Warning, this post contains details of baby loss that some might find upsetting.
When a baby dies, they sometimes leave behind bereaved siblings who suffer two losses: the sister or brother they were expecting to grow up with, and their parents as they knew them before the loss.
Helping children to understand loss can be extremely difficult. It’s very common for parents who are also dealing with their own grief following the loss of their child to feel worried and anxious about how their other children will be affected by the death of their little brother or sister.
Here are some tips from various charities and organisations that may make handling the loss of a little brother or sister easier for children…
- Siblings may want to choose a teddy to add to a memory box or to place with their lost baby brother or sister.
- They can work with their parents or with hospital bereavement staff to draw, write in a journal or keep a diary. Doing so can help them process emotions that they otherwise might struggle to express.
- It’s good for siblings to have opportunities to remember and celebrate their lost baby brother or sister, especially on birthdays, anniversaries, and other special times throughout the year.
- Be sure to offer them reassurance that they are loved and not to blame for what has happened.
- Encourage them to ask questions and talk about what has happened openly.
- Use simple and honest words when you talk to other children about the baby’s death. You can say things like, “The baby didn’t grow,” or “The baby was born very tiny.” Try not to confuse them by saying things like, “The baby is sleeping,” or “I lost the baby.”