SHARE Atlanta Pregnancy and Newborn Loss Grief Support SHARE Atlanta - Grief Support for Pregnancy and Newborn Loss

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Suggestions on Survival-Ways to help us heal

Somehow if we are at home within ourselves,
we will be at peace as we change "homes."

Mary Joe Hannaford

As we move
from knowing "what should be..."
to coping with "what is..."
to forming "what will be..."
In this "Process called Grief..."

Topics in this on birdhouse

"What are coping skills and why are they important to me?"

"A List of Coping Skills" -

What are coping skills and why are they important to me?

  • 1. Because there is no "band-aid" solution or "quick fix" when we experience loss, we need to develop, or strengthen, our coping skills in order to move through the grief process.

  • 2. Coping skills are the activities and methods we chose to do to actually help us navigate the path of grief.

  • 3. Grieving takes time, energy and patience. Coping skills help us learn to better use our time and energy while we are trying to learn patience!

  • 4. Coping skills help us figure out what to do with our present situation (the pain, stress, confusion, etc.), and, then, we can use them to deal with the changes that occur as we walk the path towards healing.

    i.e. Through writing and talking things become clearer and our direction more certain OR through exercise, gardening, etc., we release our anger, thus taking care of ourselves. These activities allow us time to redirect our energies as we grieve.

  • 5. Most of us are already using some, good "built-in" coping skills. Because we have used these activities for different "stress relievers" all along our life's journey, we often don't realize that they are normal, healthy ways to release pain - in order to heal.

    We reinforce these skills and learn new ones as we heal. Sometimes activities that we enjoyed in the pass...don't "feel right now". Try other activities for awhile. Your old favorities probably will catch up to you later. Or you may find the new ones feel even better!

    Karen Ritchey,form Canada, shares from the back of her CD "I'll Meet You In The Morning":

    "For as long as I can remember, I have loved music....In 1988, our first child, Kyle, was stillborn. The song in my heart was silenced. I could not hear a touched a place in my emotions that was still very tender. ..As my heart began to heal, I found that particular songs soothed my heart, bringing me gentle comfort. Songs of hope helped me to find joy again..." (for more about Karen and her songs.. see "New Paths...")

  • 6. Most important, coping skills can help us to remember that we can love ourselves, perhaps forgive ourselves, as we regain a sense of hope.

  • (Marcia McGinnis - (c) 1995)


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    A List of how to "Take Care of Ourselves"

    Select one or two at a time to "work on"
    be gentle with yourself on this path of healing
    Different ideas can "work" at differnet times!

  • Accepting grief as normal. The symptoms are not an illness...but part of a process.

  • Identifying and understanding secondary losses (i.e.: innocence, loss of role, self-esteem, security, etc.)

  • Listening to yourself

  • Making lists(to regain a sense of control)

  • Collecting Mementos ~ "Making Memories"

  • Pictures - saving the ones we have, of places and things we treasure in "our baby's memory"

  • Sharing with someone "safe"...Talking

  • Crying...releases "helpful" chemicals and tension

  • Memorial service, any time, done in a way that helps you to heal...when and as you need it...

  • Candlelightings...for remembering, to light the path of hope...

  • Reading(for information, escape,and fun)

  • Support groups...others have survived and want to reach out to you

  • Keeping a us a place to "get our thoughts out of the circle in our head"

  • Traditional Rituals

  • Spiritual

  • Working

  • Exercising and eating right...

  • Hobbies (gardening, painting, drawing, music)

  • Humor(activities that we can do that make us laugh! Yes, laughter is healing...and, in time, very important for our journey... )

  • Resting or "time-outs"(grieving uses energy-we must replenish our energy resources: i.e. sleeping, napping, walking, sitting or "just being")

  • As you heal...Volunteering to help others - either in your support group or in some group of you choice!
  • . Have your child's name inscribed in the Book of Life in the Church of the Holy Innocents, located in New York City. A Shrine in the church is dedicated to children who have died unborn. When you send your child's name and birth date, you will receive a certificate and pictures of the Shrine. You may e-mail them directly at, or you may fill out the online form at There is no cost for this service.

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    An opportunity to share your experience...

    Our pain is unique to each of us, but we are not alone on our journey.

    Through our "Sharing Stories Pages" we have tried to provide a safe place for folks to share their experiences, their feelings and their baby(s). We also have a Memorial Garden and Candlelighting section for remembering our baby(s).


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    "Coping Ideas Menu"

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