Soundwaves Perinatal Bereavement Support

Bereavement Support For Parents Grieving the Loss of a Baby During or Just After Pregnancy

Waves of Grief June 10, 2010

After losing a baby during or just after pregnancy, waves of grief can hit months, even years later. The grief process takes most of us on an arduous journey. Many of us find ourselves mourning our babies long after the supportive cards, letters, phone calls from well-meaning friends and family stop coming. After a while, our grief comes in waves often when you least expect it: at the grocery store, at a place you visited when you were pregnant, seeing people who haven’t heard the news yet, listening to music, and can especially occur around holidays, birthdays and/or anniversaries.

I thought I was doing OK three months after giving birth to my stillborn twin sons, but then the holiday season was upon us. I didn’t feel much like celebrating. What was supposed to be a joyous occasion with two newborn babies was now a dark, empty and lonely time. Two days before Christmas, after much deliberation, my husband and I finally decided to get a tree to decorate.

Normally, we would have cut a tree down ourselves weeks before the holiday, dragged it happily home, and decorated it listening to Christmas carols, all while sipping a fine Cabernet. Not so that year. We hurriedly purchased our tree from a parking lot vendor and threw it up in the corner of our family room. I tried to make the decorating time cheery by playing some favorite Christmas music. For a while, the spirit of the season filled the room.

That is, until I leaned into the tree to place the final ornament on the last empty spot (I had lovingly collected ornaments for years prior). At that moment I lost my balance, and pushed the entire tree to the ground. The sound of ornaments crashing to the floor filled the room as I covered my eyes in horror.  I fell to my knees in near hysterics- for this was the very last straw. My husband pulled me up and sat me on the couch. I cried and cried. My grief was still so raw, and this was far too much to bear. My husband held me, whispering that it would be OK. In my heart I knew it never would.

After a while I finally pulled myself together, took a deep breath, and surveyed the damage. Luckily, most of the broken ornaments were balls used as “fillers,” not ones I had truly treasured over the years. My husband and I silently pushed the tree back to its standing position, cleaned up the mess,  and went to bed.

Waves of grief like that hit me hard for a year or more after my boys were gone. I still on occasion, eleven and a half years later, ache for my lost sons. But those waves of pure sorrow are now fewer and far between. Thankfully, that intense grief lost its grip over my body and mind after a period of time. I think it’s purely a mechanism of survival. Don’t be mistaken, I will always love and miss my twins. But the intense, constant grief of those first years has calmed. 

If you have recently experienced a loss, know that you are not alone, and you too, will get through this. Be kind to yourself as you ride the waves, knowing they will subside in time…

Remembering Your Children With Heartfelt Sorrow,

Claudia

 

Coping With the Holidays December 12, 2009

Dealing with the holidays after the loss of a baby due to miscarriage, stillbirth or death right after birth can be extremely difficult, if not downright nearly impossible. Seems like everyone around us is celebrating, while we are left grieving intensely for the child we wish were with us, especially at this time of year.

Here are some suggestions from Compassionate Friends (www.compassionatefriends.org) that may help you better cope at this time: 

1. Plan ahead. Realize you will not be able to do everything with everyone. Decide what is truly important to you and your family.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask friends for help. Tasks which may normally take little effort can feel overwhelming, whether it’s fixing a meal, cleaning the house, or putting up decorations.
3. No one expects you to string rows and rows of lights just to prove you have the holiday spirit. If you don’t feel up to past efforts, you may simply want to place an electric powered candle in your window in memory of your child.
4. Just because you’ve hosted holiday gatherings in the past doesn’t mean you’re obligated to this year. Others will understand.
5. After a child dies, old traditions are often left behind and new ones that incorporate the child who died can take their place. Honor the memory of your child in unique ways that have meaning to you.
6. Surviving children should be included in your plans. They, too, mourn their sibling, but need a normalcy the holidays can provide.
7. If you don’t get everything done you plan, be easy on yourself. Grief is tough work and you should never feel guilty for not completing every task.
8. If you must shop for others, find a time when the stores are not extremely busy like early morning, order through the Internet, or ask others to shop for you.
9. Participating in a memorial service, such as The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting the second Sunday in December, this year December 13, can be very meaningful. This can be done in a formal service with others or through a short private candle lighting in the privacy of your home.
10. Remember that the fearful anticipation of an approaching holiday is usually worse than the day itself.

Please visit www.compassionatefriends.org for more information about the Worldwide Candle Lighting at 7:00 pm local time December 13th. Anyone who wishes can light a candle for one hour in remembrance of a child who has died.

God Bless- I will be thinking of you and all your beautiful angels this holiday season.

Claudia