Witnessing a loved one experience the raw pain of miscarriage and infant loss is never easy. How do you offer support when words seem to fall short? In the delicate balance of comfort and acknowledgment, we’ll share insights that can guide your actions to effectively provide peace and even joy.
Understanding Grief To Support Loved Ones With Miscarriage And Infant Loss
While universally experienced, each person’s encounter with grief is as unique as their own fingerprint, reflecting individual experiences, emotions, and memories. Some might openly express their pain, while others might keep their feelings close to their heart. There are many reasons someone might grieve, from personal losses to global tragedies. It’s a complex mix of feelings, including sadness, longing, anger, and even moments of fleeting joy as you reminisce. It’s the heart’s natural way of processing the void left behind, a journey of healing and coming to terms with the irreplaceable.
When facing miscarriage or infant loss, the pain can feel overwhelming (NHS, 2019). Grief is a natural response to such profound loss. It’s an emotion that speaks to the depth of love and connection felt by the parent and their child. With empathy, you can relate to some of that pain, allowing you to deeply understand your loved one’s emotions. Deeper understanding leads to a stronger support system in guiding them through this difficult, life-changing experience.
Suppressing grief or attempting to “move on” too quickly can sometimes lead to further emotional complications for your loved one. By acknowledging the depth of their loss and being present for them, you allow them to express themselves at a pace they are comfortable with. While words might sometimes fail, the warmth, love, and presence you provide can make a world of difference.
Support Your Loved Ones Grief With Emotional Release Techniques And Practices
Offering love and understanding to someone grieving from infant loss is of extreme importance. Deep emotional pain can often require more tangible ways to find release. We are here to provide you with techniques that show you how to offer this support to your loved one in their time of need (Weir, 2018).
1. Deep Breathing:
It sounds simple, but reminding your loved one to take deep, intentional breaths can be a much-needed moment of silence, separating thoughts from their emotions that are in overdrive. Having them focus on their breaths only helps them calm their mind.
Expressing feelings on paper can be therapeutic. Suggest they jot down thoughts, feelings, or even memories. It doesn’t have to be structured; the act itself can be healing. Consider taking them out for the day and buying special journals together. You can create a special memory, adding to the emotional support and companionship they may need during this grieving process.
3. Guided Meditation:
Meditation can provide moments of peace. There are several apps and online resources dedicated to grief and healing that may act as a beautiful and calming gift that they wouldn’t think to purchase themselves. Alternatively, read your loved one a Yoga Nidra meditation for grief and emotional release can profoundly impact their subconscious (Stanley, 2020).
4. Physical Activity:
Gentle exercises like walking, yoga, or even just stretching can help in releasing pent-up emotions. Encouraging your loved one to walk with you in nature may be the change they need.
5. Art and Music Expression:
Encourage them to paint, draw, or listen to music. The arts have an innate power to heal and express feelings that might be too challenging to articulate. You can make this extra fun by setting up an at-home painting station or surprising them with their favorite art supplies, making an event of it.
6. Support Groups:
Sharing links and resources that encourage them to join a group such as Our FPI Village can be a massive step to connecting them with those who truly know the pain they are going through. Having a chance to speak with those who have experienced similar losses can be comforting. Knowing they’re not alone and hearing others’ stories can be reassuring, especially the success stories following a loss.
While it can often be hard to have the discussion, recommending a therapist (especially one specialized in grief counseling) can offer unparalleled coping mechanisms tailored to your loved one’s needs. It’s a safe space where they can share and process feelings (Kersting & Wagner, 2012). Having this difficult conversation is one of the biggest forms of love you can share, but of course, always do so with respect and compassion.
While these techniques are beneficial, it’s essential to support your loved one by letting them know that their feelings are valid. It’s okay to seek help, to lean on others, and to find their own pace in healing. We believe in the power of these practices and hope that with time, love, and support, the heart finds its way toward healing and hope that all is not lost when it comes to their welcoming dream family.
Natural Herbal Remedies For Supporting Loved Ones With Infant Loss
Nature, with its wide variety of healing herbs, offers powerful healing by grounding in times of deep emotional pain (Chevalier, 2015). An easy way to support a loved one through their grief is to bring nature to them. While we’ve discussed emotional release techniques, we now turn to some gentle herbal remedies to help calm a broken heart. These simple teas and herbs can be the small gestures they didn’t know they needed (Zerdy, 2019). Often so simple it’s overlooked. Discuss tea and herb preferences with your loved one and clarify if they have consulted with a professional, if applicable, on these remedies.
A herb well-regarded for its calming properties (Gupta, 2010).
- How to use: Prepare chamomile tea by steeping dried chamomile flowers in boiling water for 5-7 minutes. Offer it to your loved one as a gentle drink to soothe their nerves.
Known to alleviate stress and promote relaxation (Koulivand et al., 2013).
- How to use: Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to a warm bath or use it in a diffuser to create a calming environment.
St. John’s Wort
Often used to uplift moods and combat depressive symptoms (NCCIH, 2017).
- How to use: St. John’s Wort tea can be made by steeping the dried herb in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Alternatively, tinctures and capsules are also available.
Recognized for reducing anxiety and promoting sleep (Ghazizadeh et al., 2021).
