While one couple gets ready for their very first Valentine’s Day together, another couple will mourn the loss of their first child. As one couple excitedly makes plans for the perfect Valentine’s Day, another couple makes plans to carefully avoid all the festivities. Valentine’s Day, like New Year’s Day, can feel a little different when you are mourning or pregnant after loss. It’s not that we no longer believe in love, it’s just that special days all feel a bit different now, and this may make it difficult to know how to approach this holiday. Do you try to celebrate the day with them, or do you give them space to grieve alone?
Here are five acts of love that you can gift to a partner, family, friend, or co-worker experiencing loss or pregnancy after loss this Valentine’s Day, regardless of how they want to celebrate the day.
Can you show that you care enough to try to understand how they feel? That even if you stand on opposite sides of death, you are there whenever they may need you. Give hugs, send notes, food, warm blankets, candles, gift baskets, baked goods – anything that lets your loved one know that you are thinking of them and what they may need during this time.
There is a lot to do over the Valentine’s Day holiday. Would you take a moment to sit with your loved one and celebrate the love that lives on in their heart? Can you share a cup of coffee or slice of cake and talk about their baby in heaven or how worried they are about the next ultrasound? Will you call them in the middle of the day and remind them that you love and care about them? Can you understand how much it means to them to know that even though you may never fully understand how they feel; you are taking time out of your day to be with them? Pregnancy loss and pregnancy after loss can feel so lonely. Will you give them the gift of your time, your smile, and your company?
When they say no to the Galentine’s Day invitations or the couple’s dinner, will you stand up for them and not think they need to “move on” like the others? Will you advocate for them at the office when trying to decide if to still include them in an after-work activity? Can you share what you learned about pregnancy after loss with those closest to them and encourage them to be more gentle with your loved one? When they whisper about them grieving too long, will you publicly defend them? The greatest act of love you can do will often occur when they are nowhere around, but its effects will definitely be felt by your loved one.
Words of encouragement
Tell them that you love them and how proud you are of them. Say that you know the pain is impossible but that they are handling it with beauty and grace. Say that you cannot wait to see them holding their baby in their arms and that you are praying for them. Let them know that it may seem your relationship is changing right now, but you are committed to being the partner/friend they need, even when it is hard.
Educate yourself on what they need. Read articles on loss and pregnancy after loss. Ask if it is okay for you to share articles and resources that you think may be helpful. Ask them what they would like their Valentine’s Day to look and feel like and then follow through with it.
These are all helpful tips that can be used long after Valentine’s Day is over and go a long way to showing your love to someone in your life.
- Get our book, Pregnancy After Loss Support: Love Letters to Moms Pregnant After Loss
- 8 Ways to Find Emotional Support After Experiencing Pregnancy or Infant Loss
- Supporting a Loved One after Loss Means Sitting with Them in their Grief, Not Only their Joy
- When You Don’t Know What to Say: 5 Tangible Ways to Support a Grieving Family
- Miscarriage, Stillbirth, Infant Loss, and Pregnancy After Loss: It Takes a Village, and a Sisterhood
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