When a family experiences a pregnancy or infant loss with siblings old enough to understand what is going on, it can be very difficult for them as well.  When they are old enough to understand but not old enough to be able to cope through the feelings, it can be even more difficult.  Love and support from parents and loved ones is extremely important through this process.


From our research and in speaking with nurses and others that have years of experience in this, here is a short list of what has been found most helpful:


  • Allowing them to see and hold their baby brother or sister after delivery.  We were contemplating not doing this but are so glad our nurse shared her experiences with us.  Children are much smarter than we may think. Part of their healing is being able to understand what happened.  Seeing their baby brother and/or sister may help with this.
  • Talking about their Heaven sibling.  If the older siblings ask what happened, consider sharing a version of the story appropriate for their age.
  • Making your Heaven baby a part of your home and daily life.  You can do this by talking about them, including pictures of them around your home, having things that remind you of them in your home and many other ways.
  • Be honest with them.  Keeping in mind that every child is different, it's ok to cry in front of your children.  They are sad too and they can also be a source of comfort to you.  Seeing your honesty will help them feel they are not alone.
  • Gifting something special that they can keep with them that is part of their sibling.  This may be a stuffed animal, Christmas ornament, blanket, jewelry, room decoration or other item.  We were gifted two bears at Abigail's memorial (one for Isabel and another for Abigail). Abigail's bear became her "Abigail bear".  We were also gifted a blanket that a friend had already started crocheting for Abigail but is Isabel's now and is her "Abigail blanket".  There are a few other things we have for her where she feels a little part of her sister is still with her.  These things have been much more instrumental in her healing than I would have thought.  


You may need to do a little adjusting to this list, depending on their age but overall, something on this list will hopefully help an older sibling and we hope and pray it does.


Losing Abigail was not only heartbreaking for us but also for her big sister, Isabel.  She had her hopes and dreams with her little sister and they were shattered.  We noticed a change in her behavior the month after Abigail's birth and worked hard to help her through the pain.  Children enjoy talking and for her, we found that talking about Abigail and making her a part of our life here, helped.  So we talk about Abigail everyday.  Isabel has an Abigail bear that was gifted to us at Abigail's memorial which she likes to sleep with.  Abigail has a Christmas stocking that is hung on the mantel with ours.  Even though, she still has difficult times, we have seen strides of improvement and healing in her.  She loves her little sister and always will.


If there are other things that you have found helpful in the older sibling's healing process, please send us a message.  We'd love to hear from you!

WAYS TO HELP SIBLINGS THROUGH PREGNANCY LOSS

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support 

Abigail's Hope