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friend loses a baby, Pinch of Yum

What To Do When Your Friend Loses a Baby

friend loses a baby, Pinch of Yum

Hi, my name is Lindsay.

Mother’s Day is coming up and I’m thinking about this a lot because I am that friend. The one who lost a baby.

I am probably the friend who you’re tiptoeing around. I might be the friend who has become a major social weirdo and cancels plans last-minute. I am the friend who you’re not sure about inviting to a baby shower. I’m the friend who might have unfollowed you on social media when you announced that you were pregnant (read: I did. I definitely did. I just need to be sad right now.). I can’t relate to your normal-mom conversations about late-night feedings and nap schedules and which is the best jogging stroller. The truth is, I have experienced motherhood in a unique and powerful way, but I feel left out and confused about my identity as a mom.

On January 1st, 2017, in Room 44 of the NICU at Children’s Hospital, I became this friend. I held my first and only son Afton as he died in my arms. He was just one day old.

It was every bit as painful as it sounds. For those first few days after his completely unexpected premature birth and death, I was sinking, slowly sinking, and eventually I crash-landed right there on the bottom of the ocean. No light, no air – just hard, jagged rocks and one thousand pounds keeping me pinned to the bottom. As time has gone on, I have vacillated back and forth from the top of the water where I find myself for just a minute, feeling the sun and breathing in the air and noticing the color of the water and sky, to finding the weight of loss pulling me back down to the lifeless bottom again.

In sharing his birth story, many-many-many people have reached out with “me too’s.” The obvious ones are from women who have experienced similarly life-altering losses, whether through miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, or premature infant loss, like my son Afton.

What To Do When a Friend Loses a Baby | pinchofyum.com

But you know who else has come forward? THE FRIENDS. The friends have come forward saying, “my friend, too.” And then the question that follows closely behind is: “What can I do for her? What can I do for my cousin, my sister, my friend who has lost her baby?”

If not for the help of my people – family, friends, and people that I barely know – I would still be on the bottom of the ocean today, four months later. Dear friends of moms who have lost babies: you are asking the right question. You can and will help your loved one through this.

Before you dive into my thoughts on this, will you read my disclaimers?

  • If you see something suggested here that you don’t think your friend would appreciate, just toss it. Grief is unique and you know your friend better than me.
  • This is not a list of gift ideas. Because grief is not a buy-your-friend-a-book-and-be-done-with-it kind of thing. These ideas are personal and even more meaningful than books and big-time bonus: FREE.
  • Because of my faith in Jesus, I have intense hope in life for our souls beyond our physical bodies. That being said, this post does not include what I would consider “Christian comfort phrases” because a) sometimes overly Christian-ese statements can make a person feel like she doesn’t have permission to deeply lament, and my hope is to help you figure out how to meet someone in the depths of their lament; and b) sometimes faith-related cliches are just downright rude and un-helpful. Shockingly, phrases like “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away,” or “God needed another angel,” do not validate my deep grief over the death of my son.
  • Just accept right up front that there will come a time where either you or your friend will say something weird, offensive, awkward, or generally “not right.” That’s the price you pay when you are deeply involved in someone’s wild, messy life. And it is so worth it, because the alternative is missing out on all the beauty that comes with walking with a friend through her darkest hour. That type of friendship is a sacred one.

Make no mistake here – the only reason I can write this post is because my real life family and friends have given me so many examples of how to do this well. I owe this post to them. They have, in the most real way, answered the question of What To Do When Your Friend Loses a Baby.


Above All Else: Acknowledge. Saying Something Is Better Than Saying Nothing.

What To Do When Your Friend Loses a Baby | pinchofyum.com

That’s my number one thing, most basic, foundational, MUST-DO thing.

If you don’t read or remember anything else in this post, remember this: please, please, please acknowledge the loss, the grief, and the fact that your friend is now living without an actual part of her heart.

