How to Support a Coworker who lost their first born right after birth

Back in January one of my coworkers had their baby, just days afterwards she became an angel due to complications from child birth. 

I'm not sure how else we can support him and his wife during this time (sent them meals, flowers, cards). I know that they are struggling with the marriage and being able to pick up the pieces from losing their firstborn. But since I'm not personally very close to either of them, I am looking for ideas on how to show them continued support, even though it's been several months, our dear coworker has changed. And we just want to show them we know that this pain isn't going to magically go away, but that through it we are there for him and his wife. Especially since Mother's day just passed and Father's day is just around the corner. My heart breaks for them knowing how excited they were to welcome their little one. 

Any suggestions on what we can do to show them continued support? I'm afraid to bring it up, but I still make sure to say hi and ask about him and his wife. But he doesn't talk about his daughter. Any ideas would be really helpful. 


10 Replies

  • In reply to jthomas603:

    That's what this place is all about, supporting and networking even more support. It makes me very happy to know that my experience could help someone I have never even met or spoken to. You're very welcome. Feel free to refer your co-worker and his wife here if it seems appropriate in conversation.
  • In reply to Akeelah's Mommy:

    Hi Lauren, thank you so much for your words of encouragement. I was able to start a conversation and my coworker even shared some photos of his daughter with me. Everything you mentioned was pretty much right on the nose. I can't thank you enough for sharing your perspective, I was really nervous to have that first conversation, but your message was all I needed to hear to know it was okay to approach him. Many blessings to you and your family.
  • In reply to nmiller77:

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss and I hope that you and your husband have been able to find the support you are looking for. And thank you for your suggestions, I was able to have a conversation with my coworker, and more so just share that all of us are here for him and his wife and we are even planning to walk together in the next March of Dimes event.
  • In reply to Josie12907:

    Hi Brandi, thank you so much for your kind words. I am so sorry to hear of that difficult time in your journey and hope that you have been able to find more support, even support in this amazing community. All of your comments gave me the encouragement to reach out to my coworker and start a conversation, he was very grateful and appreciated knowing that his family and their loss was not forgotten. So thank you so much for helping me and in turn helping him.
  • In reply to hobbes579:

    Thank you for sharing your perspective - I did finally get a chance to talk to him one-on-one and he shared some photos and he shared pretty much the same thing that you mentioned: his wife wants to keep their daughters memory alive and so she shares with anyone she can, but he'd rather not talk at all, but he's learning to open up little by little. I really appreciate your feedback and encouragement. Blessings to you!
  • Hi and thank you for asking this question! Losing a child is a very lonely feeling because it's not an experience that the majority of people are familiar with (thankfully). Grief is very different emotion for every person and each individual learns to cope with it differently. Personally, I enjoy talking about my pregnancy and daughter Genevieve because it keeps her memory alive. I'm also a very social and direct person so I wanted to avoid the whole "kid gloves" treatment and just have normal interactions with my friends, colleagues, and students. This was the support I needed to get back to my regular routines and as a bonus they made me feel comfortable talking about my experience which in turn made them feel comfortable. My husband is the exact opposite, he doesn't talk about Gigi to anyone but me and his brother. The best thing you can do to support your friends is follow their lead and lend an ear.
  • Hello and Welcome
    I am so sorry to hear of your struggles in your journey and the loss of your co-workers baby. Its something that no one should have to deal with, but unfortunately many of us do. When I returned to work after losing my baby I went to a different location where no one really knew me or my story. IT turned out to be harder than easier as no one knew my story and no one knew why I had the triggers I did or why I was upset and no one "cut me any slack" to put it mildly. I would say that the best way to offer support is to simply be kind, be receptive and avoid cliche'd phrases that don't make the bereaved feel any better, but only fill in awkward silences for the other party. An unstated acknowledgement that they are dealing with something is usually enough. And perhaps just make it known you are there for support and are trying to understand their feelings.
    Your interest in being supportive and wanting to approach this in the right way says a lot about your character, and I wish I would have known more people like yourself 10 years ago when I had to deal with my loss. Thank you for acknowledging the loss community as a resource. I hope we have been helpful.
  • When my husband went back to work after our son died he basically became a "hermit" went to work, came home avoided social situations at all costs. He was afraid of the insensitive comments, questions he could get. Just let your coworker know your there for them. Sometimes just that one gesture means more than anything else that can be said or done. Ask him if there is anything you can do? It sounds like you and other coworkers already did a lot for him with the meals etc. I guess the one things I can say is that this is something that will never go away he will just learn to live with it and it takes a while.
  • Hello! Welcome to Share. I am sorry to read about the loss of your co-worker's daughter. I'd like to send you a virtual hug right now to let you know just how nice it is that you care enough to ask ideas about what to do. I echo ALL of what Lauren has written. Men do grieve so differently, but his angel is on his mind all the time. So true, that most think talking about their little one's death will upset them.

