Experiencing the loss of a child is a heartbreaking and devastating event that can leave parents feeling lost, alone, and overwhelmed with grief. Unfortunately, there is often a silence surrounding this type of loss, leaving many people feeling isolated and alone. It is crucial to break this silence and foster open conversations about the profound impact that perinatal loss can have on individuals and families.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghNovember 16, 2023 coping with loss, death of child, family loss, grief, grief counseling, grief therapy, grieving process, infant loss, loss counseling, loss of a child, maternal mental health, miscarriage, perinatal loss, perinatal mental health, stillbirth0 comments
The Stigma Of The Loss Of A Child
One of the reasons for this silence is the stigma surrounding perinatal loss. Many people feel ashamed or embarrassed to talk about their experiences and may worry about being judged or misunderstood. This can make it difficult for them to seek the support they need, further exacerbating their feelings of isolation and grief.
Navigating the Grieving Process Of Perinatal Loss
Coping with the loss of a child due to miscarriage or infant loss is a deeply personal journey that can be difficult to navigate. There are many emotions and challenges that parents may face after experiencing a miscarriage or infant loss, as well as some tips for finding hope and healing during this difficult time.
First and foremost, it’s important to acknowledge that there is no “right” way to grieve the loss of a child. Everyone’s experience is unique, and there is no timeline for healing. Some parents may feel a sense of relief after a miscarriage, while others may experience intense sadness and depression.
Similarly, some parents may find comfort in talking about their loss and seeking support from others, while others may prefer to grieve in private. By sharing stories and experiences, individuals and families can connect with others who have gone through similar experiences and find comfort and support in knowing that they are not alone.
Embracing a Range of Emotions After The Loss Of A Child
One of the most important things to remember is that it’s okay to feel a wide range of emotions, including anger, guilt, and despair. These feelings are a natural part of the grieving process and should be acknowledged and validated. It’s also important for parents to take care of themselves during this time, both physically and emotionally. This may include seeking Grief Counseling, joining a support group, or taking time off from work to focus on healing.
Another challenge that parents may face after a miscarriage or infant loss is navigating the reactions of others. Friends and family members may not know what to say or how to offer support, which can leave parents feeling isolated and misunderstood. It’s important to communicate your needs to others and to seek out those who are willing to offer non-judgmental support.
Finding Hope and Healing After Perinatal Loss
Finding hope and healing after a miscarriage or infant loss can be a long and difficult journey, but it is possible. Some parents find comfort in creating a memorial for their child, such as planting a tree or creating a scrapbook. Others may find solace in participating in a charity walk or fundraiser in honor of their child.
Whatever path you choose, it’s important to remember that you are not alone and that there is hope for healing and recovery. Ultimately, miscarriage and infant loss can leave parents feeling lost, alone, and overwhelmed with grief. Coping with these emotions and challenges is a deeply personal journey, but there are resources and support available. It’s important to acknowledge and validate your feelings, take care of yourself, seek support from others, and find hope and healing in your own way and on your own timeline. By doing so, we can reduce stigma, promote healing, and help families to navigate this challenging journey.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghJune 28, 2023 complicated bereavement, complicated grief, death, death of child, death of husband, death of parent, death of wife, grief, grief counseling, grief therapy, grieving process, grieving the loss of a parent0 comments
Have you ever wondered “is this normal?” during the grieving process. We are here to help you answer that question. According to Therese Rando, there are many things you can expect during the grieving process.
You can expect that the grieving process will take longer than most think. According to the Center for Prolonged Grief, “Acute grief occurs in the initial period after a loss. It almost always includes strong feelings of yearning, longing and sadness along with anxiety, bitterness, anger, remorse, guilt and/or shame. Thoughts are mostly focused on the person who died and it can be difficult to concentrate on anything else. Acute grief dominates a person’s life.” Progressing through the grieving process can be different for everyone. Grief is not universal as most think. Grief is individual and individual to each type of loss.
There are many different types of loss, such as sudden, unexpected traumatic loss (suicide, homicide, overdose, car crash etc.), loss due to medical complications or terminal illness, pet loss, loss of relationship or marriage, loss of pregnancy, loss of spirituality/faith, loss of health due to chronic illness, etc.