Of course I might cry when you bring it up in the grocery store. But of COURSE I want you to acknowledge what Sheryl Sandberg calls “the elephant in the room” – in my case, the fact that my baby has died. It is deeply painful to make small talk about the weather when my whole world has fallen apart. Please acknowledge this pain.

You could say: 

  • I just want you to know I’ve been thinking about you so much over the last few weeks.
  • You’ve been on my heart.
  • I just want to acknowledge that it’s probably really difficult for you to be here today.

It doesn’t have to be major. These statements all acknowledge the pain AND (my personal favorite) they leave the option to either continue to talk more about it or to be done talking about it, which is going to be different depending on the person and the circumstances.

PS. If you think it’s too late, that too much time has gone by, think again. Statements like this are incredibly meaningful at any point in a loss journey: I just want you to know that I’m really sorry I didn’t reach out right away when you lost ____. I was intimidated by not saying the right thing, but I should have said something. I am so sorry for your loss.


SAY Her BABY’S NAME.

What To Do When Your Friend Loses a Baby | pinchofyum.com

“I am so sorry for your loss.” is really meaningful.

But “I am so sorry about the loss of your sweet baby boy, Afton. Will you tell me about him?” is much more meaningful. Because for me, the death of my baby is not a generic loss. It is the loss of a specific person who had a specific future. And when you speak about him as a person – not just a pregnancy or a baby, but a person with a name – that validates my grief.

Elizabeth Edwards says:

“If you know someone who has lost a child, and you’re afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died — you’re not reminding them. They didn’t forget they died. What you’re reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and that is a great gift.”

Elizabeth Edwards

You could say:

  • I’m thinking about you and missing ____ with you today.
  •   _____ is still so precious to us. We love her.
  • I know I never got to meet ____, but feel like I know him because I know you.

Ask To See Pictures Of Her Baby.

What To Do When Your Friend Loses a Baby | pinchofyum.com

I remember sobbing, telling my friends: I know he doesn’t look like a normal baby, but I think he’s so, so cute.

Many loss moms, especially those whose babies were premature or stillborn, have pictures of their baby but fear that people might not like looking at them. Think about that. Think about what it might feel like as a mom to think that people won’t like looking at your baby.

The baby might have discolored skin. Their lips might be blue. They might have a physical deformity or their eyes might still be closed tight. It is hard to look at pictures of babies who aren’t “normal.”

But do you know what your friend thinks? She thinks this is the most beautiful baby in the world. And you’d be giving her a profound gift by telling her that you think her baby is beautiful, too.

You could say: 

  • Do you have any pictures of _____? I would love to see him.
  • Oh my gosh, look at her adorable nose! Do you think that’s mom’s nose or dad’s nose?
  • What a beautiful baby. I’m so honored that you would share those pictures with me.

Offer Specific Help.

What To Do When Your Friend Loses a Baby | pinchofyum.com

This is an actual text message that my friend Melissa sent me after we lost Afton, and it is all kinds of right.

“I keep staring at this screen, at your pictures, and your words, and trying to muster up some kind of response that would be a hint of sufficient. But nothing. All I probably need to say is that we can’t stop thinking about you guys. 1. He’s beautiful. I love his name is his little nose that looks like it might have been Lindsay’s. 2. Thank you for sharing this publicly. You guys are amazing people and even better parents. 3. If you guys need anything, like groceries, dinner, deodorant or Kleenex, will you let us know? We’ll be your Prime Now and your Bite Squad. 4. No response needed. Just want you to know we can’t stop thinking about you.”

That is specific and clear. She wanted to be our Prime Now and Bite Squad – our delivery team.

I don’t even think I responded to the message, but I saw it and I remembered it. And the morning after we got home from the hospital, when I went to find something for breakfast and realized we had no milk and COULD NOT muster up the courage to face anyone at the grocery store, I knew who to text. She said YES, I’ll be there in an hour, do you need anything else?

And here’s the real magic – even though I didn’t have the strength to respond (again), she just took it upon herself to make her best guess about what we needed and wanted. She brought ready-made soups, crackers, bagels and cream cheese, pre-cut fruit, and more.

