In the midst of our grief, I received the below wish list, which was sent to me by a friend of a friend whose child was stillborn. I found parts of it comforting after we lost Bella and it’s a good starting place as you begin piecing life back together. It’s also a good resource for friends and family looking to support loved ones in the wake of stillbirth or pregnancy loss.
Wish List After Stillbirth
- I wish our baby hadn’t died. I wish I had her back.
- I wish you wouldn’t be afraid to speak her name. Our baby lived and was very important to us. I need to hear that she was important to you as well.
- If I cry and get emotional when you talk about our baby, I wish you knew that it isn’t because you have hurt me. Our baby’s death is the cause of my tears. You have talked about our baby, and you have allowed me to share my grief. I thank you for both.
- Being a bereaved parent is not contagious, so I wish you wouldn’t shy away from me. I need you more than ever.
- I need diversions, so I do want to hear about you; but I also want you to hear about me. I might be sad and I might cry, but I wish you would let me talk about our baby, my favorite topic of the day.
- I know that you think of and pray for me often. I also know that our baby’s death pains you, too. I wish you would let me know things through a phone call, a card or a note, or a real big hug.
- I wish you wouldn’t expect my grief to be over in six months. These first months are traumatic for me, but I wish you could understand that my grief will never be over. I will suffer the death of our baby until the day I die.
- I am working very hard in my recovery, but I wish you could understand that I will never fully recover. I will always miss our baby, and I will always grieve that she is gone.
- I wish you wouldn’t expect me “not to think about it” or to “be happy”. Neither will happen for a very long time so don’t frustrate yourself.
- I don’t want to have a “pity party,” but I do wish you would let me grieve. I must hurt before I can heal.
- I wish you understood how my life has shattered. I know it is miserable for you to be around me when I’m feeling miserable. Please be as patient with me as I am with you.
- When I say, “I’m doing okay,” I wish you could understand that I don’t feel okay and that I struggle daily.
- I wish you knew that all of the grief reactions I’m having are very normal. Depression, anger, hopelessness and overwhelming sadness are all to be expected. So please excuse me when I’m quiet and withdrawn or irritable and cranky.
- Your advice to “take one day at a time” is excellent. However, a day is too much and too fast for me right now. I wish you could understand that I’m doing good to handle an hour at a time. I’m living moment by moment.
- I wish you understood that grief changes people. When our child died, a big part of me died with her. I am not the same person I was before our baby died, and I will never be that person again.
- I wish very much that you could understand – understand my loss and my grief, my silence and my tears, my void and my pain. But I pray daily that you will never understand.