After your child dies you may find that you look back and relive over and over again what has happened, focusing on specific details. You may have a constant need to talk about your child and your feelings. You may also feel angry and have unanswered questions, including why your child had to die.
You may feel the need to return to the hospital or the hospice where your child died. You may have questions for the doctors or the team who cared for your child. Many parents find that support groups, counselling or complementary therapies help them to cope.
There could be practical challenges for you to face. You may need to consider how and when to return to work, or how to handle changes to your previous routine. Returning to work and to ordinary routines and daily activities may be helpful. It's important that you do whatever you need to do and at your pace to help you adjust to the changes in your life.
As time goes by
Over time, moments of overwhelming grief may feel less intense or be less frequent. Some of the things that you may have found almost impossible to do since your child’s death may become easier.
For example, things like:
- Visiting places that you visited with your child
- Seeing other healthy children of a similar age to your child
- Making sense of the world and feeling yourself again
- Accepting that your child is with you but in a different way
- Accepting that the future has changed
- Coping with other people’s reactions
- Remembering your child with a smile.
Although your experience is unique, many parents have been through similar experiences. It is important to be reassured that you are not alone and others may be able to offer you comfort and support as you come to terms with the death of your child.
In the early days you imagine you’re never going to feel happy again. Everything was so depressing and life just didn’t feel like worth living. However, the sun did come out again and it wasn’t just through having another child. My life turned around in lots of different ways. Katie
Getting professional help
There may be times when you feel that you need professional help, the support of someone who has specialist skills and experience.
You can talk to anyone from the specialist team who cared for you and your child or a trusted professional such as your GP. There is also a list of bereavement support organisations that you may find helpful.
Reviewed July 2014, next planned review 2017