Dealing With Loss
The loss of a pregnancy and the death of an infant or child, no matter the age, can feel devastating and for some it may take a lifetime to work through. Many people often deal with this on their own and/or may not even have the support to work through the emotions, thoughts and challenges that come with such a loss. October is pregnancy, infant and child loss awareness month and here at Kiira we want to show support for the individuals that have dealt with such loss as well as their families and friends.
While loss is permanent, the feelings around it do evolve over time. You may have heard of the stages of grief developed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. She identified five stages of grief in her book “On death and dying”. These include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Keep in mind that some people may not experience all the stages of grief. Many people actually go through these stages in no particular order and some people experience some of the stages multiple times. I will explain these stages briefly:
Denial is often the first stage of grief and usually presents as the disbelief that the loss has occurred. Many people experience this because they are overwhelmed by the loss and this defense mechanism kicks in.
Anger is the next stage and can manifest as anger towards oneself, the situation, people, or objects. However, not everyone may feel angry, some may experience other emotions including frustration, feeling abandoned, anxiety etc.
The bargaining stage often involves trying to take control of the situation. People in this stage may find themselves negotiating and making “if only” and “what if” statements about how the loss could have been prevented.
In the depression stage individuals feel an intense sadness regarding the loss. It is a direct response to the loss and is normal when dealing with loss. This stage like other stages of grief may fluctuate and usually evolves overtime. Some people however may have a difficult time navigating this stage and may require additional help, like therapy/counseling, to get through this.
The last stage is acceptance. I often describe acceptance as embracing your truth. Acceptance does not mean that you will no longer experience the emotions that come with remembering a loved one, or that you have “moved on” but rather you are now more understanding of the situation and likely better able to navigate the emotions that come with grief.
Grieving is dynamic and there is no blueprint on how to grieve but here are a few tips that can help the process:
Understanding and accepting that the emotions will come
Beyond the stages of grief, there are many emotions an individual may experience when dealing with loss. As mentioned earlier, grief is dynamic and there is no blueprint on how to grieve. The emotions may come when we expect them and when we don’t. The best way to deal with these emotions is to embrace them and allow them to happen. It’s perfectly fine to feel sadness and anger from the loss and it’s also perfectly fine to feel joy and happiness from remembering the positive memories that you had during the pregnancy, or you shared with your infant or child.
Take care of yourself
When grieving, it can be difficult to take care of yourself like you did before the loss. Remember to engage in the hobbies and activities you enjoy. Remember to take care of yourself physically as it will help you better cope with the emotions.
Embrace the positive memories
Embracing the positive memories can help get through grief. Whether this includes putting together a photo journal or writing about positive memories, engaging in activities that honor your loved one and remind you of them will help with navigating the grieving process.
Speak to a counselor, join a support group
Grieving and loss can be extremely difficult to navigate, however there are many trained individuals and resources to help with this process. Here at Kiira we have counselors available to help support you through grief.
Here are some available links to support groups and grief resources: