STILLBIRTH SUPPORT

SIBLING GRIEF SUPPORT

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Especially in the case of very young children, our initial instinct may be to "protect" or "shelter" our offspring from a tragedy with which we, as adults, are barely able to cope. We tell ourselves that they are "too young to understand." We may leave them out of the discussions and rituals associated with the death. This can be a serious mistake. Whether we talk about it or not, our children will certainly become aware of our own feelings of sadness.

Failure on our part to be open and honest about our feelings surrounding their siblings death, can leave them feeling anxious, bewildered, and alone. They will be left on their own to look for answers to their questions at a time when they most need the help and reassurance of those around them, and may end up coming to the conclusion that they are personally responsible for Mommy and Daddy's tears. Sharing grief as a family can be a meaningful experience for everyone involved and an important opportunity for growth. Three Little Birds encourages the following in supporting siblings through loss:

  • As soon as possible after the death, explain what has happened in a simple and direct manner.

  • Listen to the child and try to understand both what is being said and what is not said.

  • Encourage questions. Keep answers brief, straightforward, and to the point.

  • Let children know that death is an open subject and that it is okay to feel sadness and to try to talk about it.

  • Maintain normal routines as much as possible. Children crave and are reassured by regularity and structure.

  • Show affection.

  • Reassure children about the cause of death.

  • Be tolerant of behavioral changes.  So much is happening around them, and none of it is ABOUT them.  That's hard for kids to understand.

  • Let your child attend and take part in the funeral or memorial service.