- How to use: Lemon balm tea can be a comforting drink. Simply steep the dried leaves in boiling water for 5-10 minutes.
Assists in easing anxiety and fostering a sense of calm (NCCIH, 2020).
- How to use: Make passionflower tea by adding dried passionflower to boiling water and allowing it to steep for about 10 minutes.
The gentle aroma of rose can be comforting (Mileva et al., 2021).
- How to use: Prepare a rose tea using dried rose petals. Steep them in boiling water for about 8 minutes. Alternatively, rose water or rose essential oil can also be used for aromatic benefits.
Offering these remedies to your loved one can be a heartfelt gesture to show you care. While these herbs provide gentle support, they also provide a new connection for your loved one, where communication with the earth heals the heart.
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Proper Communication With Infant Loss: Knowing What To Say And When To Say It
Entering the space of someone in the depths of grief requires sensitivity, grace and a genuine understanding of the weight of their pain. Infant loss, in particular, is a heartbreak that words often struggle to address. As we strive to be there for our loved ones, communication becomes a delicate dance, balancing comfort with acknowledging their pain.
Lead with Empathy: Before speaking, remind yourself of the profound nature of their loss. Your words should come from a place of love and empathy, aiming to comfort rather than to fix (Cherry, 2023).
Listen Actively: Sometimes, being a silent and attentive listener is more healing than any words you can offer. Let them guide the conversation and be there to hold space for their emotions.
Avoid Clichés: Phrases like “Everything happens for a reason” or “Time heals all wounds” might feel hollow to someone in grief. Instead, simple acknowledgments like “I’m here for you” or “I can’t imagine how hard this is, but I’m with you” can resonate more deeply.
Follow Their Lead: If your loved one wishes to talk about their baby, their memories, or their pain, allow them. If they seek distraction or light-hearted conversation, be open to that too.
Trust Your Intuition: You know your loved one best. Trust your instincts (your intuition) when approaching them. If you feel that they need space, respect that. If they seem to need company, even in silence, offer that presence (Sutton, 2020).
Never Force a Conversation: Pushing someone to open up or share can often do more harm than good. It’s essential to respect boundaries and understand that everyone processes grief in their unique timeline.
Being there for someone while they experience the ups and downs of their grief isn’t about having all the answers or the perfect words. It’s about showing up with love and authenticity, offering your support in whatever form it’s needed. Through the pain and the heartbreak, the warmth and genuine care you provide can be a small but meaningful piece of their day that brings comfort.
In the tender moments of grief and loss, the love and support you offer is immeasurable. Through understanding, heartfelt gestures, and genuine communication, you can provide some light in the darkness of heartbreak. While words may falter, your presence, compassion, and unwavering support can become the touchstones of healing for your loved one. Stand beside them with love, every step of the way.
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Cherry, K. (2023, February 22). What is empathy? Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-empathy-2795562
Chevalier, G. (2015). The effect of grounding the human body on mood. Psychological Reports, 116(2), 534–542. https://doi.org/10.2466/06.pr0.116k21w5
Community Healthcare of Texas. (2021, June 11). Breathing through grief. https://www.chot.org/2021/06/11/breathing-through-grief/
Ghazizadeh, J., Sadigh‐Eteghad, S., Marx, W., Fakhari, A., Hamedeyazdan, S., Torbati, M., Taheri‐Tarighi, S., Araj‐khodaei, M., & Mirghafourvand, M. (2021). The effects of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L.) on depression and anxiety in clinical trials: A systematic review and meta‐analysis. Phytotherapy Research, 35(12), 6690–6705. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.7252
Gupta, S. (2010). Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with a bright future (review). Molecular Medicine Reports, 3(6). https://doi.org/10.3892/mmr.2010.377
Kersting, A., & Wagner, B. (2012). Complicated grief after perinatal loss. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 14(2), 187–194. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3384447/
Koulivand, P. H., Ghadiri, M. K., & Gorji, A. (2013). Lavender and the nervous system. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013(681304), 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/681304
Mairanz, A. (2019, September 19). Inhibit grieving: The dangers & how to stop it | empower your mind. Empower Your Mind Therapy. https://eymtherapy.com/blog/inhibited-grieving-what-are-the-dangers-how-do-we-stop-it/
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NCCIH. (2017, December). St. john’s wort and depression: In depth. NCCIH. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/st-johns-wort-and-depression-in-depth
NCCIH. (2020, August). Passionflower. NCCIH. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/passionflower
NHS. (2019). Overview – Miscarriage. NHS UK. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Miscarriage/
Stanley, T. (2020, September 17). A yoga nidra practice for releasing grief. Yoga Journal. https://www.yogajournal.com/meditation/yoga-nidra-for-releasing-grief/?scope=anon
Sutton, J. (2020, August 27). What is intuition and why is it important? 5 examples. PositivePsychology.com. https://positivepsychology.com/intuition/
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Yoga Journal. (2019, March 11). This home practice will help you reconnect to your body after a miscarriage. https://www.yogajournal.com/practice/yoga-sequences/yoga-after-miscarriage/
Zerdy, J. (2019, May 9). Six herbs for grieving and healing. Mindfulness & Grief Institute. https://mindfulnessandgrief.com/six-herbs-for-grieving-and-healing/