If You Are Shopping With a Loved One Who Has Lost a Baby This Year
With the hustle and bustle of the shopping season upon us, there are some mothers who are not able to buy their child presents. There are some mothers who are surviving the holidays and trying to find their new normal after a loss. These are shopping tips I suggest that might help a friend or family member who has lost a baby.
Avoid the baby section. This one seems pretty obvious, but it’s important. More than likely your friend or family member already knows where the baby section is at every store they usually go to. If you see them pulling away or going a longer route, just follow them. Seeing the shelves of diapers, lotions and little outfits can be triggering. Keep in mind, some loss moms might be completely comfortable with going through these sections, but always ask beforehand.
Listen when they feel triggered. In my experience, triggers can bring back memories of being pregnant, the day of the loss, or negative experiences afterwards. Some of these can include seeing a pregnant person or a small child, a certain scent, or even a similar shirt they were wearing when they found out. After seeing a trigger, your loved one might want to talk about it and decompress. During this time, don’t rush them; find somewhere quiet to listen. They might let you know what they think might trigger them and what usually calms them. Sometimes just being able to recognize that moment and having a person to talk to about it can help.
Have an escape plan. With everything else in life, the unexpected and painful triggers strike hard. If this happens, always have a quick escape plan from the store and people. It’s OK if that means dropping everything and running out the store. Keep in mind where you’ve parked and where the exit doors are. Just being able to escape to the bathroom could help too. Sometimes this isn’t possible, though. If you have your arms full of items, maybe you could take them to the front and have the associates hold them until you’re able to come back. Even if that’s just getting your loved one out to the car to be able to breathe. If they have to leave for good, don’t be upset. It can be hard to be able to face so many triggers during the holiday season.
Let them know you’re there for them. When my heart is heavy, I am so thankful for a person to just let me know they’re right there. After loss, a person can quickly become lost in their thoughts. They can be replaying a moment and feel like they are stuck in the past. During those times, they can become quiet and drawn into themselves. Just by asking if they’re OK or they need to sit down might help them bring them back to the present. It’s a little phrase that can go a long way.
No matter the challenges of holiday shopping after losing a baby, there are moments when smiles are needed. A simple smile can let someone know you’re enjoying your time with them. It can convey the love we all like to feel.
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