Grief is exhausting and many parents facing loss just do not have the mental strength to even think about what they might need, so if you can help put the pieces together for them, you are lifting a huge burden.

You could say:

  • I would love to deliver some groceries for you this week. What day works best to drop them off?
  • I’m going to make a Target run and I’d like to drop some stuff off for you later today. I’ll just leave it outside the front door.
  • What do you need for ___’s funeral? Let me run some errands for you.

Related: I’m a big believer in the power of bringing FOOD (hi, food blog!) to hurting friends in a season of grief… as I’ve made a point to say 1,000 times through our Feeding a Broken Heart series. If cooking is your jam, check out the recipes in that series that were our favorite food deliveries from friends. I am still on a kick with those wild rice burgers.


Honor Her Baby Publicly.

What To Do When Your Friend Loses a Baby | pinchofyum.com

After we announced his birth and passing, a few of our friends honored Afton publicly on Facebook and Instagram by writing about him or sharing our pictures and our posts about him. It’s so simple, but just knowing that others cared enough to share something with their own family and friends really meant a lot to me. It showed that they were impacted by our son in a deep and profound way.

Here’s something our friend Landon said on Facebook after sharing our update about Afton:

“It’s been an emotional week with our close friends Bjork and Lindsay. Please keep them in your prayers as they remember, celebrate and grieve their amazing little guy Afton. Bjork is one of the best men, and now fathers, I know.”

You could say:

  • This week we’re heartbroken about the loss of our friends’ baby, ______. We will always remember her.
  • Today, as I’m spending time with my family, I’m remembering my friend and her baby _____. She has shown me what it means to really love my kids.
  • It was a beautiful day to remember a beautiful baby. I was so honored to attend ______’s funeral. We will miss him forever.

Send Her a Text.

What To Do When Your Friend Loses a Baby | pinchofyum.com

Texts are the best, easiest, cheapest, fastest way to participate in supporting your friend. Seriously. Has it been one week? Has it been one year? Doesn’t matter. Just text her right now.

In my opinion, text messages are better than cards because a) why is the post office always 100 miles away, b) you can send them every day! and c) my personal favorite – your friend can text back. She might not, because sometimes in grief you are overwhelmed with everything, including sending a text message. But she might be lonely, and a text might give her a mid-day lifeline in case she wants to talk.

You could say:

  • Hey! Thinking about you today. How has this week been? (much easier to answer than “how are you?”)
  • Saw this sunset/flower/sign/animal tonight and it reminded me of ______. Missing him tonight. (these reminded-me-of texts are my all-time favorite and I will never get sick of them.)
  • Hey, I’m guessing this has been a tough week. Do you want to grab coffee tomorrow?

Write Something To Her Baby.

What To Do When Your Friend Loses a Baby | pinchofyum.com

Cards written to your friend are great, but cards written to my baby are rare, intimate, and incredibly special.

My sister wrote a card to Afton on his due date and it is one of my most treasured possessions. It says things like,

“Dear Afton, Today is your due date. We miss you every single day and we still can’t believe that we got to meet you a few months early. Your mom and dad are loving you so well. You are so precious to us.”

We got a letter written to Afton from his nurse, and a few other letters to Afton from family members. We got a birthday card written to Afton from his Uncle Erik on the day he was born.

I am crying now even as I write this.

It is powerful and moving to see and hear other people love your baby even in their absence.

You could say:

  • Dear ____, I have known your mom and dad for a long time and they’ve never been as happy as they were to welcome you into their family…
  • Dear ____, we will miss you everyday and we will always think of you every time we…
  • Dear ____, today is your birthday! We are celebrating that you would have been __ years old today. We wonder what you would have been like, and we love you…

Make It Personal and Specific.

What To Do When Your Friend Loses a Baby | pinchofyum.com

I’m not really going to try to explain this one but I am going to give you a bunch of real-life examples of things people have said to me, unprompted, that have made me feel like our friends and family really know how to love Afton well. I cannot even begin to describe to you how much these words mean to me.