In her book, “How to Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies,” Therese Rando discusses that:
- Your grief will show itself in all spheres of your life: psychological, social and physical.
- Your grief will depend upon how you perceive the loss.
- You will grieve for what you have lost already and for what you have lost for the future.
- Your grief will entail mourning the loss, your hopes, dreams, and unfulfilled expectations you held with what you have lost and for the future needs unmet because of the loss.
- You may have a combination of anger and sadness, such as irritability, frustration, annoyance, and/or intolerance.
- You may experience some form of anger and guilt.
- You may have a lack of self-concern.
- You most likely will have trouble thinking (memory, organization and intellectual processing) and making decisions.
- Sometimes you may feel like you are going crazy.
- You may find that there are certain dates, events, and stimuli that bring upsurges of grief.
- Society may have unrealistic expectations about your mourning and may respond inappropriately or unhelpfully towards you.
You may experience any or all of the above. Due the nature of the loss or circumstances around the loss, you may grieve differently. For example, common themes for suicide loss, according to Christina Zampitella, PsyD, FT, include shock and disbelief, guilt, blame, rejection, abandonment, anger and so much more. Whereas someone who experiences reproductive loss may experience self-blame, emptiness, lack of possibility and security.
How Can Grief Counseling Help With The Grieving Process?
The goal of grief counseling is to get a person to an integrated grief, meaning, you can find a place for grief in your life and honor what you have lost. Working with a grief therapist can help you process the complicated emotions that come along with grief. No matter what your journey is, we are here to help.
Interested in Grief Counseling?
Are you interested in exploring the potential benefits of Grief Counseling? We’re here to assist you on your journey towards healing and finding solace. Feel free to reach out to our knowledgeable team directly at 412-322-2129. Alternatively, you can fill out the form below, and we’ll be in touch shortly to address any inquiries or schedule an appointment.
We look forward to connecting with you and exploring how Grief Counseling can support your emotional well-being and overall healing process.
Written by: Kelsey Counihan, MSW, LCSW and Certified Advanced Grief Counseling Specialist. If you are interested in working with Kelsey, please contact us at 412-322-2129.
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghNovember 15, 2021 anticipatory grief, bereavement, coping with loss, death of child, death of husband, death of parent, death of wife, family loss, grief, grief counseling, grief therapy, holidays, loss counseling0 comments
Kristen saw her reflection in the full-length mirror. She looked lovely in the beautiful dress she had purchased for her company’s holiday party. Yet, in the blink of an eye, Kristen found herself sobbing, the carefully applied make-up now smeared by her tears. She didn’t know how she was going to get through the event. All she could focus on was her beloved sister, whom she tragically lost a month earlier.
The holidays are upon us. We look forward to the festivities, gatherings, and gift-giving accompanying the celebrations. For many, however, it’s the first year a loved one will not be joining in the party or sitting in their usual seat at the dinner table. The positive emotions associated with this time of year are hard to find, and painful ones may be ever-present. So, how can we get through it or help someone we know who is struggling? Here are some important points to remember when coping with grief during the holidays:
- Recognize acute/intense grief. This period immediately follows the loss of a loved one and can be characterized by a sense of numbness or disbelief. In addition, there may be physical symptoms: problems with sleep, headache, weight change, nausea, crying; emotional symptoms: sadness, anger, irritability, anxiety, helplessness, guilt, apathy, denial; behavioral symptoms: forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, dreams of the deceased, preoccupation with death; and social symptoms: sensitive, withdrawn, hyperactive, underactive, lack of interest, low self-esteem. Understanding and conveying the intensity of what the person may be experiencing is normal and can provide support.
- Grieving takes time. After the funeral or service, often friends and extended family move on rather quickly. The one suffering the significant loss can feel as if they are lagging behind or taking an abnormal amount of time to get over the loss. Be willing to talk about memories and feelings for as long as it takes. Remind them that the grief process is unique to each person, and they are in charge of the process.