    For me, it was more upsetting that people didn't ask. There is no good thing to say. Everyone has their own beliefs and opinions and this is one of those times to keep all of those to one's self. What helps? For me, that card 6, 9, 12 months later when everyone else had moved on and I was still so very stuck. Someone stopped and remembered that I was still trying to learn to live with this daily pain and navigate a future without my baby. If there hasn't been any mention of a memorial or remembrance, I might not go there. Not every mom readily knows how they plan to honor their child right away. You don't want to add stress. I'd go for more subtle gestures.

    Humor, like a little note along with her favorite candy appearing on her desk when she steps away for a break. Could be something vulgar or naughty, something unexpected to break up the black cloud and depressive state. It doesn't have to be huge (!), just a little something to let her know that so many are thinking of her. On another day, someone could place a whole heap of that favorite treat on her desk with a note saying something about how the vending machine in the break room is on the fritz, etc. I'm trying to think of office-type interactions. If you go little items, keep 'em small. The last thing she's going to want is a bunch of f'n flowers and stuffed animals to carry to her car, you know what I mean?

    Does she know about this site? If not, please share the website with her. I found it just several days after our loss and that was over 8 years ago. It was an immediate support system and really helped get some of those feelings out knowing that I wasn't alone in my grief. You're awesome for caring and even though you don't know her very well, she'll appreciate the thought.

    Let us know how it goes:)

  • Welcome to Share. I am so very sorry for your co-workers loss and commend you greatly for reaching out to offer them the most compassionate support. Loss has away of rearranging everything in one's life- even work relationships. So even though you have not been personally close- that you are a person who reaches out to know how to support is so special. When I returned to work after our daughter passed away some of the kindest and most compassionate words came from people that weren't part of my "inner circle". I think perhaps they were people like you who went that extra step to find out what to do.

    Each family that experiences loss is different- and each person who offers support to a family is different- so perhaps not all I share will apply to you or them. First know, that even though he does not talk about his daughter, she is on his mind ALL the time. It's a misconception that bringing the person up will cause grief. I have never, ever, ever been "reminded" by someone that my daughter died when they say her name. I don't need a reminder. What it reminds me is that I'm not the only one who remembers that she was here and mattered. Not talking about grief doesn't make it go away, it just makes the people grieving feel like they have cooties. So it's ok to say their daughter's name- to say you were thinking of their daughter and wife on Mother's Day and when Father's Day comes around. To ask if there is something they are doing in her name that you can be a part of. To notice that it's been 6 months and I'm thinking about you today. If your comfortable, you can ask to see her picture.

    I also think it's important for those supporting a family after loss to know your job is not to make it better or 'cheer' people up. Pressure off right? :) The biggest gift you can give is to let them know their not alone in remembering their daughter. The biggest fear many parents who have lost children have it that their children will be forgotten.

    It is also okay to say, I have no idea what to say. That I can't imagine what you're going through, but I'm here and wanting to be here for you- let me know how. Silence from coworkers, family and friends after loss is deafening. It's isolating. As you've found, It is so hard to know what to say when someone is grieving. Don't let that stop you from saying, at the very least, I don't know what to say. It's always better than silence.

    Thank you for reaching out and supporting your co-worker and his family. My family and I remember so many of the unexpected people who stepped up to the plate with courage to walk into our grief with us to say they were here and saw us and our daughter.

    Take good care,