Real things people have said or texted to me:

  • Our friend Eric: “Afton is such a cool name. Right away when I heard that was his name, I thought of crisp, cool air and spearmint gum. I thought of being at the top of a ski slope with big snowflakes slowly falling down. It’s peaceful and it reminds me of nature, especially winter. It’s got such a great Minnesota vibe to it.”
  • My friends: “We planted these perennials to celebrate Afton, in hopes that each spring they will come back as a reminder of him and of new life. We also included a lavender plant. We love you and Bjork and sweet Afton. We’ll always miss him.” – giving us a beautiful planter for Afton’s due date.
  • My sister Kristin: “My boys are still asleep, so I’m sitting here with my coffee, looking at this beautiful sunrise, and I’m just thinking of Afton. I feel like I’m spending time with him here this morning.”
  • My dad: “Never forgotten.” // “Looking at a beautiful moon tonight and thinking of our little guy.” // “Hanging out here tonight with our special guy.”  – all with pictures of sunsets, colorful “after light”, and Afton’s grave.
  • My mom: “Today we’re celebrating Easter but we’re also remembering the people who we love who aren’t here with us. We feel their absence and we miss them. So we have one candle for Grandma Joan, one candle for Uncle Rich, and one candle for sweet Afton.”
  • Bjork’s parents: “Adding this to our treasured family pictures in our home.” – a picture of Afton’s birth announcement in a frame.

What you could do/say:

  • If there is a time of year that is significant, maybe there is something you could do or recognize that is specific to that season. One of our friends bought us a Lenten Rose plant which blooms in the winter, between the time Afton was born and his due date (December – April). It was such a thoughtful gesture that was so personal to us and our story.
  • Many loss parents associate some kind of symbol with their baby. For us, it’s snow, and the moon, and what we call “after light” which is the time between afternoon and evening. When you see a symbol, take a picture and send it to your friend and tell them that you’re reminded of their baby. I would always love to get a text from someone saying that something, somewhere reminded them of Afton.
  • Put their picture up on your fridge or somewhere in your home. At one of our friend’s houses, we noticed that they had the program from Afton’s funeral hanging up with their other Christmas cards. Those little things mean a lot.
  • Tell them what you think of when you hear the baby’s name. We don’t get to see Afton grow up and live into his own identity, so having others to help us build an identity for him is so incredibly precious. You could say, “Here’s what I think of when I think of ____.”

Supply The Weird Post-Birth Stuff.

friend loses a baby, Pinch of Yum

Hey, guess what? Your friend lost her baby AND she also probably just gave birth or went through some kind of excruciating physical experience. So along with the overwhelming grief, she’s dealing with all the same boatload of weird stuff that women deal with after birth, and she probably is not able to think about self-care right now. This was one of the single most helpful things that anyone did for me.

Some of the best gifts (yes, I’m calling these gems GIFTS) that I got from friends after we lost Afton were medical and very weird and now I’m going to write them on the internet:

  • c-section underwear (you’re welcome)
  • high-waisted soft pants – like, 80 pairs of soft pants (if debating on the size, larger = better.)
  • magnesium chewy gummies to help with sleep
  • eye mask, also for sleep
  • essential oils for relaxing, sleep, etc.
  • girl-type products
  • digestive-type products
  • tummy wrap to wear under clothes
  • c-section scar treatment strips
  • etc., etc., etc.

Make Returns For Her.

What To Do When Your Friend Loses a Baby | pinchofyum.com

Just a few days before Afton was born, I had ordered a bunch of new maternity workout-wear. And I had been so excited about it. Of course, the package arrived to our house just a few days after we came home from the hospital. I wasn’t pregnant anymore. I didn’t have a baby. It was painful to look at it laying there on my desk. Like a ghost of my life from before.

A friend came over and saw the unopened package and said: here, let me return that for you.