- Grieving is dynamic. As time moves on, it may seem that the person is doing better but begins to have periods of intense emotional responses. As reality sets in and the shock dissipates, more emotions may surface and be expressed more fully. Grief comes in waves and can be triggered spontaneously by a memory, smell, location, context, or another person. Grief can also be triggered during certain times of year including the holidays, the anniversary of the death, and the deceased loved one’s birthday. Offer a shoulder to lean on when those challenging moments occur.
- Limit activities if needed. No one should feel obligated or pressure another to engage in activities if they don’t feel ready to participate. Going ahead of oneself can make things worse. Instead, gently remind the person the choice is theirs, without a need for an explanation.
- Isolation. Too much isolation can be detrimental. Make an effort to take the initiative to check in or stop by to provide a connection. Sending a note or card may also convey that the person is not alone and in your thoughts.
- Remembering helps. Planning unique ways of remembering the person who is gone may be emotional but can be comforting to the person grieving. Always ask first, but perhaps consider ways to have a meaningful time together reminiscing.
The loss of someone we love is a tremendously difficult part of life; we can lovingly support one another through the process of grief until fond memories become more endearing than painful. If you or someone you know could use extra support, we offer grief counseling.Learn More
by Counseling and Wellness Center of PittsburghApril 14, 2018 bereavement, complicated bereavement, complicated bereavment, coping with loss, death of child, death of husband, death of parent, death of wife, divorce counseling, grief, grief counseling, grief counseling monroeville, grief counseling pittsburgh, grief therapy, grief therapy monroeville, grief therapy pittsburgh, healthy mourning, loss counseling, seperation0 comments
Grief and Loss, Beware The Traps of Grief, Finding Healthy Coping.
Grief is an emotional reaction characterized by sadness, hurt, hopelessness and intense longing for someone or something that is no longer a part of our lives. While there are many forms of grief, and we can even at times go through the grief cycle when are making significant changes in our lives and looking back imagining how much we would do differently if only we were equipped with what we know now. While depression may share symptoms with grief, they are different disorders. In other forms, we may experience a life transition, loss of a job, or lose a chance that we had hoped to gain. For the purposes and scope of this article, we will focus on the kind of grief which is experienced due to the loss of a loved one due to death or break up.
There is no time line on the normal or appropriate amount of time to grieve the loss of someone we love. Although the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual recommends that grief should become more manageable after one year for a first degree relative. Yet we also know that life will likely never be the same after, loosing a loved one, spouse, a child, a parent or friend. The agony of loss will be something that is remembered for many, many, years to come. Grief and loss are a process which can be worked through in an emotionally supportive therapy or grief counseling, but there are also pitfalls which accompany grief;
- Some traps of grief are that we imagine that we could have done something to change the ending of the story, this is true for all losses. Both a breakup or the death of a loved one can cause us to replay the events over and again in our imaginations, and even magnifying portions of the events, embellishing upon what we could have done differently.
- Grief can at times lead to many forms of guilt, when we magnify what we could have done differently, we then invariably feel guilty that we didn’t achieve those things, that we couldn’t save our person from dying or leaving a relationship. At other times, we may feel relieved for the loss and then experience intense guilt for the relief or for not feeling as much sadness as we imagine we should feel.
- Grief at other times can become complicated, our bereavement can take on unhealthy forms and even lead to complications such as depression, or lead us to reach for unhealthy attempts to bury our pain such as addiction, we may socially isolate, men in particular may be vulnerable to not activating their support network after a loss. This leads to greater distress and complications.
- Repressing our feelings or pretending that loss didn’t impact us, we as humans can be very clever in the production of all sorts of diversions which assist us in not managing our emotions, it is important to practice and enhance self-awareness during grievous times.
- Not knowing how to label emotions or losing hope that the sadness and grief can be managed and processed in a way that is constructive. Grief is something that we innately feel at some point in our lives but that we don’t often know how to manage.
Grief is a universal and human experience that may even be related to the depth of ones affection. We must allow ourselves to love, to hurt, and to heal, and it is the price that we pay for having ever loved at all.Learn More