Notes for the Support Team -  Acknowledge bereaved parents on Mothers' and Fathers' Day. Parenthood NEVER ends. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Acknowledge Bereaved Parents on Mothers and Fathers Day

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My first Mother’s Day after Adrian’s death, I waited for phone calls. I checked the mail that Saturday, and again the following week in case anything had come late. There was nothing.⁠

And oh, how that hurt.⁠

I found out later those closest to me had avoided the subject, for fear of hurting me; for fear of reminding me of what I had lost.⁠

What I need you to understand, is that you can’t remind me, because I will never forget about my firstborn child.⁠

What I need you to understand, is that I need you to acknowledge my parenthood, just as you would for any other parent in your life.⁠

If you would text them in honor of Mothers Day, text ME in honor of Mothers Day.⁠
If you would buy them a card, buy ME a card.⁠
If you would say their child’s name, say MY child’s name.⁠

Parenthood doesn’t end when children pass away.⁠

Notes for the Support Team:
Acknowledge bereaved parents on Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day.
Parenthood NEVER ends.

Related Posts:

Miranda’s Blog: The Phone call you never expect to receive; Supporting a Loved One after the Loss of a Child
Resources for Friends and Family Supporting Loved Ones after the Loss of a Child

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Notes for the Support Team - Simply telling someone not to feel a certain way will never have the desired result. Instead, ask questions about their feelings. Acknowledge and understand without trying to change. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

You can’t order someone to feel a certain way

Prayer Is Appreciated…When it has been invited

Prayer is appreciated…when it has been invited

Even as a bereaved parent, I still don't always know the right words to say.

The Bereaved Don’t Always Have Words Either

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: I wish I could take your pain away.  Rewritten: I understand your feelings are important. I would never want to minimize or try to take them away. I will always be here to listen. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

I wish I could take your pain away

Notes for the Support Team - Children. Aren't. Replaceable. Please consider the impact of your words before you talk about things like subsequent children or adoption. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Children Aren’t Replaceable

Notes for the Support Team -  Pregnancy after loss is one of the most beautifully life-affirming and also simultaneously terrifying events your loved ones can experience.  If your loved one has shared this news with you, it is likely because they trust you. Be worthy of that trust. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Mirror Reality in Pregnancy After Loss

Dead is not a dirty word.

“Dead” is not a dirty word (B/W)

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: I would never survive it. Rewritten: I haven't experienced your pain, so I can only imagine what it feels like. I am here for you though, if you ever want to talk about your experience or your child. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

I would never survive it

informed pregnancy graphics babies come when they're ready

“Babies come when they’re ready” (3 versions)

We need to talk about grief.

We need to talk about grief

What's with this expectation that grief should be "reasonable"?  Death certainly isn't reasonable. Grieve however you need.  -Miranda Hernandez Adrian's Mother

Neither Death nor Grief are “Reasonable”

I have these moments sometimes with my living child. Moments where I wonder if I am enough for her, trying so hard and simultaneously dying inside.

Can I be enough for my living child while I’m dying inside?

If you ask a widow about the worst kind of grief, they are going to say it's losing a spouse. If you ask a bereaved parent about the worst kind of grief, they are going to say it's losing a child.  And they are both correct. Grief is not a competition.

Grief is not a Competition (B/W; multiple versions)

If a bereaved parent feels guilt or blame about their loss, simply telling them not to feel that way is not a solution.

Guilt, Fault, & Blame

What is safe is not always natural & What is natural is not always safe.

Natural VS. Safe

There is no "just" about the process of adoption

There is no “just” about the process of adoption

"But you have a beautiful daughter now." Rewritten: I'm sorry for your loss.

“But You Have a Beautiful Daughter Now”

Yes, you can parent a child even after their death. #SeaGlassParenting

Yes, you can parent a child even after their death…#SeaGlassParenting

"Grief is a passage, not a place to stay." Rewritten: Grief IS.