Whether it’s new maternity clothes that won’t get worn or baby products that won’t get used, your friend might have some brand-new, returnable stuff laying around that you can just swoop in and return for her. Super, super helpful.

Just be wise – make sure that she wants it returned. Sometimes, even though the items might never get worn or used, they have emotional value to us loss moms. For example, Bjork and I have some baby clothes and toys that could easily be returned, but we will always want to keep them because they were Afton’s clothes and toys – a few of this only earthly possessions. So just make sure to be sensitive and pay attention to her cues.

You could say:

  • Is there anything you want me to pick up or return for you when I go to the mall this week?
  • Do you think you’ll keep ___’s things in a special place?
  • Are there any things you want me to return for you?

Help Her Socially.

What To Do When Your Friend Loses a Baby | pinchofyum.com

One of my most-dreaded things after losing Afton was making small talk in social settings. When strangers (or not) would go on and on about their favorite salad dressings or the latest movies or their new clearance sandals, I was beyond done. I had some epic mean-girl thoughts, such as: my son just died. stop talking about your pointless shoes already.

So yes, I am a treasure.

This was and still is especially true when the conversation moves to the topic of babies, baby showers, baby’s due dates, where was so-and-so going to deliver, and how cute other people’s babies are. I would stand there, physically present in these conversations, but just completely dead inside. I could not, for the life of me, think of a way to interact properly. Am I supposed to coo at the baby? Ask something about motherhood? What’s worse is that I felt like people were watching me to see how I was responding, like a car accident or something. Here comes the mom who just lost her baby – how will she react around other babies and pregnant moms? Answer: awkwardly. This is hard. Please stop looking at me.

If you are in a social situation with your friend, you can support her in a big, big way by being aware of how social dynamics might be affecting her. If you can stick close to her, change subjects when needed, and be a little extra talkative and friendly to others so she doesn’t have to, it gives her that space to just sit back and be socially awkward. And she needs that space.

You could: 

  • Invite her to a coffee date rather than a big dinner party.
  • Be gracious when she needs to cancel plans and stay home.
  • Stand next to her at a social gathering and steer the conversation to safety.

Grieve WIth Her On Important Days.

What To Do When Your Friend Loses a Baby | pinchofyum.com

There are important days in the calendar now that your friend will never, ever forget. The day my baby was born. The day that he died. The day she was due, the day of the scan, the day there was no heartbeat. Mother’s Day. Father’s Day. Christmas.

Loss moms feel the pain of loss every day, but these specific days are especially painful. Be intentional about reaching out to your friend on these days and even in the days leading up to the day, because sometimes the anticipation is worse. Set a recurring reminder in your calendar and have it end: never. Because even 20 years from now, Afton’s birthday will still be his birthday, and I will still want people to remember him.

You could say:

  • Thinking of ____ on his birthday. I know today is a hard day and I am remembering ____ with you.
  • I’m guessing this holiday season is a hard one since it’s your first without _____. I’m thinking of you.
  • Hey, with Mother’s Day coming up, I would love to get together and celebrate you and ____. Are you free tomorrow?

Bless you, bless you, BLESS YOU, friend.

That was a lot of words, and you are a rare and beautiful gem of a person for wanting to support your friend, cousin, sister, or loved one in this hard season.

One of my favorite accounts on Instagram, @laurelbox, says this:

“To the woman comforting a grieving friend: it is ok if you don’t know what to say to her. Although your words can’t make her heartache better, your presence and stillness can help ease her loneliness during grief. You don’t need fancy words. Just show up. Just be still. Just listen a lot and say little. Bring coffee and sit on her couch and light a candle and listen. Let her know that her new rhythm is your new rhythm for however long she needs.”

I’m sending so much love to you and your brokenhearted friend as you navigate these challenging waters of motherhood and loss. ♡ You are brave and you are strong and I’m proud to be doing this thing with you.

I would love to hear from you in the comments on this post – what has helped you or your friends through the loss of a baby?


