It is likely your children will be in a state of deep shock and grief following the loss of their baby. From you, their parents, they will hope for your unqualified support. Sometimes, this may mean putting your own needs and your own grief to one side, which may be difficult.
It is helpful not to have any expectations of your children, and even more so to make that clear; they will feel supported by hearing that you are there for them, however they need you. Whatever emotions you are feeling, it will be best if you don’t put any pressure on your children to provide support for you; rather, it’s likely to be better if you seek the support you need from other family members and your good friends.
In relating to your children after a stillbirth, it is usually a good idea to take your cues from them. If they want to be alone, let them take that time without judgment. If they don’t want to share information, don’t press them and don’t be offended by any need they have to be private.
On the other hand, if your children want to share their experience with you, listen. Don’t avoid them. Take time to share their experience. And when you are talking about your grandchild with your children, don’t be afraid to use his or her name, if you know it; doing so is likely to honour their child and acknowledge the deep loss they feel.
When you are talking to your children, there are some things it is probably best to avoid saying. Often, even well intended reassurance is likely to be unhelpful, and it is best to avoid anything that might indicate the loss of the baby can be replaced by having another child, or that the loss was ‘meant to be’, including for children with a severe illness. Any indication that the loss of the baby is for the best, or that the parents will ‘get over’ their loss, even in time, can be unhelpful.
The best you can do as a parent is be willing to support and to listen. Don’t ask anything of your children, and try not to make any assumptions at all about how they may be feeling.