How to Comfort Someone After the Loss of an Infant
If someone around you has lost an infant recently, chances are you’re not sure what to do. That’s okay. It’s not something we necessarily know much about unless we’ve experienced the loss of a child ourselves. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to be able to at least offer some comfort.
Not everyone grieves in the same way, so it stands to reason that not everyone will accept the same kind of comfort. But there are many ways to help someone who’s recently lost an infant. Here are a few ideas on what you can do to comfort them.
When going through a difficult time, having external support is invaluable. But support can be shown in different ways. If you don’t know what to say, that’s perfectly fine. There are no magic words in this situation. If you want to say something comforting, make sure to keep it simple and sincere. If you really don’t know what to say, don’t be afraid to tell them that. A little honesty goes a long way.
It’s important that you don’t feel pressured to say something. Sometimes, just being there is enough. Maybe you can just sit in silence for a moment as a silent show of support. If they feel like talking about how they feel, then you can sit down and offer them your full attention. A good listener does more than you’d think.
It’s important to remember that there is no timeline for grief. Being there for this person is important, but in order to do so, you’re going to need to be patient. If they don’t want to talk about how they’re feeling, pushing them might not be a good idea. If you insist they should return to normal before they’re ready, you might be doing more harm than good. It’s very important not to dismiss the pain this person is feeling.
Check in regularly, if you can, without being overbearing. Ask how they’re doing. Comforting someone going through loss is not going to be a onetime thing. Grieving is a process, and it may take a long time, but there’s nothing more comforting than knowing you have someone in your corner.
Offer to Help Out
It can be hard to keep your life together when you’re consumed by grief. If you’re worried about the well-being of someone who’s recently lost a child, you might want to offer them help. It might mean something simple, like bringing them cooked meals.
It could also be offering to help set up any funeral or memorial service if they find it too hard to do on their own. And if you’re not sure what you can do to help, don’t be afraid to ask them. Let them know they don’t have to do this alone. It’s more comforting than you’d think.
Consider Professional Help
Offering comfort is a great place to start, but it’s likely that someone who has recently lost a child will need more help than you can give. If they’re open to it, encourage them to seek professional support.
It can be in the form of support groups for people who’ve recently lost an infant or even individual counseling. Don’t force the issue if they’re not receptive, but letting them know that this is a valid option for them is a good place to start.
If they’re willing but too nervous to seek professional help, there are ways to make it easier on them. Maybe you can drop them off on time for their appointment so they’re not alone, or you can offer to meet up afterwards for a comforting activity if they’re up for it.
But that is a thought for later. For now, just start with a single step. Encourage them to reach out and schedule an appointment. Everything else will follow.
You can also learn more about how Mindful Reflections can be a support by checking out our Pregnancy Loss Counseling page.