Helping children understand the tragic loss of a sibling

Schriver family 4.jpg

It’s often considered a taboo topic. But, the tragic loss of a child is a reality for so many parents who experience a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss.

What happens when you leave the hospital without a child? One family shares how they explained the unimaginable loss to their young children at home.

Baby Bryxin joined the Schriver family 8 weeks ago. But she’s not the only younger sister siblings Gabby and Payton were excited to meet. In 2014, the Schriver family was expecting a baby. But at 22 weeks gestation, parents Rebecca and Bryan received devastating news.

“As we began to discuss it with our doctors, they told us that we needed to prepare for the worst because she might not make it,” recalled Rebecca.

Those are shocking words parents never want to hear. Just weeks later, the joys of pregnancy suddenly turned to tragedy as baby Isabella was born still.

“It was indescribable,” Brian said. “It’s very sad knowing that you’re not taking her home.”

The shock gave way to deep sadness, as reality sank in. Rebecca and Bryan had to break the news to their young children at home. They had prepared Gabby and Payton for the chance that Rebecca would be in the hospital for a while, but they hadn’t prepared them for a baby not coming home.

Rebecca said, “They took it very hard. They were angry for a long time.”

The children asked questions about baby Isabella and wondered why God did this. In addition to many family talks about baby Isabella, the Schrivers were gifted a book to help their children understand the loss of a sibling.

As the years pass by, the anger has given way to peace, as the Schriver family fondly remembers baby Isabella. The family includes her at their mealtime prayers and they honor her at events like the annual “Walk To Remember” in Springfield. The family has donated gifts to children in need and has knitted hats for newborn babies as a way to honor and remember their child in Heaven.

Two months ago, the family welcomed their rainbow baby, Bryxin. “It’s a bond like no other,” said Bryan. “It’s almost like being told you can’t do something then doing it. It’s a reward that’s indescribable.”

The book, Something Happened: A Book For Children And Parents Who Have Experienced Pregnancy Loss, is available on Amazon.

For parents in need of support after the loss of a child, the national support group, SHARE, meets the first Wednesday of every month at HSHS St. John's Hospital in Springfield.

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