“Grief is a Passage”

You are under no obligation to be healed not today, and not at any point in the future. It is always always ALWAYS okay not to be okay.

You are under no obligation to be healed

"Look on the Bright Side." Rewritten: This sucks.

“Look on the bright side”

I deserve enthusiastic support, both in life and grief.

I Deserve Enthusiastic Support Both in Life and Grief

I did not have "a stillborn". I had a stillborn CHILD; a human being.

I Did not Have “A Stillborn”

I can't imagine - Downloadable Graphics for Child Loss & Grief

“I can’t imagine” (3 versions)

Notes for the Bereaved -  It is not your job to make other people feel comfortable. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

It’s not your job to make other people feel comfortable

Public Service Announcement: Back Up Your Photos

Public Service Announcement: Back Up Your Photos

"Positive vibes only."...Rewritten: Authentic vibes only.

“Positive Vibes Only”

"It's okay to not be okay as long as you don't stay that way" Rewritten: It's okay to not be okay.

“It’s okay to not be okay as long as you don’t stay that way” (color options)

I think one of the hardest things I had to do was accept that grief isn't always overwhelming. Sometimes it just exists, present but not always screaming.

Grief isn’t always overwhelming (B/W)

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: Let's cheer you up. Rewritten: I understand your grief is heavy right now. I'd like to support you in whatever ways you need. Would you like to tell me about him? Or maybe we can go for a walk. Whatever you need. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Let’s cheer you up

Thankfulness is not a cure for tragedy, trauma, or grief.

Thankfulness is not a cure for grief (B/W; 2 versions)

Original Statement: Still Grieving? Still dead. Still a parent. Rewritten statement: Always grieving. Always dead. ALWAYS a parent.

Still/Always

Statement: You're so strong. Response: Inside I am dying.

“You’re so strong”

Notes for the Bereaved -  There is NO time limit on grief. Take whatever time you need. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

There is NO Time Limit on Grief

Trauma is not your fault, but healing is your responsibility. Rewritten: Trauma is not your fault.

“Trauma is not your fault, but healing is your responsibility”

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: He/She is with you in spirit. Rewritten: It must be so hard that he isn't physically here with you. What do you think he might be doing today if he were? -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

He/She is with you in spirit

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: He/She wouldn't want you to be sad. Rewritten: It's understandable that you are sad. He is gone and he shouldn't be. It makes sense that you will grieve as long as you need. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

He/She wouldn’t want you to be sad

Positivity is a choice, and not one you can make for other people

Positivity is a choice, and not one you can make for other people

Notes for the Support Team -  Be cautious of projecting your experience or your feelings onto your loved one.  Even under similar circumstances, their experience is likely to be different than yours. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Be Cautious of Projecting Your Feelings

Often when I share about my deceased child, people rush to give advice or hugs. I don't always need that, though.  Often, all I really need is for you to listen. - Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Often all I need is for you to listen

The body keeps a calendar completely separate from the mind. Some days just have to be felt.

The Body Keeps a Calendar Separate from the Mind

Death changes you…Permanently.

Death Changes You. Permanently.

I am thoroughly uninterested in being "strong."

I am thoroughly uninterested in being “strong”

Notes for the Bereaved -  You don't have to be a noble victim. You are allowed to be a fallible human being, just like the rest of the world. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

You don’t have to be a noble victim

Grief isn't sadness. Grief isn't loss. Grief is what lives in those left behind. 

Grief is not Sadness (2 versions)

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: At least… Rewritten: I'm so sorry this happened to you. It isn't right or fair. Nothing can make up for the loss of your child. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

At least…

“Healing” from the death of my child is about as likely as regrowing a missing limb.  -Miranda Hernandez Adrian's Mother

“Healing” from the death of my child is about as likely as regrowing a missing limb.

