Sunday, January 15, 2017

Suggestions needed

I would love to hear suggestions about how to bless, acknowledge, console, and celebrate the gift of life.  Because of the internet, we all have had the opportunity to meet many families that experience the joy of a new pregnancy, the grief of a miscarriage or death of a child, and the wonderful news of a new baby.  I want to celebrate with my friends but need suggestions beyond "Congratulations!"  and "We are praying for you!"  

What would you send a family that miscarried?

What would you send a family/mother/friend who lost a baby shortly after birth? 

What would you send an close internet friend who just had a baby?

What would you send an internet friend who miscarried?

What would you send a friend who found out she is expecting her 11th baby? 3rd baby? 8th baby?

 Thank you in advance!!  God bless!


30 comments :

  1. Great questions Lindsay! From personal experience, I have been on the receiving end of some really thoughtful and wonderful words of consolation after some of our repeated miscarriages. One in particular stands out from a few years ago. A whole group of my close internet friends, most of whom I have still never met in person but are such amazing friends all got together unbeknownst to me and sent me a beautiful letter containing a spiritual bouquet and also some chocolate covered strawberries. It really touched me! I also received a card on the expected due date of one of our miscarried children and that was great because they took the time to remember my baby, when so many others had long forgotten. At my parish they have a meals for new mom's ministry, but they also have one for women who have gone through a miscarriage. The coordinator asked me if this is something I would have liked and of course, there is a different level of sensitivity for those types of situations, but I said "Yes"! So, instead of bringing new moms a meal a couple times a week for a few weeks, the meals for women have miscarried it set-up that a bunch of different women make a set of freezer meals, collect them all and then one person brings them over to the family and includes a little gift basket full of resources to help them with the grieving process and a little memento to remember their child by (along with information on how to have their child remembered - they can have their name engraved on the Unborn Memorial at our cemetery, etc.) For my close internet friends that have had babies, I do try to send them a little something whether it be an outfit, or I really like cute little Saint books and I send that to them. But life happens and sometimes the timing of the gift though is bit delayed, I finally got a couple of "new baby" gifts sent out before Christmas and those babies were 16 months and 7 months old. ;) I also have organized some spiritual bouquets for people who have experienced miscarriages and that has been a grace filled activity. I look forward to seeing what other people recommend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This might be obvious, but can you elaborate on what a spiritual bouquet is? Thank you! It sounds beautiful.

      Delete
    2. Oh of course! Sorry, I should haven't left that part out! It can take on many forms, but at the core of it, people offer various prayers, rosaries, their attendance at Mass for the intended recipient. People can pick whatever they want to and then the organizer collects them all and then gives them to the recipient. I have participated in a few over the years and the one I was on the receiving end of following one of my miscarriages had all of the following in the letter I received: 9 Rosaries, 6 Divine Mercy Chaplets, The St. Gianna Chaplet (begins 4/20), Daily Prayers, Sacrifices for the week, St. Jude Novena, A Mother’s Prayer, Offering of the Mass, CD1, A week of daily Rosaries, Prayers in front of a 1st class JP2 relic. It was a group of 20 of my friends that were included in that letter, so every woman put what she wanted to do and then one of my friends grouped them together and sent them to me. It meant so much to me and I still think about. Another idea that our local Catholic school did recently, was have all of the kids in each class commit to some prayer or other devotional for our Pastor in honor of Clergy Appreciation Day. The teachers then collected them by class and gave them to him. I saw the first grade class and their's was so cute. They each traced one of their hands on a piece of paper, cut it out, wrote their offering on each finger and then curled the fingers up. They attached a pipe cleaner (I think or maybe just a piece of paper) to the base of the hand and the teacher collected them in bouquet. It looked like an actual bouquet of lilies the way the fingers were curled up. It was really cute! Lots of ideas I think on Pinterest for decorating and making a spiritual bouquet. But it could be as simple as you want, or as elaborate as you want, but the most important part is lifting up the person in prayer.

      Delete
    3. What great insight, Marie! I love all of this and will come back to read this several times. You certainly have carried this cross of losing and wanting babies! Thank you for taking the time to write! You are so right! The wonderful gift of a spiritual bouquet would be overwhelmingly wonderful and so meaningful! Great idea! Thank you friend!