Always sharing about grief and life and love stuffs on my personal Instagram account, @lindsaymostrom

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386 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Rebecca

    When I was in my darkest hours with my son in the hospital, I will never, ever forget the support my cousin/best friend gave to me.

    She just did what I needed her to do. If I spoke about off-topic things, she knew I wanted to be distracted, and she’d go in that direction. If I spoke about my fears, she would reassure me and help me strengthen my faith. And if I cried, she cried with me. This was most important.

    One of the most valuable things that one needs to remember is that you can’t dictate to your friend how to get through this loss. You can’t practice “tough love” or force her into something she’s not ready for. The soul heals in its own way.

    Thank you so much for this post, because, even though I’ve been through grief, I sometimes take the wrong tactic when I’m trying to comfort someone. Especially someone who I am desperate to see get better. Your post helped me to see what I was doing wrong (and I’m cringing now at some of the mistakes I made.)

    Lindsay, I hope you’re having a “swimming” day, I hope that you can feel the warmth of the sunshine, and I hope that the sunshine reminds you of Afton. You, Bjork and Afton are often in my thoughts and prayers. I know that I am a stranger who lives thousands of miles away, but if there is anything I can do in any capacity, please let me know. Until then, I’ll continue to read and comment and remember Afton with you.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      “Even though I’ve been through grief, I sometimes take the wrong tactic when I’m trying to comfort someone.” YES. I feel the exact same way. I should always know what to say since I’ve been there, but I often don’t, and I know I’ve said some “wrong” things to friends both before and after losing Afton. We just have to have grace for ourselves and others through the whole process, I think. Grace upon grace upon grace. Thank you for the comment.

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    i was driving to wisconsin over the weekend & drove by the “afton” exit on hwy 94. it was about 8 am & heading east into the morning sun made everything have a warm, luminous glow to it. i couldn’t help but smile & think “gosh, this is an afton moment, isn’t it?”

    thank you, lindsay…for continuing to share afton & for continuing to help us understand loss & love. nothing but my best to you & bjork, & afton of course. xx

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Rob

    Thank you. I know being the dad in this situation is way different than being the mom, but thank you. This is beautiful, and this is needed.

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Sophie

        I would love to read that post, after and during the journey of my friends losing their baby my girlfriend was surrounded by a really strong support network. It seems that more so girls are better at surrounding themselves by the help they need but people seem to overlook the Dads a bit in these circumstances I found it much harder to know how to show my support to him during this time.

      2. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Erin

        YES. Please. Acknowledge the father and his loss too. People were so focused on comforting me and bringing me gifts, my husband often went unnoticed. And he was even expected to be part of the grief-support team instead of part of the grieving. It’s his loss just as profoundly as it’s ours.

        I sobbed my way through this beautiful post, Lindsay, because love is beautiful. Grief is hard, but man the love that shines through… that’s powerful too. So much love to you guys, from our loss-family to yours.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Carolyn

    What a beautifully written article. I needed to hear all of your advice. I’ve never been good with talking to friends who are grieving. These tips are priceless.

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Thank you so incredibly much for sharing this post and all your posts about sweet Afton, Lindsay. I’ve followed your blog for almost 6 years now and you were the major inspiration to finally kick off my own, and so – in that weird, wonderful internet way – I feel like I know you.

    I was so excited for you guys when you announced your pregnancy because you were clearly going to be such amazing parents. I vividly remember lazing on the couch on New Years Eve and scrolling through Insta, seeing your black & white photo that started with something like “our lives are crashing in”, and feeling my heart jump into my throat. I cried like a child every time you shared a little more of Afton’s Story.

    But the thing is, I’m not a mom. While I can try to imagine the enormous, all-consuming, crushing grief you’re experiencing, I have no idea what you’re actually going through and nothing in my own life to draw on. I didn’t know what to say and was so scared I’d say the wrong thing. So I left a few very brief “thinking of your family” comments and joined the beautiful Feeding a Broken Heart series, but it wasn’t enough to let you know how deeply complete strangers across the internet loved your beautiful son.

