The grief that comes from the loss of a baby never truly goes away, but supportive loved ones can make all the difference for new grievers. We spoke to Patti Budnik from Share Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support about just how important a strong support system can be in the wake of a pregnancy or infant loss.
1. What’s the one piece of advice you give the most often?
To find someone that gives you the support you need and take each day one at a time.
2. What are some of the universal experiences you’ve seen in your work?
The feelings of shock, anger, sadness, and blame are the most commonly experienced. The need and desire to isolate oneself. Often the experience of grief is surprising to parents and families.
3. What’s one thing you’d like to share with a new griever?
You are not alone. There are a large number of families that have suffered the loss of a baby. These parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends make up an amazing and inspiring community of support.*
*Legacy.com has private grief support groups that can help, including one specifically for pregnancy and infant loss. Find them here.
4. What are some ways others can help support someone in their grief?
Simply say “I am sorry for your loss.” Use the baby’s name when possible. Remember the grieving family not just at the time of the loss but at other big and important times (birthdays, anniversary of the loss, a parent’s due date, holidays, etc.).
5. Are there any aspects of grief others may find surprising?
I think that it is important to find out what the loss meant to the individual. Sometimes, especially with an early pregnancy loss parents may view the loss as a pregnancy loss not necessarily the loss of a baby. Everyone grieves differently and is writing their own story. It is not uncommon to delay your grief. Losing a baby or a child is something that forever changes you.
6. Is there anything else you’d like to share that you think can help others?
I think that there is such a powerful strength and support that comes with peer support. Sharing the experience of a loss with someone who has had a similar experience is so powerful. You can feel very alone in your grief and loss, especially when the loss is sudden. Having someone present with you that has been through the pain that you are feeling, sends a message that healing is possible. Being the person who can offer that kind of support is using their personal experience in such a caring and healing way.
Patti Budnik started at Share in 2013 with 20 years of nursing experience all spent in the NICU and Labor & Delivery. Patti’s personal loss of a sister and an Early Pregnancy Loss have opened her eyes and heart for the mission of Share. Patti is the primary educator for our parent companion program, an educator for our professional training’s, facilitates a monthly early Loss support group and manages the First Response program at the Share office. She and her husband have married 16 years and 3 daughters.
Are you grieving a pregnancy or infant loss? Find support from others in our private grief support group.