The Touched By Nathan Foundation does not endorse these pages as a substitute for professional help.
These pages are strictly Nathans mothers observations from her own experiences and through her
own research. These pages are not, in fact, a substitute for your own research, but intended to be helpful
suggestions from one grieving parent to others, and to families who want to help.
Grief has four stages or phases, and it can take a year, two years or longer to complete these stages. Bouncing between the phases with no given formula or pattern may be expected as can symptoms of two or more phases occurring at the same time.
There may be occasions when grief resurfaces. This may happen on anniversaries of due dates, the date of death, the babys birthday, and major holidays.
- The first stage of grief is shock. There may be feelings of numbness to the world around you. You might feel disconnected, as though this tragic event cannot be happening to you. Disbelief or an unwillingness to face the situation may be a result of this stage.
- Stage two is called searching and yearning. This is the phase where the parents yearn for the baby and search for that ultimate reason why. Why did this have to happen to us? Are we being punished for something we did? Anger and guilt can be dominant emotions during this time. This may also be a time when the bereaved parents feel an overwhelming need to direct all that love to someone else. Another baby may be wished for at this point and may even become an obsession with one or both of the parents.
- In the third stage, one might feel disoriented, confused and disinterested. The grieving parent may be unwilling to take care of him or her self. There may be feelings of guilt, depression and a total lack of energy. Concentration may be difficult and an over all feeling that you are going crazy might result in this stage.
- Stage four is reorganization. Up to this point, there may have been normal days here and there for the parents where they seemed like their old selves again. These days will become more and more frequent. The parents will become less guilt ridden for smiling and laughing again.
I hate to put a time frame on any of these stages of grief, because everyone is different. I do know that many of my friends and relatives often thought I should be getting back to my life much sooner than what I was feeling at that time. I would get comments like its time to move on now or your baby doesnt need you anymore. Its not that I have cold-hearted loved ones, but they wanted so desperately for me to be over my pain, that they didnt really think about what they were saying.
You will have to go through this process at your own pace. I would suggest going to a support group. It was at a support group meeting that I realized how normal I was and that the things I was feeling did not mean I was going insane. The leaders of the support group are trained in the area of bereavement and told me many times that what I was feeling was okay. I also read a lot of literature on the bereavement process. Although you may feel very alone in your pain, you are not alone. Many people have gone through this and are surviving.
Ive talked to other parents whove lost children, and they all say the same: It doesnt get any worse than this. But, the important thing to notice is, that were all making it through it. Personally, I feel it is a struggle we will have to deal with for the rest of our lives. I know that I will never forget my little Boo, and I will always love him and miss him. And because of him, I am a different person. I am a better person for knowing him, however brief our encounter.