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Parents of lost babies and potential of all kinds: come here to share the technicolour, the vividness, the despair, the heart-broken-open, the compassion we learn for others, having been through this mess — and see it reflected back at you, acknowledged and understood.

Thanks to photographer Xin Li and to artist Stephanie Sicore for their respective illustrations and photos.

for one and all > My Best Friend and I

I'm still pregnant, and my best friend just found out she lost her baby.

'm kind of lost. My best friend tried to get pregnant. She actively had her IUD removed, and we talked about everything the whole time. She got pregnant, and told me right away.

I wasn't even trying, but magically, 3 days after she found out she was pregnant, I realized my period hadn't come, took a test, and found out I was too.

Our due dates were 3 days apart. We've gone maternity and baby shopping together. This was her first baby, and my second, so she has been REALLY into all of the things. Nursery painting, stuff buying, etc.

Sometime within the last 12 hours she found out her baby doesn't have a heartbeat. We're 37 weeks along.

I don't know how to be a good friend, because if I were her, I wouldn't want to look at me. Her husband isn't very good at the emotions thing. I know she needs people. I just don't know if I'm the right person.

In any experience that anyone has had, what should I do?
June 2, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKate
My best friend and I were pregnant together too. She had her baby when I was in my second trimester. My baby died at 28 weeks. It’s been hard to talk to and be around her. Text her, let her know you love her. But give her space. Check in and offer to visit, but don’t take it. Personally if she doesn’t. Best of luck to you.
June 2, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie
Kate, the fact that you’re here looking for help on how to support your friend suggests to me that your instincts are in the right place. The things that helped me in your friend’s situation were that my friend was (and still is) incredibly patient and selfless with me. She acknowledged that she didn’t know what to do or say and let me guide her on what worked for me. She let me have a totally one-sided relationship with her, where I could vent and complain but she never brought up any of her new baby or family-related troubles. I told her I just couldn’t cope with thinking about her daughter because it reminded me of all that I lost, so she very carefully crafted all her communications to avoid any reference to her kids. Her patience with gently standing by until I was ready to start engaging with her has meant that we can remain friends. It’s not the relationship we’d imagined where we could trade anecdotes about our little girls, but it’s a loving, resilient relationship and I’m so grateful. Be patient and loving and allow her to be unreasonable for what seems like an unreasonably long time.
June 2, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterK West
Hi Kate, you're a good friend. I had a friend who had twins a few weeks before my son was born (prematurely, and then passed) and another friend who had a baby a couple of months after my son was born (closer to my actual due date). Both provided space, but offered acknowledgement. I received texts and multiple "here in any capacity you want me in" cards from both. One of my biggest challenges was that at first, I thought I would want to spend time with my friend's babies, as I was so desperate to hold a baby right after the loss. I then quickly realized I was not in a space AT ALL to be around friend's babies, as they were the same age that my baby would have been, and seeing any milestones would have been too painful. I'm 5 months out and recently met a different friend's baby for the first time, and it was joyful. As Laurie said above, please don't take any response personally, even if she outright ignores offers. She sees them, but there should be no expectation for a response. It's likely that people announcing pregnancies and births on social media are painful for her at this time as well. If you have capacity, and she accepts, offer to send her food delivery, drop food off, walk the dog, basically, deal with things that are normal life things. When in loss, the world keeps spinning and things like laundry can be the monkey wrench that ruins the day outright. Offer to help in specific ways, not just "i'm here for whatever you need" because asking for help or knowing what you need is so hard after loss. check in with her weekly and more. Texting is the easiest, usually.

Here is a short guide that I thought was helpful for people in my life, not just pregnant/parenting friends:

I hope that helps.

June 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAllison
Texts or brief e-mails are often good. Just keep letting her know you are thinking about her, but don't imply that you expect a response. Be understanding if she can't face knowing about your baby. These reminders of what we could have had are just too much sometimes. Never say that you know what she's going through. Resist the impulse to say anything that begins with 'at least'. ('At least the nursery will be ready for you next child')

The early days of shock are awful and unpredictable, and you really need to play it by ear and possibly give her space. However, her baby will remain a significant part of her life and this will be your potential space for re-connecting after some months have passed. Just like any new mom, she will be constantly thinking about her baby. Others might think this goes away, but actually her baby will be on her mind for months. It's normal for acute grief to last 1-2 years, and for it to take 3-4 years for life to mostly get back to normal. It's also pretty standard that others stop mentioning the baby much sooner than that. This is one of the hardest parts of baby loss.

So, if you have the feeling she will welcome this, do mention that you think of her baby. That your baby reminds you of the baby she lost, and that you're sad your children aren't growing up together. Remember her on Mother's day. Remember the date of birth of her baby, the date she becomes a mother. It will continue to be an important date for her. Visit the baby's grave. Say the baby's name. Ask to see a photo. Ask about the birth weight. And if none of this feels like something you're comfortable with, you can still ask about the experience of giving birth. It's such a major life experience for all of us, but in all likelihood nobody will ask her about hers.

But for now... Just tell her about your hesitations, and your wish to be there for her. She will appreciate your sensitivity.
June 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAna