Grief Is As Unique As Fingerprints
Your grief will never be the same as another person’s even if you’ve suffered the same event, like the death of your child.
Just know, that what you are feeling right now is normal. Take life one second at a time, acknowledge your feelings and know that by doing this you will learn to grieve in your own way.
We Aren’t Meant To Outlive Our Children
This is not meant to happen, we are not meant to outlive our children. You probably find it difficult to breathe through the crying and wondering how you’ll live through your grief. There may be many questions running through your mind like: Why my baby? Why me? What did I do wrong? How am I going to go on? Could I have done something different? Emotions are high and you feel out of control.
The reality is that what you are feeling right now is normal. You probably have not had a child die before so, like everything that is new, it’s important to learn how to grieve in your own, unique way.
Tips To Help
# 1 Just breathe
I know this sounds ridiculous but right now you’re probably finding it difficult to breathe because you’re crying all the time. You find yourself not wanting to get out of bed and once out of bed you want to stay in your pajamas, it’s okay, just do it.
In the early grief there’s usually shock and disbelief, you don’t need to get out of bed if you don’t want to. Be compassionate to yourself, grief impacts your body, mind and spirit to help you process what’s happened.
#2 Take your time
There is no timeframe for grieving and no right way to grieve. How you’re grieving now is what you need to do. Grief changes your life forever, your thought patterns are different, the way your react to things will be different and the way you interact with others will be different.
Life will never be the same again. All your hopes, dreams and plans for your child have disappeared. Sometimes there are no memories or very little physical memories because you have just given birth and lost your baby in what seems like almost the same moment or maybe you’ve just had a miscarriage. Then you come home from the hospital with empty arms, the emotional pain is indescribable. The excitement of the birth of your beautiful baby has been turned into an unexpected, unwanted ride on a roller coaster of emotions. Everything feels surreal, it feels like it’s happening to someone else or it’s some horrible nightmare that you will soon wake from but never do. I can remember thinking, “Stop the world I want to get off”. My thoughts became very dark but I had to keep going for my family.
The Nightmare That Becomes Your Life
There are so many things to do after the death of your child; organising the funeral; making phone calls to friends and family etc. Simple decisions become impossible choices.
The shock and numbness protects you for around six weeks and then reality hits and that is usually when friends and family stop asking, “How are you coping?” or stop coming around. They think things should be back on track but they aren’t.
You can’t believe that life is going on around you and you don’t know how to be in the world. A new silent world begins for you. Partners, friends and family have gone back to work and life goes on for them but not for you. Grieving is like learning to breathe again. It’s like feeling broken and thinking that you’ll never feel happy again.
Death Is A Taboo Subject
The loss of a baby is a taboo subject and all you want to do is talk about your beautiful, precious baby with whom you have bonded from the moment of conception.
The loss of a baby through miscarriage is often unrecognised and not acknowledged. Baby’s lost in early pregnancy are often considered “not real”. If the baby is born before 20 weeks they are not entitled to a birth certificate or a burial, so this lack of acknowledgment adds to the loss of your child.
Grief is unique to each person and every person’s journey is different. Sometimes people feel like they can help because they have been through the grieving process themselves, however they’re not you and don’t know exactly how you feel. They can help by letting you talk, cry and do what ever else you need to do.
This may be the most traumatic experience you will ever feel. Try to let friends and family sit with you, let them know that you don’t need anything fixed, you just need to do what you need to do and that may be just sitting quietly.
Even going home to the rest of the family can feel like you’re alone. Talking to your partner or family about what’s happened will be difficult because you’re all grieving. To add to the difficulty, you’re each grieving in different ways. It’s a heart breaking experience but it is one that you can survive with the right support.
Intense feelings, wanting to escape
Your world has collapsed. Want to hide from the world. Some days you do nothing but cry and other days you catch yourself not even thinking about your baby. It feels like you can’t wake from the nightmare that is now your life.
This feeling of being out of control is normal. You might feel like you will never stop crying or if you start crying you will never stop.
You may have set up your baby’s room and find it difficult to leave the room because that is where you feel closest to your child. It’s okay to feel this way. You don’t have to pack your baby’s things away just because someone else feels uncomfortable with them around. Wait until you feel you can deal with what you want done.
Your New Normal
Through this article I have spoken about what you might be feeling, how traumatic and excruciatingly painful that is. It’s time now to talk for a short while about how you can survive, be supported in a loving, helpful way to process your grief and make sense of you new life without your precious baby.
When you first get home, just breathe and cry. Do what you need to do and once things seem to be getting back to normal (for others) start to really take care of yourself.
If you want to know more about How Grief Impacts Your Body, Mind and Spirit click here
- Look after your physical health by exercising, go for a walk.
- Create a garden, plant a flower or tree in memory of your child
- Make sure you get enough sleep, to allow your body to rebuild itself and for you get the strength to carry on
- Try to eat 3 meals a day, these might only be shakes or a piece of fruit. In early grief you might only feel like a cup of tea and that’s okay
- You could go for coffee (with friends when you feel up to it)
- Give yourself time to be alone and remember your baby
- You might like to Scrapbook, write a journal, start a blog about your journey through your grief
- Include friends and family in your daily life. Let them know that you want to talk and it’s helpful to call your baby by name. Time with friends and family may also be spent going out to dinner and experiencing some joy again
- Eventually you might want to join a support group to connect with others who have experienced the loss of a baby and understand that you want to talk about what you’re going through
- Try not to self medicate with alcohol or other drugs
- Listen to music
Most of all, take your time. Don’t let others tell you that you “should” be over this by now. Your life has been disrupted in a way that they can never imagine.
Your journey is what you need to experience to get through this turbulent time because it won’t always be like this.
Many of your friends and family may feel confronted by your loss. Often they don’t know how to respond or what’s the best way to support you through this difficult time.
Working With A Professional
This is why working with a counsellor/psychotherapist who specialises in grief and loss can support you in a way your friends and family can’t.
Through grief and bereavement counselling you can:
- Gain insight into your emotions so they don’t overwhelm you
- Get support for your unique challenges so you can overcome them
- Reconnect in a loving way with friends and family
- Find resolutions to complex problems arising from the loss
- Achieve balance and wellbeing in your life again
- Discover how to feel happiness and joy again
- Improve your support systems so you don’t go through the pain alone
- Learn how to love and nurture yourself so you can begin to heal
What makes me different from other counsellors?
I’ve helped thousands of people navigate through their grief and loss. I have extensive experience of working with clients who feel their life is unravelling. Working with diverse clientele facing numerous challenges I have been able to help them negotiate their many obstacles, difficulties and conflicts that have arisen as they deal with complex issues of their grief, loss and its consequences.
Through grief, loss and bereavement counselling, my clients have found the strength, purpose and desire to live life again. After exploring their grief and understanding it more fully they realise that they can live with that loss but still engage in living life again. Together we can help you learn to live, love and nurture yourself once again.
I provide a professional point of view, which is coupled with my personal experience of grief and a wealth of knowledge that will help us work together effectively so you can discover the life you want.
Much of my professional training has focused on loss, grief, trauma and growth, so I have specific skills to help you navigate this difficult time.
What You Can Do Today
Let your friends and family know what you want and this can change each day. They can sit with you and not say anything, they can be present for you and not try to fix you. Let them know they can say your baby’s name and you want to share stories and memories with them. you might like to have a memorial.
You can write a list of things you want to discuss with family and friends. Let them know that sometimes you’ll want to talk and other times not and both are okay.