I’ve been following a thread on a community website which poses the question: “What can I give a friend who’s just had a stillbirth?”
The consensus was that the friend probably doesn’t need any material things at this time, just support and a shoulder to cry on – both right now and on an ongoing basis.
However, they also came up with some good suggestions for appropriate gift ideas. Here’s the pick of them:
- An “In Loving Memory” rose plant
- A crystal to hang in the window (it casts rainbows when it catches the sun)
- A home-cooked meal or some fresh fruit (one correspondent noted that people often bring sugar-laden foods)
- Do some practical things to help, like taking her other children (if she has any) out on a trip; or doing some housework or gardening for her.
One correspondent pointed out that gifts of plants oughtn’t be too big: some people give tree saplings, which is a kind thought, but in time they tend to grow rather large, and not everybody’s yard has space for a tree.
Another has mentioned – as per her comment attached to this post – that, whatever people do, acknowledging the stillbirth is important. If you feel uncomfortable discussing it in person, send a suitable condolence card saying how sorry you are. But avoiding referring to the stillbirth at all, as if it had never happened – either because of your own discomfort or because you’re worried that the mother will become upset – is not a good idea.