    There are so many of us out here who adore you, Bjork, and sweet Afton. Sorry for not showing up before. We’ll be here now.

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Peggy

    This is wonderful advice Lindsay. I had two miscarriages, both years ago (at 16 weeks both times); the second miscarriage was twins. I do have two living sons, but I have lost more babies than I have had. I’ll never forget them, even though we never got to meet or hold them in our arms. Thank you for sharing your pain, your loss, with us.

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    this post is so beautiful, insightful and honestly, helpful. My sister lost a baby a few years ago and I just didn’t know what to say (if anything!) or do for her. I would have loved to have this insight back then to help her.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I’m so sorry that you’ve been in these shoes (as the friend). I hope you never have a reason to come back to this post again. 💙

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Flora

    Thank you so much. I just sent a text to my friend 😊 I absolutely needed some advise, and here you are… right on time! Thanks again for sharing this.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Kristi

      Thank you, I love to pray and try to be their for people, but with your friends or potential friends it can sometimes be difficult if you say the wrong thing, but I was glad that you said sometimes the most sacred friendships develop through making the wrong comment, thank you for the advice, it also reminds me we have to make time to give and not just words, everything happens in timing, thank you, blessings to you!

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Angie Rehn

    What a powerful and important piece. Thank you for your bravery. You’ve no doubt helped many people today.

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Lindsay, you are a beautiful soul. I’m so so sorry this wisdom has been so hard won through the loss of beautiful Afton. Thank you, though, for sharing it with all of us. This is an incredible post with an abundance of good ideas. I love how specific you were. It’s super helpful and I’ll surely be returning to it during painful times my loved ones encounter. Bookmarking this one asap. Sending love across the miles to you this Mother’s Day. Afton is a blessed little boy. xoxo

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    Hi Lindsay, I want to thank you for this post. Although I usually come drooling over your food pictures, this post really resonates. My mother lost my two twin brothers when I was just a three year old. Your advice on remembering the important days is so true. For my mum, it’s been more than 25 years but the loss is still very real. The story slips to the background of our family life but every so often, they are remembered in the little things that matter. Recently my dad gifted my mother a ring. It was holding 7 tiny stones, one for each of their children. There’s 5 of us and we’ve all grown up, but for them (and us) we’ll always be 7. I wish you and your beautiful family all the best.

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    Amy M.

    Beautiful! Everyone needs to read this. It’s just not something most people know how to handle.

    The only thing I would add is don’t forget the dad! I don’t think anyone, other than my family, acknowledged my husband’s loss.

    After many years of fertility treatments, I had an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy. Not only were our dreams gone, but I had to have surgery. It was scary for my husband and he could have used more support at the time. (After a good break we continued fertility treatments and had a son via IVF and then another son conceived naturally. The greatest gifts!)

    My story was over 20 years ago. It is so nice that now there are outlets, like this blog, where you can express your feelings, educate others, and have a whole network of people to support you.

    Praying for you and Bjork and Sweet Afton. I will continue to think of Afton just as I think of my sweet angel all these years later.

    Celebrate your first Mother’s Day with all the joy and love that Afton brought you. Celebrate the AMAZING MOM that YOU ARE.

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      This is wonderful. Thank you for adding this perspective about supporting dads. I wrote this primarily for women supporting women, but it’s not complete without including the other parent. I think everything you said is spot-on.

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    Rachel

    Thank you so much for posting this. The pain is so real and specific that it is so helpful to know what you’re going through. I’ve suffered with infertility for nine years of marriage now and many people do not understand the pain of it and how difficult certain things in life can be, or how they should handle the situation. Your openess about the pain of the miscarriage is such an eye opener.

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      Hi Rachel! Thanks for the comment. My son Afton was born alive and lived for one day, but I can imagine that miscarriage would be also incredibly painful. I have a few friends who have experienced infertility and it is has been a grief-filled journey for them as well.

