Grief & Loss
Grief is our response to losing someone that we love. It can result from any separation that takes us away from a loved one, that can be through death, divorce, abandonment, loss of a job or simply a dream. When it is a death because it is so final and permanent so it is usually the most intense.
Grieving evokes both behavioral and emotional responses. Some of the reactions that grieving people experience is; shock, denial, depression, anger and isolation. These phases do not necessarily occur in order and sometimes you will be going through several phases at the same time. As you grieve there will be emotional ups and downs.
Perinatal Grief and Loss
I counsel mothers through loss from ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, still birth or infant death. Whether you lost your baby today, months or years ago it is important to reach out and receive help. You need to acknowledge that even if you never met your baby that you still deserve to grieve and bring meaning to your baby’s life. You become a mother the moment you find out that you are pregnant. With a loss you are not only grieving the loss of your baby but the dreams of being a parent. Your sorrow is appropriate.
Whenever there is a death, there is guilt and a search for responsibility. As a mother there is a sense of responsibility as you were carrying baby, but it is very likely that you are not to blame. It is important to talk through these feelings of guilt so that you can move forward with healing. The forgiveness of self is a part of healing along side with beginning to bring meaning to babies life.
Men and women grief differently which can place a strain on the relationship. Fathers did not have the physical bond with baby so may not experience the same level of grief. It is important for fathers to give themselves the permission to cry and show their feelings. Also to accept one another’s grieving style, avoid blaming each other, support one another, be patient, talk about your baby and reach out for help.
Thinking about having another baby
When you begin to think about having another baby remember that your body may be ready for another pregnancy long before you may be ready emotionally. If you become pregnant too soon unresolved grief will enhance the anxiety and fear in your next pregnancy. It will be normal to have worry but if it becomes all consuming you will not be able to enjoy your pregnancy. Your next baby deserves a mother and father who have come to terms with their loss and are ready to love another baby. I would recommend not to rush, but give yourselves time to heal.
How I can Help
Counselling aids in guiding you through the stages of grief and normalizing your thoughts and behaviors. Learning how to cope with the painful and confusing emotions, coming to a place of acceptance with your loss and to begin to rebuild your life.
I recently had a client express to me, “You cannot take away my pain but you acknowledging my experience as normal has helped me”. You may be surprised by how intense your grief can be, but these reactions and feelings are normal. Every person’s experience with grief is unique and there is no right way to move through it. Everyone does not experience the same emotions in the same order or at the same time. It is important to reach out and talk about your grief and not be afraid to express the sadness. To begin to find solace and see your future again with some hope.