Anger and guilt are often two of the more prominent emotions a parent may feel (among the many others) after the devastating loss of a baby due to miscarriage, stillbirth or death right after birth. The anger and guilt that can come with losing a child are often strong and unrelenting. I will address the two separately, first anger in this post and guilt in my next:
It may not feel like it, but anger is a very productive stage of the grief process. Anger has the potential to consume you like a runaway train, however. When you lose a baby due to miscarriage, stillbirth or death right after birth you may be angry at many people and/or many things. It is very normal to be angry at medical personnel, your spouse, family members, other pregnant women, even yourself (your body) and God. You may think “Why did this have to happen” or “Why didn’t they do more to save my baby?”.
Many of us are taught that it’s not OK to show and/or outwardly express our anger (especially women). We often tend to suppress it. It is important to recognize your anger, and to have productive outlets to release it. Keeping your anger inside may cause it to build and create other problems for you both emotionally and physically. Here are some things you might consider doing to release your anger. Do whatever works best for you:
- Hit or scream into a pillow, throw a ball (soft preferably)
- Do some sort of physical activity like jogging, swimming or other exercise (make sure this is OK’d by your doctor first if you decide to do this shortly after your loss). I used to vacuum and pick weeds like crazy!
- Have a fit. Cry, scream and/or yell. You can do this in your car or in the privacy of your home. (I used to sit in my car in our garage and let loose.)
- Write about your feelings of anger in a journal. Make drawings or pictures of what your anger might look like, tear them up and throw them away (or keep them and throw darts at them- careful with the walls!).
- Talk to someone who is understanding about your feelings of anger
- Meditate, listen to soothing music, get in touch with your spirituality
In externalizing your anger, you may avoid situations that can be damaging to you or loved ones around you in the long run. If you purposefully express your anger, your grief recovery may be made somewhat easier to bear and you may perhaps begin to feel a greater sense of control over a situation that at times can feel completely out of control.
Peace Until Next Time,
P.S. Don’t forget Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is October 15th. Check www.october15th.com for information about ceremonies in your area.