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        rachel

        I am SO sorry. I knew this from following your blog but apparently my mind wasn’t all there when I typed the comment. 🙁

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      V.S

      Thank you. Thank you for being generous and sharing your thoughts and experience.
      This post will be shared with my friends and family, because I am currently, that “friend” and people need to know your most essential advice – Acknowledge my loss, say something. I lost my baby 3 weeks ago and am trying to navigate <3

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    Thank you for this beautiful post, Lindsey. I haven’t had a friend lose a baby, but I have had a friend that lost a husband suddenly. A lot of your helpful advice applies, being there, helping support them.
    For me and my friend, I texted her something small everyday. A hello, a thinking of you, a here’s what I made in the kitchen today since we both love food. For a while I didn’t get an answer, but I kept reaching out. The small talk, for her, helped give her some air in a very intense time in her life.
    Thank you again for this post, I know it will help so many. I will be thinking of you, Bjork, Sage and Afton this weekend. oxoxox

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      Wow, I’m so sorry for your friend’s loss. And yes. I know that is true for a lot of people, that they just want to have normal conversation again, and I feel that way too, once “the elephant in the room” has been acknowledged. Thank you for leaving such a personal comment.

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    Connie

    I am so, so sorry for your loss and the profound pain that follows . There is nothing more painful than the loss of a child and all the hopes and dreams you had for Afton.
    I “discovered” your blog while looking for recipes to make and take to a bed-bound friend who is desperately trying to preserve a much wanted pregnancy threatening to abort. Your comments have been very helpful.
    Sending love, prayers, and blessings to you, Bjork, and your beautiful baby Afton.

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    sara

    I have followed your story and have been impressed with your honesty and the love you have. However, to say “The truth is, I know motherhood in a deeper way than many ever will” makes it sound like there is some type of competition. There’s no reason to suggest other mothers have any less of an understanding of motherhood simply because their experience was different.

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      Jakky

      Sara, do you understand that Lindsay just poured out every bit of her broken soul to strangers on the internet so that others can be better comforted and can be better comforters to others? I can’t believe that you picked out one little line to criticize. Would you have listened to her, looked into her teary eyes over a cup of coffee, and then responded in that way? Please weigh your words more carefully when you comment in the future.

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      Jen

      Sara, I was really jolted by your comment and found it to be insensitive. As Jakky pointed out all Lindsay is trying to do is help others comfort their loved ones while still grieving the loss of her son.

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    Erin C.

    Thank you for how beautifully and honestly you addressed this painful topic. I’ll hold my kiddo extra tight tonight and appreciate each and every day I get with him. Thinking of you, Afton, and Bjork today and every day.

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    This is one of the most helpful posts I’ve ever read. Thank you for using your incredibly painful trial to help others. You are so brave and giving, Lindsey. I’m honored to share this article with many other moms and women on our social media. I know you haven’t met me and my co-blogger friend, Polly, but we just love the work you do here on POY. Such an inspiration to us. Praying for you all and thankful for the life of your sweet Afton. Hugs from Columbia, MO!

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    Betsy

    wow. this is the most amazing and helpful post i have read in a long time. thank you, lindsay, for sharing these thoughts and tangible ideas of how to comfort those who are grieving. my heart goes out to you and bjork. your words have been so real and raw …your pain is palpable, but so is your Hope. thankful you know the Lord who created you and your beautiful Afton. may He comfort you, especially this mother’s day. you are a beautiful person.

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    bydianedaniel

    I have read many of these sorts of lists and this was by far the most loving and positive, especially because it didn’t say what NOT to do. As always, you are uplifting, even in your grief. Thank you!

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    Thank you for sharing this wonderful advice. The beautiful and caring things that your friends and family said/did made me tear up.

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    Lindsay, Your journey has been shared with so many people. What an awesome legacy for Afton.

    Bjork, Sweet Afton, and you have been in my thoughts and prayers since I looked on Instagram on December 31st.

    This post is yet another way that you are honoring Afton and allowing his precious life to be a blessing to others.