How To Deal With The Loss of a Child

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The death of a child is one of the most devasting experiences anyone can go through.

It brings immense grief and increases vulnerability to various emotions, including intense sadness, anger, and distress.

For some people, these intense emotions, when prolonged or left unresolved, may lead to mental health issues and complicated grief.

It is thus essential to find healthier ways to deal with the loss of s child.

For one, embracing your feelings of grief will be helpful during your grieving process.

As you grieve, it is essential to embrace the highs and lows, intense feelings, and painful emotions grief might bring your way.

You may never get over your child's loss fully, but accepting your feelings of grief will help build the strength to deal with your loss and gradually heal from the pain.

Also, seeking support for grief after losing a child is vital.

Sharing your feelings and thoughts with trusted friends, family members, or professionals will help you deal with loneliness and other painful emotions you might experience.

Similarly, you can find ways to remember your child from time to time and honor their memory.

You decide to donate to charity in your child's name or carry out grieving rituals to help you and others grieve together.

Read on to learn about the ways you can deal with the loss of a child:

Grief & Loss Therapists in Colorado

Kimberly Nefflen, LPCC

Kimberly Nefflen, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Holly Bradbury, LPC

Holly Bradbury, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Joshua Goldberg, LPCC

Joshua Goldberg, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Sherry Rice, LPCC, ADDC

Sherry Rice, LPCC, ADDC

Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Melvin Lee, LPCC

Melvin Lee, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Jasleen Karir, SWC

Jasleen Karir, SWC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Jackie Erwin, LPC

Jackie Erwin, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Paitton Callery, LPC, ATR-P

Paitton Callery, LPC, ATR-P

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Mikayla Braukhoff, LPC

Mikayla Braukhoff, LPC

Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Jenifer Seas, LCSW

Jenifer Seas, LCSW

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374

Embrace Your Feelings of Grief

Grief affects everyone in unique ways.

You may experience fear, anger, sadness, or even guilt - all of which are normal grief reactions to the loss of a child.

Regardless of how you feel, it's essential to know your feelings are valid and allow yourself the permission to feel: this is the first step to learning to deal with the loss of a child.

Validating your feelings may look like letting yourself cry, scream or even feel anger at the circumstances surrounding the death.

Let yourself experience all your emotions without feeling guilty, judging, or pressuring yourself to move on.

Also, no duration of time is too much or too little to grieve the loss of a child.

Grief is a personal experience; many often take months or years to heal fully.

Thus as a grieving parent, allow yourself the time and let yourself heal naturally.

Similarly, parents may grieve differently depending on their role in their child's life or even gender.

While you may experience numbness, your spouse might feel intense sorrow.

In this situation, it is vital to allow yourself to grieve differently and endeavor to understand your spouse's coping style. 

Seek Support

Losing a child causes intense grief; sometimes, you may want to isolate yourself from others because of your intense emotions.

However, reaching out for support can help you grieve wholly, connect with others with similar experiences, and deal with the loss of a child in a healthy way.

Support groups are an excellent opportunity to connect with others with similar experiences and struggles.

They also create an avenue for you to hear other people's grief stories, share yours, and receive emotional and physical support from people who may understand what you're going through.

Likewise, you can rely on friends and family for support.

Isolating yourself from people who care might make healing difficult and increase your stress, worry, and anxiety.

Instead, be willing to accept help from others and don't be afraid to seek support.

In addition, you can also seek support from professionals, including therapists and family counselors.

Losing a child can affect your emotional and mental health, which might strain your marriage and relationship with surviving children.

Seeking professional help can assist your family in walking through grief and getting through the difficult loss.

Practice Self Care

Losing a child can affect one's emotional, mental, and physical state.

The feelings of guilt, shock, and sorrow can be intense for parents, and daily tasks like cleaning, cooking, or bathing can become too difficult to perform.

While it is okay to allow yourself to feel, neglecting your physical health and surroundings can be counterproductive to healing and worsen the feelings of grief.

Practicing self-care can help you deal with the loss of a child and kickstart your healing journey.

You can start by ensuring you get just enough sleep.

Science shows that the loss of a child often feels similar to a severe physical injury, so you most definitely need all the rest you can get.

If you have trouble sleeping, you can establish a nighttime routine - relaxation exercises, comfy beddings, warm baths - that can help you relax and have a good night's sleep.

Also, you must remember to practice a healthy diet.

The pain from the loss of a child can overshadow the sensation of hunger and make it difficult to eat or even cook.

Do your best each day to eat healthy meals to remain strong.

You can find healthy takeout options if you don't feel like cooking or accept a friend's request to bring a meal.

In addition, to grief healthy and remain in good health, you must avoid excessive use of drugs and alcohol as they can cause addiction to substance use and create mental health problems like depression.

5.0 / 5
Randal Thomas, SWC

Overwhelmed and hopeless?

Colorado Springs, Colorado

(719) 602-1342

0.0 / 5
Stefanie Kerr, LPCC

"There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn't." - John Green

Colorado Springs, Colorado

(719) 203-7021

5.0 / 5
Kimberly Nefflen, LPCC

"Although the world is full of suffering it is also full of the overcoming of it." Helen Keller

Colorado Springs, Colorado

(719) 602-1342

Honor Your Child's Memory

A helpful way to deal with the loss of a child is to honor the child's memory.

Finding ways to celebrate your child's life can help you hold on to the memories you had with your child and keep them alive in your heart.

You can host a memorial gathering and invite your loved ones to honor your child.

Make this gathering an avenue to share good memories and stories others have about your child.

You can also create a scrapbook and include your child's mementos, pictures, school report cards, artwork, or photos of things your child loved.

The scrapbook will help you feel close to your child whenever you feel lonely without them. It can also teach others about your child.

Another great idea to honor your child's memory is to make a memorial donation by funding a project in your child's name.

You can donate to the orphanage, the local library, or your child's school.

Other ways include setting up a scholarship, becoming an activist, celebrating their birthdays, planting a tree, or lighting a candle. 

Stick to Healthy Coping Strategies

It is normal to want to find coping strategies to deal with the loss of a child.

While some coping strategies are helpful, there are also unhealthy ones that can derail the healing process and cause other problems.

One unhealthy coping strategy is excessive alcohol and drug consumption to escape reality or numb intense emotions.

While this may provide temporary relief, they only lead to stagnation, addiction, and other co-occurring substance use disorders.

It is thus advisable to develop healthy coping skills and strategies such as counseling, joining support groups, creating grieving rituals, attending yoga classes, reading, painting, or any other coping mechanisms that work for you.

Without healthy coping strategies, those who grieve their lost loved ones can succumb to unremitting depression and remain stagnant in their healing journey.

With the help of loved ones or a therapist, find coping strategies that work for you and stick to them. 

Conclusion

There is nothing like the grief that comes with losing a child unexpectedly. It's intense and extremely heartwrenching.

While learning to deal with the loss of a child will not be simple, If you put in the work and effect to heal, you will get through it.

Helpful tips that will make your journey a little bit lighter include; embracing feelings of grief, seeking grief support, honoring your child's memory, practicing self-care, and avoiding unhealthy coping strategies. 

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July 14th, 2024

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