Loss isn’t an easy story to tell. So often – we don’t. Instead, we stuff it down and close up shop. Our pain sits there, sometimes for decades, but it doesn’t go away. And when we do this, we miss the opportunity to see and understand, allow ourselves to have our feelings, and to move through the loss to a new place of healing and growth.
Coping with grief & loss
Treatment for grief and loss refers not only to death, but other types of loss, such as job loss, relationship loss, loss of health, loss of independence, infertility and miscarriage, pet loss, and more abstract losses such as loss of a dream.
Grief is the natural reaction to loss. It is a painful but also an inevitable aspect of the human condition; we will all experience losses throughout our lives. We often think of grief as a short time of pain or sadness in response to a loss – like the immediate days after a death. In actuality, grieving is a complex process of coping with a loss, and there is no specific timeline or predictable path. Individual experiences of grief also vary and are influenced by the nature of the loss. The intense pain, sadness, anger, numbness, and other emotions that one experiences while grieving can be incredibly challenging to navigate. Without proper support, people may become isolated, self-destructive, or develop unhelpful coping patterns as a way to manage their grief.
“Grief is in two parts. The first is loss. The second is the remaking of life. ”Anne Roife
Therapy for grief & loss
Therapy is a space where you can process your loss, understand the emotions you are experiencing, and begin to move through to a place of more acceptance. It is a space where you can become better equipped to deal with triggers and reminders, make meaning of the loss, and create healthy bonds or connections to what has been lost, if relevant. Grief work often also involves relational work and education of the grief process to those around you so that they can better understand how to support you. You can experience deeper connection to life and growth after the trauma of loss. You do not have to grieve alone.
Pregnancy loss is a devastating experience for many women and couples, as 1 in 4 pregnancies end in a pregnancy loss. Pregnancy loss can bring up unexpected and mixed emotions such as intense grief and sadness, anger, jealousy, relief, self-blame, guilt and shame.
It can be traumatic and trigger consuming grief, which may also bring up grief related to past losses.
Not only does pregnancy loss involve major emotional and relational tolls, but many also experience significant physical tolls related to medical procedures in the aftermath of the pregnancy loss, as well as hormonal and bodily changes as the body recovers. Pregnancy losses are unique types of grief events as they are “invisible losses,” there are no culturally held rituals to mourn pregnancy loss, and many feel alone in their grief as it is not universally experienced or easily understood by all.
Recurrent pregnancy loss (which was recently re-defined by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in 2020 as the spontaneous loss of two or more pregnancies), Terminating For Medical Reasons (TFMR), and experiencing Stillbirth (defined by the CDC as the loss of a baby at or after 20 weeks of gestation) are experiences which can involve deeply conflicted emotions and prolonged grieving. It is important to work with a clinician with specific training in helping clients through these unique experiences.
A therapist trained in pregnancy loss can help you:
- Process the pain of pregnancy loss and grieve healthily
- Find a way to honor the lost life/lives and create rituals to honor the loss(es)
- Process the difficult emotions pregnancy loss elicits that others in your life may not understand or be sensitive to (ex. anger, jealousy)
- Navigate triggering dates on the calendar (due date, anniversaries), interpersonal events (baby showers, birth announcements etc), and conversations with friends/family/coworkers
- Create a coping plan for getting back to regular life (work, social commitments, etc)
- Prepare your mind and body for attempting to get pregnant again