25. Grieving Children with Sara Asch

Sara Asch, from The Center for Grieving Children, in Portland, Maine, works closely with families, volunteers, and the community in the areas of grief and loss, program development, outreach, and training.

Sara offered many suggestions and insights regarding grieving children.  Some include:

  • Sitting with difficult news about a life limiting diagnosis or a pregnancy or infant loss before sharing it with your living children.  Acknowledge your feelings and begin your grief work first.
  • Think about what the next few days or weeks might look like for you and your family.
  • Model and show some of your feelings feelings for your children when you are talking to them.
  • Tears are an indication of sadness and that is OK.
  • Stay away from euphemisms.  They are confusing.  Use the words "die" and "death."
  • Let your children know you are always open to talking about the baby, death, and dying.
  • A toy or favorite blanket may bring comfort to young children during difficult conversations.  Avoid bringing up death at bedtime.
  • If your baby dies at the hospital, follow your children's cues for visiting.  Give them a choice about seeing the baby.  Prepare them before the visit.  Have a trusted adult bring them and be available to take the sibling(s) home.
  • Suggestions to honor your baby's memory.
  • Help your children learn to express feelings. 
  • Behavior and clues to watch for if your child is struggling after loss.
  • Navigating bereavement resources.  Peer support groups are helpful.
  • Tell children the truth so they do not imagine the worse.

Recommended Books:  (Note: If you decide to purchase through these links, the Pause to Remember receives a small commission at no extra cost to you.)

Resources: National Alliance for Children's Grief (NACG), National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, Maine Grief Support

Pause to Remember Information

NEW OFFERING IN 2023!  -  MNDFL Rx (Mindful Prescription) A 4-week mindfulness based grief course for healthcare providers grieving after pregnancy or infant loss.  Learn more and sign up for the March 2023 group or private options here.

Pause to Remember Resources for Healthcare Providers Grieving After Pregnancy and Infant Loss

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Music credit: Fractal of Light, by Chris Haugen

Podcast editor: Jake Swanson