web analytics
September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Coping With The Loss Of A Child

Loneliness

Dear Dr. Yael:

I recently lost a child soon after birth. I wish to sensitize the Klal on how to handle such a situation. My pain is very deep and I would like to point out some of the insensitive things that some people did or said, although they surely did not mean to be hurtful.

There are three categories of people: those very close to me (such as family members and friends); those I see occasionally, but who are not very close to me (such as neighbors and old friends); and acquaintances.

To those very close to me: it is important to remember that if you do not know what to say or do, or even if you think that you know what to say or do, please listen to the person in mourning and be careful how you respond. Here are some painful comments that were said to me:

1) “You are going to forget about it.” Fact: a mother will never forget. Saying something like “Just forget about it and go on and concentrate on all the berachos that Hashem gave you” may come from a good place, but is inappropriate.

2) “Most probably he was born sick,” or “Would you rather have a sick baby? or “You know that a child under 30 days old is considered a naful − so it’s no big deal.” Another painful comment: “You are young and you will still have more children.” While I hope that this will be true, please remember that this child, whom I carried under my heart for nine months, cannot be forgotten or replaced.

If you find yourself tongue-tied, the best thing to say is: “I am thinking about you,” or “I heard that you are going through a hard time and I have you in my tefillos.”

It is important to realize that a parent’s grief lasts much longer than one may realize, and even though they appear to be acting in a normal fashion, it remains important to be sensitive to their feelings. Even a few months later, close family and friends should not be surprised that parents are still “dwelling on it.”

Another category of potential insensitivity pertains to the neighbor or old classmate. It is best for these people to acknowledge the situation from the time they first meet the grieving parents in order to avoid feeling awkward in the future. Caring gestures like a homemade, baked item, a small gift, or a card are very appreciated and leave an extra-special warm feeling – that someone with whom you are not particularly close is thinking of you. It also takes away the lonely feeling of being “failures” or “ones who are different.”

To those of you fortunate to have had a baby at the same time: behave naturally. Be sure to not complain about how tired you are because you’re all-too-often getting up during the night for the child. But do not hide the baby’s existence from the person who is suffering. A woman who lost a baby may take an extra interest in children that age and may even have a good feeling when she sees other healthy children. She may want to hold and care for that baby for a moment, which can allow her to enjoy a warm experience.

Those who gave me the most chizuk are the ones who went through similar situations. Many people called to share their experiences with me. This sensitivity was most appreciated.

As for “acquaintances,” acknowledge the situation. You might feel that you are hurting them, but acknowledging their loss gives them chizuk and an opportunity to speak about it. Validating their feelings by saying “I heard you are going through a hard time” can make the couple think, “Yes, it is really awful.” But this gives them the encouragement to find the strength to go on.

To the grieving parents: if someone gives you the chance to share your painful feelings, admit that your loss is painful. Allow yourself to say, “I can get stronger.”

I hope that no one ever bears the pain that I’ve endured. And I hope that my letter sensitizes others to help people deal with such a loss – if it ever tragically occurs.

A Mother in Pain

Dear Mother in Pain:

I appreciate your letter, which I hope will have a profound influence on our community. You eloquently expressed yourself, and I believe your ideas will be helpful to others. May Hashem give you the strength to overcome the pain of your loss. Hatzlachah!

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “Coping With The Loss Of A Child”

  1. Alana Ronald says:

    When I lost my son, the most hurtful thing was losing my father 6 mos. later and having a "friend" show me photo after photo of her son at the Shiva. Not all people want to be confronted with the sight of a newborn child of their friend and not all want to hold a baby. This person thought it would "show me a brighter future was possible", but it had the opposite effect I found it cruel, insensitive, and competitive.

  2. This letter brought tears to my eyes. I waswith you nwhen you nlost your son, and I saw the pain you went through. No one can ever forget such a loss. You learn to live with it but it is always a part of you. My bgrandmother suffered such a loss, had another heqalthy child, had 5 grandchilren, and 40 years later still cried over the loss. As for the "friend" showing the pictures she is more of a fiend than a friend. I hope that one day she gets paid back in spades.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Protest rally against Metropolitan Opera staging Death of Klinghoffer on 9/22 at 4:30 pm at the Met.
For Grass Roots Klinghoffer Protest 9/22, Jewish Establishment MIA
Latest Sections Stories

Three sets of three-day Yomim Tovim can seem overwhelming – especially when we are trying to stay healthy.

Plotkin-092614

Is a missed opportunity to do a mitzvah considered a sin?

Teens-Twenties-logo

The sounds and scents of the kitchen are cozy, familiar, but loud in the silence.

Baim-092614-Plate

Everyone has a weakness. For some people it is the inability to walk past a sales rack without dropping a few hundred dollars. For others, it’s the inability to keep their house organized.

His entire life was dedicated to Torah and he became a pivotal figure in the transmittal of the Oral Torah to the next generation.

When you don’t have anyone else to turn to… that’s when you’re tied to Hashem the closest.

While we all go to restaurants for a good meal, it is dessert, that final taste that lingers in your mouth, that is the crown jewel of any dining experience and Six Thirteen’s offerings did not disappoint.

Today, fifty years and six million (!) people later, Israel is truly a different world.

There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.

In Uzbekistan, in the early twentieth century, it was the women who wore the pants.

This is an important one in raising a mentsch (and maybe even in marrying off a mentsch! listening skills are on the top of the list when I do shidduch coaching).

While multitasking is not ideal, it is often necessary and unavoidable.

More Articles from Dr. Yael Respler
Respler-092614

Not enjoying saying no, I often succumbed to requests viewing them as demands I couldn’t refuse.

Respler-091214

It’s fair to say that we all know or have someone in our family who is divorced.

I recently met a wonderful woman who writes poetry. With her permission, I am sharing a poem she wrote about time.

What can we do to help him stop feeling so sad all the time?

Perhaps you can reach a compromise during this news frenzy, whereby you will feel more comfortable while he can still follow the latest events.

There could be no Jewish-themed books and, as such, the lack of knowledge these boys displayed in regards to many of the topics we read about was clear.

Upon hearing that he did, the owner sent him the atarah – all shiny and new – to be returned to me. I was reunited with my father’s precious gift.

A prominent shadchan recently articulated a dilemma she’s facing.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/marriage-relationships/coping-with-the-loss-of-a-child/2013/08/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: