Grief and Loss
Pregnancy loss and infant death are sudden and unexpected, overwhelming and devastating. The loss may feel unbearable. You might feel shocked, numb, angry, sad, helpless, fatigued, and lonely. It may be difficult to concentrate and complete daily activities. Individual Therapy Therapy offers personalized, compassionate, and non-judgmental support for you to grieve an early miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, late miscarriage, medical termination, stillbirth, or infant death. In therapy, you can process your feelings and emotions, develop coping skills, learn to manage holidays and anniversaries, and re-establish balance in your life. You may need support in processing the trauma of your experiences Couples Counselling You and your partner may process grief in different ways. Couples counselling can help you support each other in your experience so that you stay connected. Working together, you will develop healthy ways to communicate with each other as well as family members and friends. Trauma The loss of a child is traumatic in itself, however in many cases, families have witnessed their infant’s passing, found the baby themselves and then witnessed the attempts at resuscitation. This can leave parents feeling traumatized. They may have flashbacks of certain parts of their experience that they are haunted by. The brain takes time to process traumatic events, and in some instances traumatic images, smells, sounds etc. can not be fully integrated and therefore act as triggers. Over time, these triggers should desensitize, however, if they do not, then your brain can be triggered into reacting as if you are right back in the actual event. EMDR is a therapy that can help with this.
I facilitate a Perinatal Loss Support Group through Abbotsford Hospice that is offered free of charge. Please contact Abbotsford Hospice at 604 852-2456 if you are interested in attending.
Am I Grieving Normally?
There is no right way to grieve. The following checklist may help you figure out how you are doing. As time passes, you will be able to answer “yes” to more and more questions. If you are not able to answer “yes” to many questions, or if you are unsure about how you are doing therapy can help.
- Am I able to laugh without feeling guilty?
- Do I pay attention to my personal appearance? (hair, clothes, make-up)
- Do I enjoy being out with friends for an evening?
- Am I feeling pleasure in sexual experiences?
- Am I able to sit quietly by myself and think of things other than the loss?
- Do I take an interest in current events and new? (television, radio, or newspaper)
- Do I feel I can effectively parent my surviving children?
- Am I able to do the daily tasks I am used to performing? (housework, cooking, yard work)
- Do I look forward to outings, trips, and special events?
- Am I involved in activities that I participated in before the loss? (work, volunteering, sports team, exercise)
- Can I talk about the loss without showing strong emotion? (sadness, anger, jealousy)
- Do I feel as though the fog has lifted?
- Do I pay attention to my surroundings? (beautiful scenery, the taste of food)
- Am I able to get a good night’s sleep and awaken feeling rested?
- Am I able to concentrate on work and conversation?
- Am I less forgetful and better able to think clearly?
- Can I recall past events?
- Do I feel stronger and more in control? (less like an open wound, better able to cope with others’ comments, better able to cope with everyday crises)
- Do I feel that there is meaning in my life?
Limbo, R.K., & Wheeler, S.R. (1998). When a baby dies: A handbook for healing and helping (2nd ed.). La Crosse, WI: Bereavement Services.