A stillbirth can be emotionally traumatic for both parents. It shatters the hopes and dreams and changes the lives forever. Initial feelings of shock and confusion are combined with questions: What is the reason? Why me? Lack of support can add to the overwhelming feelings of grief and helplessness.
Grieving parents may experience a range of emotions – numbness, sadness, anger, guilt, helplessness and regret. Taking the time to understand your feelings may help in dealing effectively with the pain.
According to government data, stillbirths in Canada have increased from six out of every 1,000 births in 2000, to 7.1 out of every 1,000 births in 2009, the latest year that national statistics are available.
Symptoms of Grief after a Stillbirth
Every person has a unique response to the grief that is different from others. Some of the common symptoms of grief following a stillbirth are:
- Feelings of loneliness and isolation
- Irritability, helplessness, anger
- Guilt, blaming yourself
- Loss of appetite
- Sleep disturbances
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing your attention
- Difficulty in remembering information
- Feelings of emotional numbness and emptiness
- A sense of chaos, disorderliness
- A sense of despair about your future
- Difficulty setting goals for the future
If you are going through a difficult time after experiencing a stillbirth or loss of a baby, our therapists can help you cope. Our counsellors are professionally trained and have several years of experience in grief / bereavement counselling.
Talking about the loss usually allows people to adjust to their new life with all its changes – good and bad. Keeping things to yourself or denying the sadness could prolong the grief process. Any loss has to be accepted and acknowledged for us to move forward.
Stages of Grief Process
- Denial: This can’t be happening to me
- Anger: Why is this happening? Who is to blame?
- Bargaining: Make this not happen, and in return I will ____
- Depression: I’m too sad to do anything.”
- Acceptance: I’m at peace with what happened.
Our counsellors assist individuals and couples in these tragic situations to process the difficult feelings that accompany such losses. Therapy involves providing grieving parents with a space to acknowledge their sadness, and address the many emotions which can consume their lives. Therapy can also involve working on planning for another pregnancy, and on managing fear and anxiety which might accompany a subsequent pregnancy.
If you or somebody you know is going through a deep phase of grief after experiencing a stillbirth, contact us today. We have been providing grief counselling services for over a decade and have centers in Brampton, Mississauga, St. Catharines and Orangeville. Our grief program includes providing emotional support, problem-solving assistance, information and guidance for people who have recently lost a loved one. Services are available for widows and widowers, children who have lost a parent, parents who have lost a child, and other people who are grieving.