Many people concentrate on the mother when a baby or child dies. Especially if it happened in pregnancy. Understandably it is harder on the mother. I know many will disagree with me but it is!! The mother was the first to feel baby, the mother felt her baby there one way or another if through sickness, bloating or those early flutters.
She felt baby from his/her first movement and she felt baby stop. She then had to deliver baby. I guess its harder in different ways but it is certainly more of a trauma on the mother and the father has to appear strong but thats not what I want to talk about we could argue forever about who has it the hardest.
People forget about the siblings of the baby. Kids do move on faster, kids smile and laugh almost immediately after being told they don’t hold onto the grief in the same way but they are affected.
Jem was devastated by his sisters death. He hopes weekly a new baby is on the way but only wants a girl. He doesn’t react the same but he’s affected. Since Elva 2 new babies have been born at school and 2 more announced. Those days he’s a lot more upset, hyper and we can’t get sense from him. It brings up the time he had the happy news to share, the excitement of a sister and the days he had to go back to school knowing she was gone and mummy was upset.
He’s lost one of his best friends to a house move and I feel for him.
I worry when we have another he will be worried about the new baby. We will too but how do you help them through.
We took him to see a child counsellor and she said he was doing well but gave us some information about helping children through loss. If you click the images below ( they should enlarge) there is a table of child development, grief reaction and what they need to help them between ages of 3-12 years. This helped me see we we’re doing everything right for our child despite worries from family we weren’t.
Some things other mums said they did to help their angels sibling/s:
- honesty. don’t lie about how baby died, why they died or where they are. it can frightened children being told a sweet story thinking they understand it better.imagine saying your angel became a star in the sky then a teacher at school called them star of the week.
- let them ask questions and answer truthfully
- cuddles and lots of them
- make nursery/childcare/school aware so they can access support and understanding in the early days
- encourage them to talk and be open to say what they want
- work through it as a family
- let them work through it how they can. Jem acted up a lot the early days we said its ok to be upset but don’t take it out on us.
- if they’re comfortable doing so involve your angel in everything you do so they know it’s ok to talk about them too
- allow them have their own memories- be it pictures, photos, a teddy, planting flowers
- allow them space. if they don’t want to talk about it don’t force them children need normality too
- allow them to see you cry many disagree with this but we were actively encouraged NOT to hide our grief (more below)
- research support or groups for them. we contacted a childrens hospital that covers our area but many areas may have groups or help through schools
- acknowledge your angel: celebrate your angels birthday, include your angel in cards to your children on their birthday, talk about them as much or as little as you think your child needs
- allow them to chance to meet them we did this and my son said he was glad he had. remember you’ve only got one chance at this
- allow them to help you tend to your angels memory place, be it a shelf in the house, a place in the garden or your angels grave
Why it’s good to let your children see you cry?
Children need to see adults express emotions of all kinds. They need to know it’s ok to feel angry but also need to be shown how to deal with that in a suitable way. The same for being happy children need a happy environment to make the best of their life and grow confidence and stable mental health.
It is also important to allow your older children to see you grieve. They need to see emotional release which is what crying is. If you aren’t the crying type thats ok too grieving doesn’t always need to be tears. By allowing your child to see you grief they understand it’s ok to release emotion, it’s ok to be open about our feelings and it’s ok to feel sad sometimes. We can’t be happy and have a fake face on all the time.
It helps them understand emotions are ok in general and we all have ups and downs. It shows them it’s ok and it shows them you care.