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Twin Loss: Helping a Grieving Friend
Dealing with the loss of a child from a set of twins is one of the hardest things a mother can face. In addition to facing the issues associated with the loss of a child, the mother must carry on a brave face and muster both the will and the energy to nurture a child without stopping to grieve. As a friend and/or family member, it is imperative to make sure that they know that you are there for them. It's a very sensitive subject that not many know how to handle. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when helping someone in this dreadful situation.
Don't ever say ďAt least you have one." Not only does it sound insensitive to a grieving mother, it does not make it hurt any less to know that you have one of the two babies you were hoping to love forever. When you're expecting two babies, that's exactly what you've prepared for, and exactly what you want to come home with. Many expecting parents have already set up their nursery as needed and will feel the void once they arrive home.
Offer to help, and just be there. It is sometimes very hard to be around someone so devastated; however, as a close friend, your support and attention will be badly needed. You might want to also ask if they need you to watch the baby while they rest. It's hard to grieve when you have to take care of a newborn, and mom and dad might need a lot more rest than the child will allow to get through this hard time. Making meals, light cleaning, even tackling loads of piled up laundry will be small gestures that are greatly appreciated by a new mom. Depending on the stage of the pregnancy loss, your friend/family member might need help making funeral arrangements. Offering assistance with this matter (even if it's simply notifying friends/family members) might be a help as well.
Do not critique your friend if they become extremely cautious or overprotective while taking care of their baby. When one loses a child, there is always the fear of losing the other. If they want to put out extra monitors, sleep in the same room or have their baby around all the time, that is their decision and it should be respected. Let them do whatever they feel is right. Everyone has their own internal clock that tells them when to ease up.
Make them aware of organizations like http://www.babylosscomfort.com, where they may read stories and find comfort within a group that have gone through the same experiences. Don't be offended if the grieving parent is upset and tells you that you don't know what you are talking about because you've never lost a child. This is a very common feeling among parents who have lost a child, whether it's a baby or an adult! Sometimes the best thing you can say is nothing at all. In the long run, they will appreciate the fact that you were there.
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