      Delete
  2. I'm looking forward to hearing these answers!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is such a sweet idea Lindsay! I still have a tiny little handmade pewter heart that a good friend gave me after maybe first or second miscarriage-it was just the perfect gift that meant so much to me and I still keep in my drawer. I've also received a St. Gerard holy card that I adored and really helped me get through some worrisome pregnancies. We have a studio near us that makes gorgeous stone sculptures-I have given and received them especially this one (they also have angels, saints, etc):
    http://www.carruthstudio.com/products/Garden-Pixie.aspx
    I pictured my little ones wrapped up like this, waiting for me in heaven.
    I think from you Lindsay, words of encouragement would be enough because moms of many need support as we often feel lonely in the work we do. It would be a rare and precious gift, and you have a wonderful way of encouragement about you!



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A tiny little heart! So perfect! Such great ideas here! YES! Words of encouragement are so important! A friend once told me to remember that you gave birth. You had a child except that child isn't in your arms. Good things to remember!
      Thank you.

      Delete
  4. After a second trimester miscarriage, a friend ordered me a gold ring that would have fit our baby. It was very small but there are online sources for these rings. It's a nice physical reminder to me that our baby was real and it looks good added onto an existing pendant on any necklace.

    I have received many handwritten notes after losses and I think that is the easiest and most meaningful. So many people just go silent after miscarriages as they don't know what to say. Just say some form of -you are so sorry about the loss of their dear baby and you are there for them. It means a lot. I still have all the notes I received.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a thoughtful gift and so personal and perfect! I love it! How are you and the little guy doing? Notes are always so meaningful too!

      Delete
  5. I love the idea of miscarriage ornaments. My kids all have special yearly ornaments they receive. So to have one for our miscarried child is special to us. If you search "miscarriage ornaments" on etsy, there are some great choices. We were part of a community that gave us a plant in remembrance of our baby. Because we lost our baby early and there were no remains, they also had her name engraved at a memorial sight for the unborn. And because we moved and were unable to visit, my friend made a crayon rubbing of her engraving. That piece of paper is very precious to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ornaments!! I never thought of that! Such a great visual reminder. I am going to search for those on etsy. Thank you!

      Delete
  6. To a mom who has discovered she'll be having #8,#9, or more, just say, "How wonderful." "Joyous News", or a nice card conveying those sentiments - let her know the child is welcome and a blessing! Flowers might be nice, but not everyone likes flowers (or has a household where cut flowers last more then an hour before little toddlers or pets attack them.)
    To select a gift for a baby who is #8, #9, or more can be a challenge. I have 11 kids, and when people would ask me what I needed, I'd draw a blank. We had most of the baby stuff, and as you have more kids, you realize you need less than you thought. What did help are gift cards for restaurants/fast food, so in the first weeks post baby, the family can get an easy meal if it's one of those crazy days. Or a set of paper plates/bowls/cups to cut down on dishes in the first weeks.
    One of my sisters had 8 cheese pizzas delivered after my 10th child - they ate it for a meal or two, and the extras went into the deep freeze to be pulled out for a quick lunch or dinner in the following weeks. After #11, she had 24 sub sandwiches sent - it kept the kids and dad at home going for days.
    For a family who has lost or miscarried a child, I think a flowers or tree that can be planted in the yard would be a lovely way to remember the baby. If they don't have a yard where this would be possible, sometimes city or school parks will have opportunities to donate a tree/plant in someone's memory. A tangible reminder of someone's short life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for this great insight! I love the 8 cheese pizzas. Food is such a gift! Truly.

      Delete
  7. My first two pregnancies ended in miscarriage. I was devastated at the loss of these two children, but I didn't know how to talk about it or grieve over it. I think if someone told me it was okay to be sad, it was okay to take time, that would have been helpful. Just because it happens often doesn't mean you must act like nothing happened.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so right! We have lost four babies and I always wonder who they were! We love each so much and I cannot help but to have wanted to hold them too! I am sorry for your losses.

      Delete
  8. I received a small statue of the pieta after my miscarriage and it will always remind me of my sweet baby. It was a very emotional gift to receive and I prefer not to cry in front of people so maybe mail it or wrap and let the person open in private. Also, right after a miscarriage I was so emotional it was hard to talk about at all, but once I was more ready (2-3 weeks after) everyone else wanted to pretend it never happened.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a beautiful gift you received. I love the pieta. I am sorry for the loss of your little one.

