'We had people crossing over the road to avoid us': How to help someone who has lost a baby

Marie and Howell Edwards lost their baby Emeleia May at just 13 days old.

She was born at 23 weeks, when Marie went into early labour, but after a week in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Birmingham Women's Hospital, Emeleia began to deteriorate and the family had to say goodbye.

Credit: Marie and Howell Edwards

Ever since, they say people have struggled to speak to them about their daughter.

Some haven't known what to say, and some have even crossed the road to avoid having what they believe will be a difficult conversation.

Every day in the UK around 14 babies die before, during or soon after birth, leaving grieving parents in need of support from those around them.

There is lots of help and guidance available on the Sands website, but in the charity's awareness month, we asked the couple to share their experiences, and what would have helped them.

  • It's really important to speak about the child to acknowledge that they existed, even if it was for a short time.

  • Ask about the baby - their name, their details, what they looked like.

  • Don't be afraid to upset someone who has lost a baby - they're already dealing with indescribable pain.

  • If you think you'll be upset - put yourself in the parents' shoes.

  • Don't avoid the grieving parents or the subject, ask and listen.

  • Don't be afraid to say the wrong thing.

  • The more people talk about it, the more bereaved parents will know they're not alone.

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