93. Get him tickets to an upcoming concert, sporting event, or something he enjoys doing
94. Bring him a personalized wind chime to remember his child
95. Bring him a framed print with all the kids names on it (if the baby didn’t have a name, you can just put “Baby “LAST NAME””)
96. Bring him a memorial / in remembrance Christmas ornament
97. This meaningful planter box would be a great gift for a grieving dad
98. A memorial lantern would be a unique gift for dad
99. I love this Engraved Wooden Block for dad’s desk at work
100. The most important thing is to acknowledge that dad is grieving too… call him, text him email him, offer to listen. Dads grieve differently but their grief is important.