      Delete
  9. For moms having their third or more child, i like to send an embroidered stroller blanket from pottery barn kids w the child's name and birth date on it. It's just a nice thing as it's more unlikely that a later child in a big fam will have a personalized item.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love this so much! What a great idea! I have a thing for blankets!

      Delete
  10. Simply acknowledging a miscarriage meant the world to me. We've had 7, and only once did someone send a card. Feeling alone, grieving alone - that was almost harder than losing a baby for me. When friends have miscarried, I've tried to send cards, or flowers, or a dessert or meal. When I was pregnant with #1 and almost lost her, you brought me a children's book, and it gave me so much HOPE as I lay there on bedrest. Some of the best gifts I've received are simply notes or cards of congratulations, especially encouragement because being open to life takes a kind of bravery I just don't have. We're currently expecting #8, and I can't believe the reactions of some people, even Catholic friends... not positive ones. When a good friend gushes about how lucky we are, how blessed we are, that encouragement is so appreciated! Any gift, big or small, for those babies, it just means the world that someone cares and believes they are a gift from God.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great point!!! A million CONGRATULATIONS on your newest little one! I have such a heart for all babies, but especially later babies in families as they usually don't exist in this world. I want to acknowledge their greatness and wonderfulness like they were our first or second babies. You know? They have no less value and I'm not quite sure how that mentality began. I've never had THIS baby before. Ever. Nor has the world ever known this specific person so ??? Anyway, we are thrilled for you! Such great news and I am so sorry for the loss of your precious babies. It is so lonely. I understand. I wanted you. I wanted all of you. I wanted to see you and know you. God bless. Thanks for writing.

      Delete
  11. Your blog is my absolute favorite. So uplifting, so encouraging, and so God-honoring!! Here is a post from another Catholic blog that I have bookmarked on this subject. The author has wonderful ideas for grieving parents: http://www.motheringspirit.com/after-loss/what-to-do-when-a-friend-loses-a-baby/

    ReplyDelete
  12. When I lost a pregnancy, a friend planted some bulbs at my house. I like to see the flowers come up each year, reminds me of that baby.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Lindsay,

    I too always wonder what I can do to congratulate a friend on a pregnancy or comfort a friend after a miscarriage. After we lost our little Dominic, our community was SO wonderful to us! I received dinners, cards, flowers, etc. But my favorite gifts were a small statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe that I keep in my kitchen so I see it every day and a Willow Tree statue (or can be an ornament) of an angel holding a baby. And two of my friends just found out they were expecting #7, so I would love to get them a card and even make them dinner, as we all know how tough that first trimester can be! I love all the ideas everyone has shared!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love immediate phone calls, squeals of joy for good friends! And then, food. I wish I could send some to people whose blogs I love, or people I don't know in person, but I don't want to ask and seem creepy! Food when people have morning sickness, miscarriage, baby. Each time, you have something else you would rather concentrate on- but people need to eat, so it takes care of one burden. I paid for a housecleaning when a friend had a stillborn baby. 4 tiny kids- she was sick, anemic and in bed. I ran to the pharmacy and get her iron pills without telling her, because I knew she needed them. I think when people ask what someone needs, they might not get a real answer. This was a great blog question! I have had health struggles- out of the blue, after an injury during a routine hernia surgery. I was fine, and then all of a sudden I was bed ridden, with chronic pain. The food train began! My priests wife tutors my homeschooled kids.

    ReplyDelete
  15. The Earth Mama/Angel Baby brand (they make all natural body care products) sells a baby loss gift package that is lovely. Some friends of mine sent one to me after our full-term loss.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Food. Always food. Or a gift card for coffee...or food :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Laurel Box.com is an amazing company that sends beautiful boxes to grieving mothers on your behalf. I've used them for a friend who miscarried and for my aunt who lost her son (my cousin at 26 yrs old)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Laurel Box.com is an amazing company that sends beautiful boxes to grieving mothers on your behalf. I've used them for a friend who miscarried and for my aunt who lost her son (my cousin at 26 yrs old)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Laurel Box.com is an amazing company that sends beautiful boxes to grieving mothers on your behalf. I've used them for a friend who miscarried and for my aunt who lost her son (my cousin at 26 yrs old)

    ReplyDelete