Post # 1
I honestly have NO idea where to even post this so I apologize if the “emotional” board isn’t exactly fitting.
A week or so ago, I was invited to a 1st birthday party for a child that was stillborn…
A little background: A year ago, a distant friend of mine lost her baby three weeks before she was to be induced due to complications with the baby’s heart and her own health problems. It was obviously a very hard thing to handle for everyone. We were devastated to say the least. Since then, this friend has had a very hard time moving on from the death of her child (obviously). She is very young, her relationship has failed with her baby’s father, and she recently lost her job. Since the very beginning, this friend has made sure to do all of the things that she would have done if the baby had lived. She does monthly photoshoots with the gravestone with those little “I am ___ months old!” stickers, she purchased holiday themed outfits in the sizes that her daughter would be in at the time, etc.
Back to now: After opening the FB event for the party, it was clear that she was also planning to go all out for the party as well… She has ordered a fancy cake with “Happy Birthday Daughters Name,” a matching smash cake, personalized party decor, everything.
I just don’t know how to feel about attending a party for a deceased child… She is asking for RSVPs and contacted me personally since I originally didn’t reply. I don’t want to just not respond to her messages but I also don’t know if I can attend a party like this without getting emotional and I don’t want to ruin a happy (??) occasion.
What would you bees do? Has anyone ever attended an event like this? I have never heard of anyone doing this before but I understand that she is probably still grieving and this is her way of coping?
Post # 2
I feel sorry for her, but this will not help her move on…I honestly would probably just say I’m busy. I couldn’t go to a dead baby’s birthday party…
Post # 3
Jeeze that is a tough one. If you’re not close with her I would maybe discuss it with one of her closer friends or her family. Grief does weird things but that behaviour is concerning. I wouldn’t feel right going. Maybe send flowers or something? That poor woman. Are other people going?
Post # 4
this is so sad. I would send a thoughtful card. There’s no way I could attend this….I know everyone grieves differently, but this sounds so morbid and unhealthy. It sounds like she is really struggling. If you guys are close friends, maybe you could suggest counseling.
Post # 5
I would politely decline. I suspect a friend or family member closer in her circle will say something to her about it.
Post # 6
That’s heartbreaking. I could not attend. This does not sound like part of a normal grieving process, I would seek out her family to see if they were aware or are able to get her into some sort of therapy (depending on how close you two are).
Post # 7
- Wedding: October 2015 - Swaneset Bay Resort & Country Club
I recently delivered stillborn and even I find this a little concerning. I understand everyone grieves differently but she is very clearly having issues. Understandably I can see why you would not want to attend. I would just tell her that unfortunately you will not be able to attend but hope it all goes well.
Post # 8
- Wedding: May 2015 - St Peter\'s Church, East Maitland, and Bella Vista, Newcastle
She needs help, not a birthday party. I’d be declining.
Post # 9
Wow…that’s tough, I wouldn’t know how to respond. I guess it depends how close or good of friends you two are. If you were her best friend, probably attend but if you guys aren’t close, you don’t have to go.
Yeah, she’s still coping with her loss, and it sounds like this is just the beginning.
Post # 10
so far the Facebook page has 10 “going” responses. I only have one other friend who was invited and she is basically in the same boat.
I’m unfortunately not close with any of her family. We met in high school and just continued a friendship through social media only.
Post # 11
I know that people sometimes do a dinner or have a get together to celebrate one’s life on the anniversy of their death to help them move on, but this seems a bit out there, even for me, and I hang out in cemeteries and study mourning in the Victorian era.
I think your friend needs some help. Seriously. She lost her boyfriend and she lost her child. She can’t move on and is stuck in the past. The montly stickers on baby’s grave is shocking. I am shocked that a closer friend hasn’t spoken up, but maybe they have.
If it were me I’d stay away from this party. In fact I doubt many will go. I understand the need to mark the passing, but this seems extreme.
I hope someone can talk to her and get her the help she needs.
Post # 12
I know someone who had a stillborn and she commerates his birthday every year… but only with her immediate family (her husband, and the children born before and since); and it’s a commemeration, not a party. I think that is appropriate. But to invite people, especially distant friends (as OP describes herself) to a party… I don’t see how that can help the grieving.
I think the appropriate response is with a message or card, with words to the effect that she has your sympathies but you are unable to attend. I can’t imagine attending unless I was really really close (like being her mother, sister or best friend), and even then not in the form of a 1st birthday party.
Post # 13
I know everyone grieves differently, but yeesh. I don’t think I would be comfortable being complicit in what seems to be unhealthy behavior.
Also, you say she is a distant friend. Would you be attending any other event she would throw? Say a birthday party for a living child, holiday open house, graduation party, etc.? I would send your regrets that you aren’t able to attend (I’m not big on lying, but this might be the most appropriate use of “previous commitment” I can think of – even if that commitment was to order in pizza and watch football or netflix in your pajamas all day). I would probably do what I do for any friend/family member who has lost someone close and have a florist deliver a bouquet of flowers and a “thinking of you” card on the actual day.
Post # 14
She really needs help coping with the loss. Everyone deals with grief differently but she seems to be in real trouble. Maybe her close friends will organize some sort of psychological intervention. Wishing her all the best, she has suffered a terrible loss.
Post # 15
My heart breaks for her just reading this. I had a still-born half brother, and we would visit his grave with flowers every year on the anniversary, but even that was tough. It also definitely meant more to my mom than it ever could have to me or my sister. I think her refusal to let go is only making it worse–almost like she is reveling in her pain and loss because it is something familiar which she is not yet willing to give up. She is torturing herself. I personally could not attend this party, especially since I am currently pregnant and wouldn’t be able to emotionally tolerate it. I wouldn’t want her to be all alone on this day with all of her party stuff either but…gah, I just don’t know. I want to give her a big hug and find her help so she can heal 🙁