web analytics
August 27, 2014 / 1 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



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
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman
Political Fallout Begins From Ceasefire
Latest Sections Stories
Mordechai-082214-Armoire

As of late, vintage has definitely been in vogue in the Orthodox community.

Einhorn-082214-Water

Stroll through formal gardens, ride mountain bikes, or go rock climbing.

Teens-082214

As they fall upon us we go
To the WALL.

One minute you’re shaving shwarma off a pit, then the shwarma guy tells you he read a (fake) WhatsApp that the boys are dead.

I probe a little deeper and Shula takes me into the world of phantom pains and prosthetic limbs.

This went on until she had immersed eighty times, and then Hashem at last took pity upon her.

Because Menachem lives in Israel, he can feel the ruach in the air.

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

Leon experienced the War of Independence from a soldier’s perspective, while remaining true to his Jewish ideals and beliefs.

Chabad of Arizona centers recently hosted an evening of remembrance to mark the 20th yahrzeit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

A CPE class at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn was tailor made for Orthodox participants.

More Articles from Dr. Yael Respler
Respler-Yael

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

Respler-081514

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.

The real solution to bullying is to empower the bullied child.

My teachers like me and they tell my parents that I am a great girl with good middos.

Some yeshivish couples do not believe in going out with other couples, but that does not mean that the women cannot have social lives.

In my experience, modern schools tend to be more open-minded toward other flavors of Judaism.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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: