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Navigating Maternal Grief: Understanding its Impact on Mothers and Their Babies
Navigating Maternal Grief: Understanding its Impact on Mothers and Their Babies


When things go wrong they go horribly wrong resulting in disastrous consequences. For most of us living in stable environments death is not a close companion. With improved technology and relatively safe environments most people don’t experience a death until quite late in life. So, when a mother experiences a  loss of a child, parent or another close person the effects on both her and her baby can be profound. The aim of the article is to shed light on how maternal grief affects both the mother and her unborn child, and to offer guidance for navigating this challenging journey.

Understanding Maternal Grief:

Grief  can be thought of as the anguish a person experiences after significant loss, usually the death of a beloved person. Most of us identify grief through seeing the person going through physical distress but there are many other ways grief can show. For example a person can suffer with separation anxiety confusion, obsessive dwelling on the past and apprehension about the future. However, if grief persists it can become life-threatening as the stress of unresolving grief they often neglect themselves and their immune system starts to breaks down.

At the heart of grief lies a deep loss of expected hopes and dreams that will never be realised. Everyone that makes a wish or starts anything new such as a relationship, a job, lifestyle and in  pregnancy the loss of a child, infertility, health complications, etc., hopes that it will become true. When hope is dashed completely this is what leaves us bereft and longing. 

How we deal with grief often depends on how you have been brought up, your beliefs, culture and experiences and how the people around you respond. Many people are not sure how to support a person going through grief. There is also an expectation of how people should be in their grief process and also when grief ‘should be done!’ as though there is a time limit to grief.

Psychological Impact on the Mother:

It is tough managing a breakup, job loss, death, illness, etc., without being pregnant. However, even though pregnant women have a hormones that help to calm a mother down she still has a heightened sensitivity to emotions. This means that any trauma and stress effects maybe heightened resulting in a not only a mother’s mental health diminishing but also her physical and emotional wellbeing. Often there is a huge amount of guilt, powerlessness and hopelessness associated with grief such as ‘what could I have done differently, better, if only…The constant rumination keeps feeding into the feeling hardwiring that grief pattern. This can make a pregnant woman very anxious, hypervigilant or even prone to diabetes and or other such birth complications.

“Maternal grief is a profound echo of lost hopes and dreams; it’s a silent reverie where the heart mourns the future it had lovingly envisaged.”
The Impact of Maternal Grief on the Unborn Baby:

The overwhelm that comes form experiencing grief causes a huge amount of stress on the body. It can be challenging to take care of oneself and others at the best of times but the massive energy drain to do ordinary daily activities can be profoundly crippling. Self-care and nourishment often is sadly neglected resulting in  sub-optimal conditions for both mum and baby. Stress affects hormonal balance and this can result in early miscarriage, pre-term labour, underweight or failure to thrive babies.

The fact is all forms of grief and grieving leaves a trauma imprint, it doesn’t matter whether the mother has experienced grief during her pregnancy or even from previous attempts to get pregnant or from pregnancy related complications these trauma imprints have been shown to be passed on to a mothers offspring. It has been shown that prenatal exposure to the death of a maternal relative increases take-up of ADHD medications during childhood and anti-anxiety and depression medications in adulthood. Reference studies on how stress and grief during pregnancy can affect foetal development.

“For a mother carrying life within her, grief is a unique storm—its waves are felt deeply, not just by her soul but also by the innocent life she nurtures.”
Emotional Connection:

When we experience stressful events we often can defer back on our attachment style. This pattern is hard wired and so, we short circuit there. Importantly this pattern was designed by us when we were little in order to survive and so when we are pushed beyond the brink as in deep grief this is the go to place that we go. And so, when a mother has grown up with a secure attachment to her primary caregiver she is more likely to seek help when trouble happens because she is confident that others will help her. Thus, she is more likely to be in-tune and bond with her child and easily attends to hers and her baby’s care. She feels safe and content is more open and relaxed even though sad things are happening. Also, her mental state will stay positive and she will be emotionally resourceful.

However, this is often not the case for mothers that haven’t developed a secure attachment with their primary caregiver. Thus, they are less likely to have the resources mentioned earlier and so, tend to do the exact opposite unless they have done inner child and trauma work on themselves. They probably are more likely to suffer quietly and not ask for help. They often tend to be more anxious, sleep deprived, irritable, snappy and emotionally labile. Because they are dysregulated it is hard for them to be in-tune with their baby or child thus, bonding correctly with their child can be challenging. If they are not helped and they can’t resolve their grieving this sets up lifetime patterns for her and her child.

“Supporting a grieving mother goes beyond mere consolation—it’s about creating a sanctuary of understanding where healing can germinate from the seeds of sorrow.”

Supporting a Grieving Mother:

As a coach my role is to recognise when grief is present and to hold a mother so that she can find a way to heal. Key aspect of helping a mother going through grief are:

  • Empathy and kindness:  The most important part of working with a pregnant mum is to be extremely gentle and so, empathy and kindness go a long way in supporting a person going through grief.
  • Naming the situation: I have found so many people shy away because it is too hard for them to deal with the emotions coming form the person that they fail to address this factor. This means that there is this huge elephant tin the room that nobody is talking about.
  • Staying present: This means that listen and not try to fix things. This is a challenge for many of us. But if you are wiling to do this you will give the person grieving the permission to open up to a very tender moment.
  • Speak with respect and honour the love: Be respectful that this person is grieving because their hopes of a future is dashed. It doesn’t mater how big or small that hope was it needs to be honoured.
  • Don’t Challenge: If they are feeling guilty don’t challenge just listen. Often people in despair have cyclical thoughts that need to just be voice and witness by some else. Stopping them in mid flow can interrupt the exiting of them. Just pace yourself and so, gently give them space.
  • Staying present: This means that listen and not try to fix things. This is a challenge for many of us. But if you are wiling to do this you will give the person grieving the permission to open up to a very tender moment
  • Ask them what they need: Try not to predict what you think they need. Instead ask them what they need and want. This will create a sense of order and control for them.
Case Studies:

Here is an example of how quickly healing can happen.

Client 1: Sarah, booked in for coaching and when I asked her what brought her to therapy she told me that she didn’t know why and immediately went into floods of tears. It turned out that she her baby had died a couple days after birth. Since then she had been unable to conceive although that wasn’t her high priority on coming in. I quickly realise that she was still very traumatised from the birth and still grieving for her baby. I quickly realised that she didn’t really talk about what happened to the baby other than the facts. This was something she should ‘be over’ and didn’t really want to connect to the pain of that experience again.

Comming from a midwifery background I was able to ask different sorts of questions. I was able to find out that despite having a prolonged labour a rather big baby there didn’t seem to be a reason for the still birth. When asked what sort of honouring ritual does she do for her baby. She told me that they sometimes visit the baby’s grave but they hadn’t been in a while because of their busy lives. So, I asked her would it be okay to create a space somewhere at home where the baby could be represented – somewhere where she could cherish that baby and also, have the baby in a place close to them where they could allow themselves to love it. She love the idea promptly telling me that she felt he was so cold in the grave. So we spoke about how she could do this and she left.

The next time I saw her she was like a different person. She had implemented what we had been preparing previously, started sleeping properly and had her first proper bowel movement in a year. Needless to say that within the next two moths she got pregnant and I was asked to be present to support her at her birth. This time the baby was the ideal weight and the labour went well.

“The resilience of a grieving mother is not measured by her ability to avoid the depths of despair, but by her courage to dive into them and emerge with hope anew for herself and her child.”

Client 2: Rachel, came to see me for anxiety. She was fearful of catching things that would make her ill. She had a three month old baby who seem delightful. During the history I found out that she’d lost her middle child after an illness and asked had she done any grief counselling. Apparently she had had counselling but they didn’t really go into depth. I realised that it didn’t take much to put her fear of dying and having a child that had died  that she may be still grieving. When I asked she didn’t think that this was connected but was willing to explore around the death of her child given that this anxiety was also spiralling into anxiety over her children. She was becoming ultra vigilant and constantly worrying about her older child.

First we started in teaching her state management and ego strengthening to help her to manage her anxiety. She also learnt how to make the connections between what is happening the present to something that happened in the past.   A key factor was her learning to name her feelings. Naming her thoughts took her out of her head which helped her to quickly calm down. Many of us don’t realise that we are frightened  because we can’t see where the danger is and so we are always looking around but when we name we bring the thought into substance and it is in front of us. Now we know where it is and this give us a feeling of control.  After a few sessions we set up protocols for energy techniques to make greater shifts and now she is living a much more carefree and happier life. She can now recode the anxiety and also knows that even if things are challenging she can trust in herself

So for both these ladies learning to move through their grieving experience has given them a greater sense of resilience and strength. They have learnt to listen to their inner voice, take time for self-care and recognise that they must put themselves in the forefront of their minds. More importantly as mothers they can be a wonderful supportive influence for their children.

“Amidst the shadow of grief, a mother’s love becomes her guiding light, transforming loss into a legacy of strength for her child.”

