Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Research on Loss...please help!

Dear wonderful followers, sisters, friends.......

First, I want to thank you for reading. Something about knowing that people are out there caring about my reflections makes me feel less alone. You are special to me,even if you are silent.

Second, As a psychology student, I've been trying not to drop the ball in my studies. Naturally, I've come to be intensely curious about reactions to loss or trauma...hummmmm...I WONDER why? As such, I am currently doing research for a paper to be presented in my grief, loss and bereavement class for Grief counseling and Grief therapy.

I need your help.

If you have suffered the trauma of a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss, please take the time to copy the below list of questions and attach it as a comment. Also, if you could include a brief bio of your loss, it would add mounds to my cause. I promise to keep your identity confidential, and am ever so grateful to all of you for your help. Please understand that you do not not not not not have to have had therapy for your loss. I am interested in how women cope with their grief, and this is only a small sample of the questions I actually wonder about.

I have almost reached my year anaversary for losing the first of our twins, little Alexander...and I've been having a hard time pressing forward in this semester. I really appreciate all of you for helping...please don't feel you have to if it feels too raw. ((HUG))

Interview Questions: Please start with a short bio of your circumstance of loss.

1. Did grief therapy/counseling help directly after your loss?

2. How did your coping style differ from your spouse? If
noticed, how did that difference affect you?

3.Research suggests that
parent's often grieve differently. Did your appreciation/understanding for your spouse's grieving style change with time?

4. At what point did you feel that your grief was the most intense?

5. Did you ever catch yourself feeling happy, okay, or positive in any way and then feel guilty about it? Did you feel that you had to be in pain to be faithful to the loss?

6. What words and actions were helpful from friends and family; what words and actions were hurtful?

7. It is generally considered a myth that couples divorce after loss of a child--though most people think the opposite is true. Did you ever feel that your marriage was in trouble or unbearable?

Thank you ALL....You make each step a little easier to take. ((HUG))


  1. My firstborn son was born at 32 weeks and was very sick. He died 8 days later.

    1. Therapy helped a lot after losing my son. My husband and I saw a therapist together, and in addition to that we went to group therapy for bereaved parents. It was good to be able to have a place to talk about our son, how we were feeling, and to be told that what we were feeling was normal. It helped me feel like I was doing something to help myself.

    2. In the beginning, my husband and I were there together, in exactly the same space. Very shortly, our coping styles changed. I withdrew, and didn't want to do anything. I just wanted to be (or sometimes not even that). My husband wanted to do. He worked harder and more efficiently than he's ever done before. He worked all day and all evening, every day. At first I felt upset that we weren't doing the same things, or thinking about and processing things the same way. The someone from the group support meeting said that she trusted her husband's grieving. That was a turning point for me, and I realized that I could trust that what he was doing was good for him, and we didn't have to be in the same place, and it was OK for us to have our own journeys.

    3. It changed in the beginning, when I first understood that we could grieve differently, but since then I don't think things have changed. We're both still there for each other, and we both still miss our son.

    4. My grief was the most intense for 6 months. It was crazy intense. Then, for some reason, I felt like I didn't want to be quite so sad anymore. I was sick of the sadness and the grief. There was some kind of turning point for me, and from then on I did a lot better.

    5. I don't think I've ever felt guilty for being happy, but in the beginning I felt guilty for eating nice food. Like why should I be eating this nice food, that my son never got to eat. I felt that while I was so sad, I didn't deserve nice food or nice things.

    6. It was helpful when family cried with me, sent me cards to let me know that they were thinking of me and that they were upset too. It was hurtful when nobody would mention my son's name. It was hurtful when they left the phone conversation whenever I got upset. I learned to communicate better with my mum and we can talk about my son now.

    7. I was scared of this in the beginning. I had no idea what to expect. I was scared I would go crazy. However, in reality I don't think there have been any times where our marriage has been in trouble since losing our son.

  2. Our baby Isabella died when I was 23+5 week pregnant after two previous miscarriages. I was very poorly during the pregnancy and was just starting to feel better. We have no explanation for her death.

    1. Umm, this question assumes people can afford that stuff...which we could not. I tried ringing a babyloss charity helpline but could never think what exactly I was supposed to ask for. I went to NHS "counseling" which involved going back to the hospital where Bella died and sitting in the waiting room with pregnant people and then the "counsellor" telling me about her upcoming holidays. Anyways, in short no. Reading about other womens experiences on blogs was the most helpful thing I did, I knew I was not going crazy and that I was actually pretty typical.