What doesn't kill you…Still hurts like a bitch

What doesn’t kill you… (3 versions)

Notes for the Support Team -  A good cheat sheet for pretty much any situation in which another human is upset: "That sounds hard." "Do you want to tell me about it?" "How can I help?"  -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

A Good Cheat Sheet for Pretty Much Any Situation in Which Another Human is Upset

Sharing about my deceased child doesn't mean that I'm stuck or broken or even that I am hurting. It simply means I am a parent.

Parenting in Loss; Sharing about my Deceased Child

Sometimes, I'm just tired Graphics for Child Loss & Grief

Sometimes, I’m just — tired

Tragedy is not a one-time event

Tragedy is not a one-time event

I constantly wish someone had told me stillbirth was SO VERY COMMON.

I Wish Someone Had Told Me Stillbirth Was So Common

I too used to believe tragedy was the thing that happened to other people.

I too used to believe tragedy was the thing that happened to other people.

Notes for the Bereaved -  You are under no obligation to turn your tragedy into something beautiful. You are allowed, todays and always, simply to exist. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

No Obligation to turn Tragedy into Beauty

Gentle wishes for bereaved dads on Fathers Day. May the day be kind.

Father’s Day

Notes for the Support Team -  It is far easier for you to reach in than it is for the bereaved to find the strength to "reach out".

“Reach Out” or Reach In?

"I know how you feel." Rewritten: I don't know how you feel, but I'm here to listen.

“I know how you feel” (2 versions)

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: Let me know if I can do anything for you. Rewritten: Can I bring you dinner this evening? Can I help you with the laundry? I'm going to the store this evening; can I bring you anything? -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Let me know what you need

Sometimes I miss that initial innocence; the days when I thought positivity was enough to make everything go as planned. Only sometimes, though. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Sometimes I miss that initial innocence

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: Have you thought about adoption? Rewritten: I understand the idea of having children after loss is complicated. I'm never going to push you or ask you questions you aren't ready to answer. I'm here though, if you ever want to talk about it. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Have you thought about adoption?

Dear Prenatal Provider Informed Pregnancy Downloadable Graphics

Dear Prenatal Provider

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: It's time to move on. Rewritten: I understand you grieve for and miss your child. What can I do to help you honor them today? -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

It’s time to move on

If you truly want to comfort a grieving person, remove these words from your vocabulary: "But", "Strong", "Brave", and "At Least"

If you genuinely want to comfort a bereaved person, remove these words from your vocabulary

Notes for the Support Team -  You aren't going to be perfect. Show up anyway. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

You aren’t going to be perfect. Show Up Anyway.

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original question: Why didn't you…? Rewritten: I have no idea what I would have done were I in your place. I will certainly never second-guess your decisions. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Why didn’t you…?

There is no asterisk to the things that are allowed in the grief experience.

There is no Asterisk to the things Allowed in Grief

Please don’t ask me how I’m doing unless you’re prepared to hear the truth.

Please don’t ask me how I’m doing unless you’re prepared to hear the truth

Graphics for Child Loss & Grief survivors bias

Survivor’s Bias

Notes for the Support Team -  When you tell me I'm "strong" or "brave", it feels less like a description, and more like a command. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

When you tell me I’m “strong” or “brave”…

Refusing to talk about or even consider that death happens is not going to keep it from happening. Death isn't Rumpelstiltskin. It doesn't work that way.

Refusing to Talk About Death; Death Isn’t Rumpelstiltskin

My feelings are authentic and I own them completely. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

My feelings are authentic and I own them completely

I’m upset with movies and TV shows for making me think grief was just a phase. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

I’m upset with movies and TV shows for making me think grief was just a phase

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original Statement: Having a birthday party for a dead child is weird. Rewritten: I've never been to a birthday party for a deceased child, but I'd love to honor him in this way. How can I help? -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Having a birthday party for a dead child is “weird”

You are under no obligation to be healed not today, and not at any point in the future. It is always always ALWAYS okay not to be okay.

