October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day
Fran Solomon, Founder of HealGrief.org, offers advice on how to mourn, process the loss and help your family move toward healing:
1) What advice do you have for a mom experiencing loss?
The resolution of parental grief may seem like an overwhelming task. Take small steps. Break down the future into small increments, an hour, a day, and only deal with one portion at a time. Focus on tasks – feed the dog, do the laundry. These little bits of normalcy and focusing on the moment at hand will make grief more bearable.
2) What Resources are out there for moms going through this experience?
Do you recommend any support groups?
One of the crucial factors in healing from grief is the support of other people. Although the idea of a support group may feel intimidating it often provides comfort from being in a community of others who have some understanding of the depth of your grief.
Are there any books on pregnancy or infant loss?
There are many books written on the subject, both from a clinical point of view and others from a personal one. Reading stories written by others who’s child has died can offer hope that grief is transitional and tears can turn into laughter again.
What about blogs?
Blogs are also a wonderful tool. Engaging with others that share a similar story provides comfort that a bereaved parent is not alone.
3) If you have a friend who is currently struggling with pregnancy or infant loss, what is your advice on talking with them about it?
When a friend you care about is grieving, it’s often difficult to know what to do or what to say – especially if you haven’t experienced similar grief. Thinking about what to say can often be a stumbling block to saying nothing. That resulting silence can be extremely painful to the person who is grieving. Acknowledging your friend’s loss is crucial to their healing process.
- “I’m here to listen if you want to talk.”
- “You’ve been so strong and helpful for your family. If you want to lean on me, I’m here.”
- “It’s okay to be angry and frustrated – it’s part of loving someone and grieving for them. What you feel is normal.”
- “it’s okay to cry, and I may cry with you.”
- “Everything happens for a reason.” “It was meant to be.”
- “They are in a better place now.”
- “Thank goodness you are young – you can still have more children.”
- “Be strong, you can handle this.”
- “You need to move on.”
- “You’ll get over this in time.”
4) If you are the one currently experiencing the loss, how do you recommend talking about it with family, friends, etc.?
If you are the one currently experiencing the loss, it’s important to let others know your needs. Many people want to be supportive but are at a loss for what to do. Bereaved parents may have to be the ones to take the first step in reaching out to others. Let friends and family know your needs and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
5) If individuals are interested in getting involved with pregnancy & infant loss remembrance, how can they help?
6) How do you recommend someone who has lost their unborn child or infant, honor their child?
It may be difficult to resolve the grief felt when an infant dies. Even before one accepts their baby’s death, one must accept their life. As part of the healing it is important to honor and remember their existence. Lighting candles and creating memorials are just a few ideas but we often feel the need to create some tangible memory of them. HealGrief offers other ways to memorialize their young and sometimes unborn lives.
7) Is the process of grieving for the loss of your unborn child or infant similar to the process of grieving forthe loss of someone much older?
Grief is often described in stages, however it is personal and individual, and every person experiences its nuances differently. One’s personality, support system and coping mechanism are just a few factors that determine how individuals will grieve. Another important factor is the specific relationship an individual has with their loved one. Grieving is as individual as we are – there is no typical loss and no typical grief.
8) Do you believe men and women grieve differently in this process? How so?