SHARE Atlanta Pregnancy and Newborn Grief Support Sibling Grief

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Gradually, healing will take place.
by Marcia McGinnis

Healing does happen

Hope will return. In most situations, the newly bereaved parent and family cannot even comprehend that their anguish will ever cease. They fear the lasting affects of their experience. This is normal. No one is asking the newly bereaved parent to accept these possibilities.

Gradually, coping and change happens in our family and grief lessens.

For most of us, as we continue down our path, we begin to realize that we can think about our experience and our baby in a different light. We realize that our surviving children are coping with their loss. Actually, they usually adjust faster than the parent, and we are relieved to see their progress. We find, over a period time, they return to the loss less frequently. Of course, we need to keep the lines of communication open and give them opportunities to talk (if they want to) about their deceased sibling.

Making our baby's presence in our life meaningful...

In our group we often touch on how our baby has influenced our surviving child(ren). In some ways, we gain comfort from sharing how special all of our children are in our family circle. Listed below are some of the ideas, about our children, that have been brought out in our groups:

  • They, with their family as support, have faced pain, coped and survived.
  • They have realized the importance of family.
  • They have come to trust their parents to be honest and inclusive.
  • They have learned that loss affects us in many ways, and it's okay to grieve.
  • They have seen that life is precious.
  • They have learned that life has its good times and its bad times.
  • They usually are more sensitive and compassionate than most children.
  • They may come to have a different perspective on life.
  • They may even "thank us" later for being included in our walk.
  • Children want to be included in a family's life

    SHARE children have expressed appreciation for being included as a vital family member during the time after the loss. Some have even mentioned that they wish they had been included in more of what happened. (This is especially true of the very young, as they grow older and understand more.) We encourage parents to remind their children they were doing the "best that we knew how at the moment". All of the family should be grateful for surviving a very difficult time in a family's history.

    It's never too late to make memories and mementos

    Planning a meaningful memento or activity that brings comfort to the living child(ren), often helps him/her to feel a part of this time in the family's history, (Refer to Coping Ideas/Mementos in our drop down box.) Written and compiled by Marcia McGinnis

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