Ned – a new Friend
Being appropriately supportive to new friends who have lost a baby can be challenging. With long-time friends, you have an entire history of experiences to tap into, including previous traumatic life events. You have developed a sense of how best to support that particular friend through a difficult and trying time. Some friends want to be around others and to talk through all of their emotions, whereas other friends just want to be left alone. But with new friends, that history is missing, making providing support to them a scary proposition – what if something you think would be comforting actually makes things worse for them?
My way of approaching this with new friends was to keep the support meaningful but simple – brief words to let them know that I was thinking of them during this incredibly difficult time and that I was there for them. Keeping my support uncomplicated also meant leaving it entirely up to them to contact me when they were ready. If I sent them a note, card, or email, I didn’t ask my new friends any questions, as I felt questions might simply create the expectation of a response. I kept communication simple, brief and genuine in my support, and then, I was patient. I knew they would contact me when they were ready, and at that point, they would likely give me more cues as to how I could support them going forward.