Practical Tips for Mothers:
  1.  Prioritize Rest and Sleep:
    • Grief can be physically and emotionally draining and so by ensuring adequate rest and sleep helps the body and mind recover.
    • Tips: Create a calming bedtime routine, avoid caffeine before bed, and try to maintain a regular sleep schedule.
  2. 2. Healthy Nutrition:
    • Eating a balanced diet can significantly impact your emotional and physical well-being.
    • Suggestion: Focus on whole foods, stay hydrated, and try to eat small, nourishing meals throughout the day, even when you’re not feeling hungry.
  3. Physical Activity:
    • Exercise releases endorphins, which can improve mood and reduce stress.
    • Options: Gentle activities like walking, yoga, or swimming can be especially beneficial. It’s important to choose an activity that feels good to you and doesn’t add to your stress.
  4. Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques:
    • Practices like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or progressive muscle relaxation can help manage stress and anxiety.
    • Application: Even a few minutes a day can make a significant difference in your overall well-being.
  5. Expressing Emotions:
    • Allow yourself to express your grief. This could be through talking with a trusted friend, writing in a journal, or engaging in creative activities like painting or music.
    • Validation: Remember, it’s okay to feel a range of emotions and expressing them is a part of the healing
  6. Seeking Support:
    • Professional Help: Consider talking to a therapist or counselor who specializes in grief and loss
    • Support Groups: Joining a support group can provide comfort and understanding from those who have similar experiences.
  7. Setting Boundaries:
    • Personal Boundaries: It’s okay to say no to commitments or social gatherings if you’re not feeling up to them.
    • Communication: Let others know that you need time and don’t be afraid to ask for help or space.
  8.  Time for Yourself:
    • Personal Time: Dedicate time to do things that ou enjoy or find relaxing, even if they seem small or insignificant.
    • Hobbies and Interests: Reconnect with hobbies or activities you enjoy, or consider exploring new ones.
  9. Mindful Breathing or Grounding Exercises:
    • Practice: Engage in mindful breathing or grounding exercises to stay present and reduce feelings of overwhelm.
  10. Connect with Nature:
    • Nature’s Healing: Spend time outdoors. Nature has a calming effect and can help put things into perspective.

Remember, self-care is not selfish. It’s an essential part of coping with grief and ensuring that you’re in the best possible place to care for your unborn child. Everyone’s grief journey is unique, so it’s important to find the strategies that work best for you.

“A mother’s embrace is powerful enough to carry her through grief and gentle enough to nurture hope in its wake, for herself and the life she carries.”

In conclusion, the journey through maternal grief is a deeply personal one, marked by profound changes and challenges. This journey can impact not only the grieving mother but also her unborn child, echoing through generations if unaddressed. However, through the compassionate support of a coach, and the use of tailored strategies that acknowledge the mother’s unique experience and emotional state, healing is possible.

The stories of Sarah and Rachel remind us that the path to healing is not a one-size-fits-all. It requires a space where grief can be named, honored, and processed without the pressure of time or societal expectations. It’s about creating a sanctuary, whether it’s a physical space in a home to remember a lost baby or mental strategies to manage anxiety, that allows for a connection to the love and the loss.

The resilience and strength these women discover on their path to healing are testaments to the human spirit’s capacity to find balance and hope in the wake of profound loss. As we support grieving mothers, we must remember the power of empathy, the necessity of self-care, and the importance of empowering these women to put themselves first, for their well-being and for the well-being of their children. Through this supportive and mindful approach, mothers can emerge not only as survivors of grief but as beacons of strength and nurturing for their families, embodying the resilience and love that will shape the lives of their children.

The steps we take to support a grieving mother, therefore, must be as multifaceted and dynamic as the women we serve. As practitioners, our role extends beyond mere guidance—it’s about walking alongside them in their journey, providing the tools, the empathy, and the space needed to navigate their grief. It is in this sacred space of understanding and support that healing begins, allowing mothers to reclaim their peace and create a legacy of strength and love for their children.

If this article resonates and you are experiencing pregnancy related challenges maybe I can help. Book yourself in for a FREE introductory chat. In that session we can start exploring what you want and how I can help you you to achieve that outcome. We need to know where are your potential blocks (your biggest gaps) and what is in season to work with right now. Timing is everything and pregnancy is a time when we can do magnificent work together to help you make the biggest difference for you in attaining your outcome.

“When a mother faces grief, she plants the seeds of resilience; with each tear, she waters them, and with time, they bloom into a sanctuary of peace for her and her child.”

If you are ready I would love to support you on your journey.

I would also deeply appreciate if you could like and share this article on your social media.

