For Friends and Family
Do you have a friend or family member who has just received a Trisomy 18 diagnosis for his/her child? Has a friend just said goodbye to his/her child with Trisomy 18? Do you want to help but aren't sure just what to say or what to do?
When a family receives a Trisomy 18 diagnosis, it can be a very traumatic time. In many ways, it signifies the loss of the vision for a child and often means the death of a child, as well.
Here are some ways you can help:
Things you can do:
- Show friendship and concern
- Listen to your friend who is grieving
- Offer patient and unconditional love
- Talk about your friend’s child with him/her
- Keep in mind that anniversaries, holidays, and birthdays can be extra challenging times
- Remember the child; your friend ALWAYS will even when the loss is no longer fresh
- Cook a meal, clean the house, or wash clothes
- Check in often
- Remember that there is no timeline for grief and mourning
Things you may want to avoid:
- Don’t avoid your bereaved friend
- Don’t offer quick advice or judgment
- Don’t minimize the loss
- Don’t think mentioning the child’s name will cause more pain; you will not cause more hurt since the pain of loss is already there
While many things we say as friends are meant to be helpful, they often are not well-accepted by a grieving parent or family member.
Things NOT to say:
- “I know how you feel”
- “Time heals the pain”
- “You can always have another baby”
- “He’s in a better place now”
- “God only gives you what you can handle”
Instead, tell your friend how sorry you are for his/her loss. It is okay to admit that you do not understand exactly what they are going through or how they may be feeling.