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Bereavement & Grief




When the loss of a baby occurs:

It is never easy to loose a child. To finally, have them home and everything be in a state of bliss, to being left with unanswered questions about what happened is a very traumatic experience. After the death of a child occurs there is an intensive investigation that may or may not have the answers you looking for. You may feel you have no time to grieve or be alone. Sometimes there are no answers for the cornier to give. Not only will the parent/s be affected by the loss but the whole family as well. The best thing you can do if you know someone that has lost a baby is, being there when you are needed. This is a very emotional time with lots of questions and emotions swirling around inside of you. You may feel angry, extreme sadness, or you may even be in a state of shock. It is normal for parents to slip in to a state of numbness. You may even fall into a state of carelessness. You may have a thought that is followed by another that contradicts the first. You cannot live if your baby is dead. You may not be able to respond at all. You may find yourself in state of “subliminal space”, between life and death. The pain of loss, longing, emptiness and even strange sensations you may not understand, can turn into physical pain.
You may even have a “phantom baby”. Although there is no baby anymore, the mother’s psycho physiological needs tend to persist. She is still in a way dependent on her baby. She will constantly be preoccupied with the baby, the grave and death. She may be so dependent on the grave that she cannot leave the locality. You may have to visit the grave everyday, and when you don’t you are thinking about it. You may also feel you, yourself are in a grave because the baby is in a grave. They almost have a physical existence in your family. Phantom babies are said to be a symbolic representations of grief. The alternative religious metaphor is a baby angel, which splits the traumatic experience into two: the disconcerting body of the baby in the grave and a consoling angel. Grief reflects the psychological and spiritual attachment to the baby that was lost physically and strongly resists abandonment of the baby. It is based on the primeval energy of parental attachment, which is used, although there is no baby.
Some mothers have said the feeling of distress, restlessness, anxiety, and pain are largely due to the fact that she was suppose to protect and keep her baby alive.
It may feel like you will never have closure and be yourself again. Ideas of recovery appear early on in the process, balancing the mind and necessarily protecting you from developing a split personality. The experience of grief is not only stepwise, but multi-voiced and stratified. There is reciprocal movement within it like in paradoxical loops. The loss of a baby results in grief that runs counter to the expectations. The parents have invested so much energy in the baby who is no longer alive that they tend to re-create her/him in their minds psychologically or spiritually. Grieving thus involves deep attachment rather than detachment, and the processing of this attachment makes it possible to recover.  The subliminal time of grief is shown in the altered way of experiencing things. One lives in an altered time with strange symbols, omens, dreams and unusual psychic and physical experiences.

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Grief of family members
Fathers are generally the best supporters for their wives .The mother's grief process and recovery are reflected in the family's overall coping. If the mother is able to share her attachment to the future baby early on in the pregnancy, the father is able to support his wife after their bereavement. The challenge posed by grief to the father is a need to find his own specific grief beyond the mother's grief. It is important for families to be able to be alone from time to time. Children were the active parties who interpreted and commented on their parents, and who used use their energy and imagination to console their parents by all possible means. A child may also assume the role of a therapist in relation to her/his parents. In this study group, latency age girls who had identified with their mother's pregnancy appeared to be at risk, because they also lost symbolically the baby or identified with the baby and began to fear for their own death. Children may also have transient age-appropriate symptoms and therefore need an adult to talk about things that are important for them. The basic attitude of children towards death and dead people is natural and curious. Children are conscious of the paradoxical quality of their parents' grief, because they share a cyclic notion of time and way of reasoning. Children are also able to delay their own grief reaction to help their parents.

Grieving can take years. A study showed the recovery time varies tremendously, depending on the individual personalities of the parents and the family structure. Most of the family’s recovery process takes place through dialogue between the family members, which allows them to find new meanings. Their goal is to survive the catastrophe by finding new meanings for the family security system, their identity as a family and their world view. Although the restlessness, anxiety and depressive moods disappear, grief continues as a long process. The first year is the worst. Each parent has her/his individual schedule. Grief is not something that becomes linearly alleviated, but rather a circular process that is activated by the intense initial guilt and obsessive need to find out causes and details surrounding the death of the child. Active grief time lasts usually for two or three years. Grief for the death of a baby continues at some level for ever, although it is not pathological or complicated. When time elapses, the feelings of pain alleviate.

Please remember you are never alone. Many sites offer bereavement groups, which can help you through these hard times. If you would like to share your story and talk to people that know what you are going through, or just need a distraction, please stop by our forum. We would love to hear from you. I wish you all the best.

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last updated 07/06/09