Telling Siblings

Talking to children about stillbirth is undoubtedly one of the hardest conversations a parent or guardian can face. To help guide you through this delicate topic, we’ve created a series of resources with compassionate and age-appropriate advice on how to approach the subject with your little ones. This guide is designed to support families in navigating these heart-wrenching conversations with care and sensitivity.

What You’ll Find in This Series

– Gentle explanations suited for different age groups.

– Tips on using simple language and honesty.

– Ways to address feelings and answer difficult questions.

– Supportive resources and coping strategies for children.

Navigating the Conversation

Choose a Calm Moment

Find a quiet, private time to talk when your child is likely to be calm, and you can provide your full attention.

Use Simple and Clear Language

Depending on their age, use words they can understand. Avoid euphemisms that might confuse them. For example, you could say, “The baby was very sick and couldn’t survive. This means the baby won’t be coming home with us.”

Acknowledge Their Feelings

Let your child know it’s okay to feel sad, angry, or confused. Encourage them to express their emotions. Children might worry that something similar could happen to other family members or themselves. Reassure them that this is a rare event and that they are safe.

Answer Questions

Be prepared for questions and answer them as honestly as you can. If you don’t know the answer, it’s okay to say so.

Maintain Routine and Seek Support

Keeping to regular routines can provide a sense of normalcy and security during a difficult time. If your child is struggling to cope, consider seeking support from a child therapist or counsellor who can provide additional help and guidance.

Activities to Support Grieving

– Memory Box: Create a memory box with your child to hold special items and memories of their sibling.

– Drawings and Letters: Encourage your child to draw pictures or write letters to their sibling.

– Join a Community: Participate in stillbirth communities and movements like the #carrytheirnames campaign.


Additional Resources

Books for Children:

– The Invisible String by Patrice Karst

– The Memory Box by Joanna Rowland

Books for Parents:

– Empty Cradle, Broken Heart by Deborah L. Davis

Support Groups:

– Free helpline: 0203 6428 121

Mama Academy Resources