    2. DH was very strong and moved on from raw grief far quicker than I did. I wanted to look at pictures of her and talk about her where as DH preferred to try not to think about her.

    3. Everyone is unique I tried not to compare how we reacted although I do remember being slightly annoyed as he seemed to "get over it" so quick.

    4. A few months after was the worst, when everyone expects you to be ok. I would be fine all day and then would spend all night crying. It was very hard pretending to be ok the whole time for my other children.

    5. I felt guilty if I was happy at first, I also felt really bad about getting close to DH

    6. I don't think anyone said anything that was helpful mostly everyone ignored the subject. I had lots of "I'm so sorrys" which made me cry every time anyone said it. My mother in law is very good at saying little things that upset me, like " it could be worse" (really?) and that "it's like a bereavement (like? FFS!)

    7. Luckily we are a very strong couple and we have supported each other through this.

  3. My first children, twin girls, were born extremely prematurely at 23 weeks. My eldest, G, died at three days old. Her twin sister, J, survived and, after four months in intensive care, is healthy and at home with us.

    1. I saw a counselling team attached to the NICU whilst my daughter was a patient there. I remained as an outpatient under a perinatal mental health team for about a further 5 months. I believe it helped, particularly whilst J was still very ill and the NICU team had experience in dealing with the death of a child and, additionally, issues arising from the loss of one of a multiple birth.

    2. My husband wanted to make everything better. He went back to work and 'normal' life again far more quickly than I did. I certainly did not start to 'function' again as quickly as he did. I have some memory loss from the month after G's death but I do remember crying a great deal. In public too, which I think embarrassed him. We're British after all! I don't think he cried as much, at least, not in front of me. I think I resented him somewhat. For being stronger than me maybe?

    3. Definitely. I appreciate that, just because he doesn't express himself in the same way that I do, doesn't mean he doesn't grieve for our daughter. We grieve in parallel. Following the same general trajectory, but not necessarily an identical path.

    4. Probably during the first two months. Although it is surprising how, after nineteen months have passed, the grief can still sometimes feel as strong as in those first few weeks.

    5. When I felt sad, I felt ungrateful for my surviving child. When I felt happy, I felt as though I was leaving her twin behind.

    6. Most people didn't say a great deal until my surviving daughter came home and then, they tended to focus on her. I'm grateful to every single person IRL and in blog land world who mentions G. The most helpful things were 'you'll always be her mum', 'I know that it will always hurt' and 'you just step sideways out of your life for a little while and when you're ready, you'll go back.' A comment I find very hurtful is 'what a fighter' her sister is or how her survival is an answer to prayer. It seems a slight on my daughter who died. Sadly, I don't think, living isn't about fighting or prayers.

    7. Not seriously. I think it threw our relationship into relief, there was nowhere to hide the flaws. But I think we'll be alright.

    I hesitate to post this. I hope that my mentions of my surviving twin aren't hurtful. I know that, because you're a mama to twins yourself, you understand that my joy in one doesn't cancel out my grief over the other.

    Thinking of you as approach this difficult time and remembering your sons, Alexander and Simon. xo

  4. I've had 3 early miscarriages and 3 infant deaths due to extreme prematurity, after infertility for 9 years.

    1. No

    2. Although I am more verbal with my grief, we grieved together. He was surprised and not initially happy that I blogged my grief, but he does now and is supportive.

    3. Our grieving, though different, was open, so I never felt like I needed to come to terms with his grieving style.

    4. Immediately after my children died, during subsequent pregnancies, and now, watching my living twins grow up and reach milestones that I know their siblings wont.

    5. I used to, but them I realized that the legacy my dead children have is my life on this earth. To deny or miss out on the joy, would be an insult to them. So, I desperately try to live each day to the fullest, even when it is painful.

    6. I was and remain grateful to the people who always remember and acknowledge our children. Their lives were short but beautiful. I am still hurt by comments like "it is better they died", etc

    7. No, not once.

    I'd be happy to chat more if you'd like. Just email me!

  5. Thank you all SO much for your ability to share with me. ((HUG)) I love you all.


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