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Child Loss

The loss of a child is commonly viewed as an unimaginable tragedy. It does not make a difference whether your child is three or thirty-three when your son or daughter dies – all bereaved parents lose a part of themselves when they lose a child.

The relationship between parents and children is among the most intense in life. Much of parenting centers on providing and doing for children, even after they have grown up and left home. A child’s death robs you of the ability to carry out your parenting role as you have imagined it to be. You may feel an overwhelming sense of failure for no longer being able to care for and protect your child.

In addition to dealing with feelings of loss, you also may need to figure out a way to move forward, as well as care for your family. The loss of a child can be particularly painful, and there is no timeline for grief.

Self-Care while Grieving the
Loss of a Child

Take care of your health. Grief can be hard on your physical health. It can help to exercise regularly, eat nutritious food, and try to get enough sleep.
Take time to adjust. Go at a comfortable pace and be easy on yourself. There is no rush.

Talk as a family.  Grief will affect each person differently. It is important to keep the lines of communication open and spend quality time together. Talking to family members about how they are feeling may help everyone in your family process their grief. It also will help your family's bonds remain strong or grow stronger.

Rely on your support system. Let family and friends know when you want to talk about your child. When possible, accept their offers of help and company. Rely on friends and family who listen without judgment.

Maintain a routine. Routines provide a sense of comfort and security, especially for children. It can be helpful to maintain a daily schedule of school, work, and family dinners when you feel it is time. Your family experiences will change because your child is no longer there. Getting back into a routine does not mean that you have to pretend like things are the same.

See your doctor. Keep up with visits to your healthcare provider. Let your healthcare provider know if you are having trouble taking care of your everyday activities, like getting dressed or fixing meals.

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