Counselling After the Loss of a Baby or Child
The combination of counselling and my personal experience enables me to have a deep understanding of the emotional trauma that people can experience before, during and after pregnancy and childbirth. I believe that once you understand your feelings, healing can then begin. It gives you a dedicated, safe and respectful space in which you can process your experience, grieve your loss and find a way to make sense of a world in which such things can happen.
Grief is a natural process, but sometimes the emotional impact can be overwhelming and have a great affect on relationships, past attachments and life in general. Individuals and couples that have experienced loss and trauma during pregnancy and birth can, with support and guidance, begin to process their experience and slowly learn how to live with and manage their emotional responses in a new way in their “new normal”. The “should’ve beens” are the toughest as they will always present themselves. They are a painful trigger and can be challenging as they will continue to arise, they will catch you out when you least expect it. They will become less painful once you share them and as time passes you will adjust to these feelings.
Grief can be isolating and confusing, with no set pattern, and counselling support can offer a safe place for individuals to explore their feelings and emotions. This can help to make sense of what they are going through, what their needs are, and how these needs can be met. Loss and grief of a baby are often not talked about openly. I think it is important to raise awareness and understanding of the impact loss and grief of a baby can have on individuals, as well as their extended family and support network, and to recognise the need to offer support to individuals who face such difficult challenges including trauma. I know that the pain is often hidden and faced alone as there are concerns and fears about discussing it in our normal friendships and work networks. Parents will experience sadness when friends they had tried to talk to were not always supportive, undervaluing the impact of their loss, or being uncomfortable about the topic responding with silence or platitudes that trivialise the loss. Unless someone has experienced a loss of a baby it is very difficult for others to understand what you are going through. I feel the loss of a baby is the worst thing anyone should experience. Sadly this happens too often and isn’t talked about as there is still a taboo around baby loss. I hope that the taboos surrounding baby loss are continually broken down so that bereaved parents can heal.
We sometimes have uncontrollable emotions and reactions that we do not understand but can have a severe impact on our daily lives. These can come from unprocessed experiences and unexpressed emotions. We can be tempted to try and avoid these symptoms, however we can reach a point when we know we cannot avoid them any more. We can feel completely stuck and lost.
For individuals coping with loss and grief, I believe their focus does not have to be on letting go or moving on, as instead working towards adjusting to and accommodating their loss and grief within their lives can help the process of going forward.
The healing process is imperative, it can help parents hold on to and develop new continuing bonds with their babies. Connecting to them by establishing rituals to strengthen the memories. Inviting existing siblings to create and maintain bonds of love after the death of their sibling. This can help parents to integrate the memory of your baby into your ongoing life and subsequent pregnancies. Ensuring you have self compassion for yourself during this time finding things that you like to do to help you with your healing.
When a client comes to see me, I seek to provide a space whereby they can express whatever they are feeling in an environment of acceptance. I believe that through the safe, trusting relationship with the counsellor, healing can come as we understand, learn and practice a different way of relating to ourselves and others. I think that many people struggle to freely be themselves and this journey to self-acceptance is made easier through being accepted by someone else. I can offer you a safe place to explore and express your emotions without being judged.
By being alongside you and your experience I offer a warm and caring relationship and a safe space to talk, to enable you to begin to make sense of the many confusing emotions that are present. Having a greater and deeper understanding and personal meaning often makes it possible to move forward with belief and trust that you can still have a positive future.