what to do for friend grieving loss

Last month, we fell in love with the lesson learned from the viral post below. Whether you have a friend grieving pregnancy loss or a loss of any kind, here are incredible tips for how to truly help from Box for Loss co-founder, Bryn Young…

We’ve all done it—asked a friend, “please let me know if you need anything.” While the intention is always earnest, that question places the burden on the receiver to ask for help, which can be difficult during difficult times.

When Ashlee Gadd experienced a miscarriage, her friend Anna Quinlan showed up in a simple yet heartfelt way. The now-viral Instagram post “Friendship: a thread,” Gadd shows what supporting a friend who’s experienced a miscarriage can look like and with more than 23k likes, it’s touched the hearts of people everywhere.

Instead of asking how her friend was doing, Quinlan texted Gadd a multiple-choice questionnaire. The text read:

“Checking on you. Please choose from the following: 1. I pick your kids up anytime after 3:30 today & show them a good time through dinner (which would be at Chick-fil-A, obvi, & would include takeout brought back for you). 2. I send DoorDash dinner of your choice to you (This offer is valid any day this week. Also next week.) 3. I have to go to Target today, I can pick up anything you need & drop it on your doorstep & not talk to you at all. 4. I can send prayers & good vibes & you can politely decline any tangible services at this time.”

This friend offered simple, tangible options without requiring her grieving and emotionally fatigued friend to come up with something. There are many different ways we can show up for our friends and loved ones who may be grieving pregnancy or infant loss and sometimes the simplest gestures are often the best and most meaningful.

Offer to-do daily tasks. Offer to-do specific tasks for the family. When grieving, people are not often able to identify how they could use help and will not usually have the strength to call someone who has offered to help. For example: “May I deliver dinner to your doorstep tomorrow evening?”. Other tasks could include caring for other children, cleaning the house, grocery shopping, washing the car, doing laundry, picking up family members or calling others on their behalf.

Gift a keepsake or memorial item. Flowers, trees, figurines or jewelry/crystals are examples of items that can be a source of comfort, support, and remembrance—planting a tree in honor of the lost baby or gifting jewelry to commemorate the loss.

Gift them a Box for Loss, a physical and emotional support box designed specifically to nurture mothers and families going through the loss of a pregnancy. Co-founded by midwives, Box for Loss features products that are holistic, non-toxic, organic, and sustainably created by women-owned, small businesses (womb warmers, handcrafted tinctures, herbal vaginal steams help ease the pain and discomfort of cramping, essential oil rollers, medicinal tea and more). The box also includes informational guides with an open line to their support networks, thus becoming part of a community.

box for loss

Treat them to a wellness experience. Gifting a health + wellness ritual to support them emotionally like a massage, belly binding or a womb meditation healing session.

It’s important to avoid statements that minimize their emotions, tell them how to feel, or rely on religious or spiritual beliefs unless you are certain it aligns with how the family is feeling such as: “It’s probably for the best,” “God only takes the best,” “Now you have an angel,” “At least they didn’t suffer,” or “At least you didn’t know them well.”

Box for Loss, Co-Founder, Torie Borrelli Hall shares, “One out of every four pregnancies ends in miscarriage, and most women go through it alone, if I can help even one woman feel less scared, isolated, or ashamed it will be worth it.”

Everyone grieves in their own way and loss affects each person differently. Remember these parents dreamt about sharing special moments with this baby, so this loss includes the loss of these dreams. Give them time and space to grieve. Know that they will find joy and hope again and your support will be an essential tool for them as they progress through the grieving process.

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