Grief Process

Understanding the grief process... The book, "Empty Cradle, Broken Heart", by Deborah L. Davis, Ph.D., Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, Colorado, Copyright ©1996, is a great resource for understanding the grieving process after the death of a baby. In her book, Davis explains that "to resolve your grief you must go through the grieving process and work through denial, anger, guilt, hurt, despair, and other painful feelings". The book also lists ways to ensure work through the grieving process. Suggestions include:
  • Having realistic expectations about yourself and your grieving. Recognize that your grief is exactly that - yours. You need to find your own path and do what is best for you.
  • Giving yourself permission to experience all of your emotions and thoughts. Some of these may seem unacceptable to you, but if you have them, you are entitled to them.
  • Identifying all your different emotions. Separating them makes them more manageable and easier to cope with, instead of burdening you with a huge, confusing mixture of pain.
  • Dwelling on your memories and hopes and dreams of what might have been. By reviewing your experiences and your fantasies, you can identify what you have lost and then gradually let go of your emotional investment.
  • Identifying the things you regret not doing with your baby and find appropriate ways to have closure.
  • Taking care of yourself as you grieve. Give yourself opportunities to be alone and cry. Be patient with yourself.
  • Getting the social support you need. Grieving in isolation is more painful and makes reaching resolution more difficult.
  • Having realistic ideas about what resolution means. Remember that you aren't giving up or forgetting your baby. Healthy grief and resolution mean adjusting to a new future while remembering and finding appropriate ways to feel connected to your baby.
To read more about understanding the grief process and pregnancy loss please consult Davis' book.

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