You are always allowed to feel how you feel

I have the right to feel how I feel, for as long as I feel it, regardless of circumstances  or whether someone else  feels differently.  -Miranda Hernandez Adrian's Mother

I have the right to feel how I feel

I think one of the things I've learned over the past few years since my son's death is that you never know what anyone else is going through. Even people who post on social media. Even people who are close. People keep a lot of pain below the surface.

We have no idea what other people are going through

Notes for the Support Team -  It's hard to feel sad and helpless when someone you love is struggling after loss. It's hard to sit there in the darkness and support them when they are most in pain. But if you can do that—your support means everything. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Accept that you feel helpless and you will be so much more helpful

Sometimes there is genuinely nothing to be thankful for. - Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Sometimes there is genuinely nothing to be thankful for

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: It wasn't your fault. Rewritten: I understand emotions can be complicated, and I'm never going to tell you how you should feel. I am here though, if you ever want to talk about things. I will always be an ear to listen. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

It wasn’t your fault

Sometimes it just needs to suck.

Sometimes it Just Needs to Suck

"It's going to be okay" Rewritten: It really sucks…and I'm here for you.

“It’s going to be okay” (2 versions)

Notes for the support team - "Good intentions" are best revealed by changing behavior you've been informed is hurtful. Image in the background with one bear hugging another bear, and saying, "I didn't mean to hurt your feelings...But I know that I did, and I'm going to make it better." (OneyWhyStudio, Moose, and Aidenopoly, created in Canva)

“Good intentions” are best revealed by changing behavior you’ve been informed is hurtful

I miss the days when I still believed all you needed was a good attitude.

I miss the days when I still believed all you needed was a good attitude

Notes for the Support Team -  When someone is in the thick of grief, "someday" is pretty meaningless. Sit with them in the hard parts, today, instead.

“Someday” is Meaningless

They said time heals. They lied. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

They said time heals. They lied. (B/W)

Forced positivity is toxic.

Forced Positivity is Toxic (color options)

Bereaved Life Graphics for Child Loss & Grief

Bereaved Live in the Real World

Death isn’t something you ever “get over”.  It’s something you integrate, and then reintegrate again  and again.  -Miranda Hernandez Adrian's Mother

Death isn’t something you ever “get over”

Notes for the Support Team -  It's easy to disappear in times of tragedy. It's hard to live with yourself afterwards. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

It’s Both Easy & Hard to Disappear After Loss

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Question: "How are you?" Multiple choice answers: "Outstanding, Okay, Really hating this question". There is a check mark next to "Really hating this questions". -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

How are you?

You may find it "triggering" to hear about the death of my child. Imagine how much harder it is to live with it. - Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Trigger Warning

My Experience Going Overdue in Pregnancy (Brochure)

Feelings are always valid, Even when they aren’t rational; Even when they are "negative"; Even when other people wish you felt differently.  Feelings are always valid.  -Miranda Hernandez Adrian's Mother

Feelings are ALWAYS valid

Notes for the Support Team -  Your pain is important. Their pain is MORE important. Don't ask them to bear the burden of comforting you. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Your pain is important. Their pain is MORE important.

My pain has a purpose Graphics for Child Loss & Grief

My pain has a purpose

Notes for the support team - Nobody is born knowing how to deal with grief. We are all just figuring it out along the way.

Nobody is born knowing how to deal with grief

I have grown as a person since the death of my son...But I would give up everything I’ve gained to have not had a reason to.  -Miranda Hernandez Adrian's Mother

I have grown as person through the death of my son, but it’s not worth it

Notes for the Bereaved -  You don't have to be brave. Bravery is ALWAYS a choice. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

You don’t have to be brave

Stillbirth is NOT “Rare”

My experience feels a lot more valid when I remove all the “buts”. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

My experience feels a lot more valid when I remove all the “buts”

Notes for the Bereaved - Sometimes the most meaningful thing anyone can say to you is "This fucking sucks." Because it does. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Sometimes the most meaningful thing anyone can say is, “This fucking sucks.”

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