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Question: What is the psychological impact of maternal grief on the mother?
    • Answer: The psychological impact of maternal grief on the mother can be substantial. It encompasses a heightened sensitivity to emotions due to hormonal changes during pregnancy, which can exacerbate the feelings of guilt, powerlessness, and hopelessness associated with grief. This can lead to severe anxiety, hypervigilance, and even physical health complications if not addressed appropriately.
  2. Question: How can maternal grief affect the unborn baby?
    • Answer: Maternal grief can cause significant stress on the body, which may negatively impact the unborn baby. The massive energy drain from the mother can lead to sub-optimal conditions, potentially resulting in early miscarriage, pre-term labor, or the baby being underweight or failing to thrive. Stress can disrupt hormonal balance and leave trauma imprints that may affect the child’s future health and behavior.
  3. Question: How does a secure attachment style in mothers influence their handling of grief?
    • Answer: A mother with a secure attachment style is more likely to seek help and support when faced with grief, as she is confident that others will be there to assist her. This secure attachment enables her to be more in tune with her and her baby’s needs, helping her remain open, relaxed, and emotionally resourceful despite the grief.
  4. Question: What role does a coach play in supporting a grieving mother?
    • Answer: A coach’s role in supporting a grieving mother is to recognize the presence of grief and provide a supportive environment for the mother to heal. This involves displaying empathy and kindness, naming the situation to acknowledge the grief, staying present without trying to fix the grief, and asking the mother what she needs instead of assuming or predicting her needs.
  5. Question: Can you provide an example of how a grieving mother overcame her grief with the help of coaching?
    • Answer: Yes, one example involves a client named Sarah, who experienced the loss of her baby shortly after birth. Through coaching, she was encouraged to create a space at home to honor and remember her baby. This helped her process her grief and find closure, leading to improved sleep, better physical health, and eventually, a new pregnancy that went full term. Another client, Rachel, learned to manage her anxiety through state management and ego-strengthening techniques, as well as making connections between past events and present feelings, which greatly improved her quality of life. Both cases underscore the transformative power of personalized support and the journey towards resilience and strength in the face of grief.
General FAQ

If you have any questions, feedback, or need further assistance, you can easily message me through the contact form on my website. I strive to respond promptly to all inquiries and look forward to connecting with you!

How can I message you?

If you have any questions, feedback, or need further assistance, you can easily message me through the contact form on my website. I strive to respond promptly to all inquiries and look forward to connecting with you!

What services do you offer?

As a Pregnancy and Infertility coach, I specialize in helping professional women to navigate the challenges they experience on their pregnancy journey. I help them reclaim back control by provide them with a safe, non-judgmental space where they can openly express their feelings, fears, frustrations and be empowered to confidently create a safe, nurturing and loving environment for themselves and their unborn child.

My passion lies in empowering women to effect sustainable, positive changes in their lives. To achieve this, I employ a diverse range of transformational tools that help in the release of trauma, PTSD, grief, and loss, particularly those stemming from their primary mother wound. Together, we embark on a journey of growth and healing, inspiring each individual to find solutions that ensure a healthier and more fulfilling pregnancy experience.

Can anyone benefit from your coaching programs?

Absolutely! While my specialization is in tailored to working with professional women who are focused on issues surrounding pregnancy the primary trauma that most women experience is a the collect mother wound. My coaching programs and healing books are designed to benefit any individual, especially women, seeking to overcome trauma, heal deep wounds, and create a positive impact on their lives.

How can I access your trauma healing books?

You can access my trauma healing books, Amazon’s number one best-selling authors, through various platforms, including Amazon Kindle, paperback, and other online bookstores. Additionally, you may find links to these books on my website, making it convenient for you to explore and purchase them.

Using Conscious Pregnancy a Pathway to Sovereignty

A holistic approach is always going to be the best approach in treating anyone whether their goal is to heal or to evolve. Every decision we make is influenced by our emotions. Emotions are the physical or embodied part of our feeling or thoughts. Our brain tries to make sense of our sensations and feelings things by giving them labels. We do this because it is a quick way of accessing information. Therefore we need to have our body and mind working together in harmony. This is what I do. Together we create the right physical and mental environment to focus on the outcome that you want. We will look at things like regulating your diet, sleep, activities, etc. so that you can experience feeling of being more in control and living more joyously.

Are your coaching programs tailored for specific individuals?

Yes, my coaching programs are personalized to cater to the unique needs and goals of each individual. Whether you a want coaching for reasons such as improving relationships, spiritual connection, optimising health or seeking healing from the Mother Wound, I will work closely with you to design a program that aligns with your desires and aspirations and which will result in personal growth.

How can I stay updated on your offerings and events?

To stay informed about my coaching programs, trauma healing books, and upcoming events, you can subscribe to my newsletter on the website. By joining the mailing list, you’ll receive regular updates, exclusive content, and early access to any new releases or offerings.


Content and imaging co-created with myself and opensource AI technology

“In the harmonious radiance of our soul, we find the strength to not only face our deepest fears but to reshape them into stepping stones for our greatest achievements.

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