Dear Miriam,

I hope you can help with some advice. A good friend of mine lost her baby earlier this year, a little boy, in the third trimester. It was her first child and a really devastating loss. I have two small children of my own and I don’t know if I could have coped with such a loss.

I’m conscious that Christmas is very child-focused and that my friend should be looking forward to her first Christmas as a mother, with Santa, the little Christmas baby-gro, the first Christmas decorations etc.

I would love to do something to show that I love and care for her and am here to support her, but I’m also conscious of my privilege as a mother of two living children and how lucky I am.

Would you have any suggestion of how I can show my friend that I am thinking of her and of her little boy?

Thanks for your time,

Annie, Munster

Miriam responds

Dear Annie,

How lucky your friend is to have such a considerate person in her life, who recognises her loss; but more importantly, her love for her baby boy.

I’m sure that every day is a challenge for your friend right now, but certainly, the family focus of Christmas can be very difficult to cope with, from TV ads to social media posts. I’m sure she had great hopes and plans for this Christmas with her little baby. While nobody can take the pain of her loss away from her, knowing that her baby is loved and remembered will hopefully bring her a little bit of comfort at this time of year. It still is her first Christmas as a mother; it’s just so sad that her baby will not be in her arms.

One idea might be to sponsor a memory box with a charity like Féileacáin in her baby’s name. These boxes contain items such as a hand-knitted blanket, two teddy bears, a candle, a finger/foot printing kit, balm and other items, and are given to bereaved families in maternity hospitals across Ireland. It is more than likely that your friend actually received one of these boxes herself to help create some precious memories with her son. Sponsoring a box will give comfort to another family in a similar heart-breaking situation and is a powerful act of love in her baby’s name. You can find out more at

Another option might be to get a special Christmas decoration with her son’s name on it. I would also suggest it might be a nice idea to get a matching decoration for your own tree too. I think when parents are bereaved, one of the great fears is that their little baby will be forgotten. Hanging a decoration on your own tree will show your friend that not only will you remember her baby this Christmas, but every Christmas to come. He will be a part of your traditions and a part of your family in that way.

It might also be a nice idea to remember her baby in her Christmas card, or even to make a special card for him. Other ideas might be a nice plant or arrangement for the baby’s resting place, a lovely candle to light for him at home, or a little piece of jewellery inscribed with his name.

I suppose the greatest gift you can give your friend, however, is your presence. Maybe try to make time over the busy Christmas period to see if she would like to go for a walk, or to go for coffee and a cake. She might want to talk, she might want to cry or she might want to just sit in silence and feel your support: either way, knowing that she has a friend who is there for her, no matter what, is very powerful.

I hope that these ideas are of some help. I wish your friend a gentle Christmas season, surrounded by love and care.