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Coping With The Loss Of A Child

Losing a child is a devastating experience some parents may go through. We’re here to support you through this difficult time.

Upset woman comforted by man

Losing a child of any age is one of the hardest things that any parent can go through

Grieving the loss of your child can be painful, exhausting and consuming.

Not only are you grieving for your child, you are also being forced to adjust to a life and future without them.

You’re grieving for hopes and dreams you had for them and the experiences you won’t get to share.

If they were your only child, you may also be feeling lost in your identity and grieving your connection to the future.

It can seem like the pain will never end, but it’s important to know that it will get easier and you will find a way through this.

Grief is a normal, natural process that takes a long time to work through

Dealing with grief is different for everyone so it’s important not to compare one person’s grief with another. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • There is no right or wrong way to feel or grieve
  • Everyone grieves in their own way
  • Grief has no set pattern or rules
  • There isn’t a timeline for grief
  • There are no shortcuts to overcome grief
  • Some days will be worse than others
  • It will get easier to handle with time

Grief can be expressed in many different ways

Whatever comes up for you is natural and valid. Some common reactions to grief include:

  • Numbness
  • Anger
  • Guilt
  • Shock
  • Denial
  • Yearning
  • Physically ill
  • Disorientated
  • Isolated
  • Depressed
  • Hopeless
  • Loneliness
  • Powerless
  • Jealousy
  • Confusion
  • Blaming
  • Sadness
  • Distress
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Changes in appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Disinterest
  • Irritated
  • Despair

Helping yourself grieve

Grief is a natural response to loss and it can help to keep these things in mind while you are grieving:

  • Accept your feelings - They are normal and valid
  • Be patient with yourself - You will have good days and bad days
  • Talk about it – Share what you’re going through with friends and family
  • Keep up a routine - Try to keep your life as normal as possible
  • Allow others to help - Allow friends and family to help you
  • Look after yourself – Grieving can be exhausting and consuming
  • Take time off from grieving – It’s healthy to take a break
  • Delay decisions – Wait a while before you make any major decisions
  • Trust in time – Know that you will get through this in time
  • Continue your bond with your child – They will always be part of your life

If these feelings become too much for you to handle or you’re worried about how you’re coping, it’s important to seek professional help.

- Sky, Parentline Counsellor

It’s OK to grieve in different ways

Sometimes it might be hard to understand someone else’s way of dealing with the loss

  • Parents may grieve in different ways depending on many things eg. their beliefs, culture, family history
  • Some parents may express their feelings more often, reach out for support and find talking helpful
  • Other parents might want to work through it on their own or become more involved in work/activities
  • The way that a parent grieves does not mean that they loved the child any more or any less

Who can help?

While you both find your own way to grieve, it’s important to have someone you can talk to about your loss when you need.

Here’s who else can help:

You don’t have to go through this alone

Your grief will become less intense and less frequent over time

This content was last reviewed 17/05/2018

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