Loss of a Child

The loss of a child is often referred to as the ultimate tragedy. It goes against the “natural order” for parents to outlive their child. Bereaved parents (or caregivers and grandparents) can mourn the death and loss of a child of any age, including miscarriage or stillbirths, and although they experience the common stages of grief, they tend to have a longer grieving process.

If you have lost your child, it’s probably fair to say that you have been devastated. This can be made more complicated if you have other children in your care and other relationships to tend to, such as your marriage. You may feel as though you are not able to fulfill your parental duties and that your relationship with your significant other is not a priority.  Life outside of your loss goes on but for you, life stopped when you lost your child and you may be feeling that you will never be able to move on from this loss.

Symptoms & signs of extreme grief from losing a child

Emotional symptoms:

  • Inconsolable sadness
  • Inability to accept that your child is gone
  • Thinking you still see them
  • Depression
  • Inability to function
  • Obsession with the child you lost, and what their future could have held
  • Obsession with death in general
  • Feelings of rage or anger
  • Feeling guilty that you are alive and your child’s life was cut so short
  • Numbness
  • Irritability
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Not wanting to be around people or in places that remind you of your child
  • Only wanting to be around people or in places that remind you of your child
  • Extreme anxiety about your remaining child/ren (if applicable)

Physical symptoms:

  • Excessive crying
  • Lack of appetite (or overeating)
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Sleeplessness or sleeping too much
  • Feeling physical pain
  • Headaches
  • Lowered immunity
  • Increased use of alcohol, recreational or prescription drugs
  • Engaging in risky or self-destructive behaviours

You may also want to learn more about depression or anxiety.

When is it time to get help?

It is not fair to expect you to “get over” the loss of your child, even if other people tell you the opposite. It’s normal to experience grief when you’ve experienced a severe loss. The symptoms of grief are problematic if you’ve been experiencing them for a prolonged time and/or they are severe enough to affect your daily life – eating, sleeping, working, relationships, etc. for an extended time. It’s easy to slip from sadness over the loss to depression, anxiety, and it can even be a trigger for substance problems. It’s also hard to be objective when it comes to your own grief or depression, so if your loved ones are expressing concern about you, you should consider seeking help.

Extreme grief treatment methods

Some common treatment methods for dealing with the extreme grief of losing a child include:

  • Grief Work Therapy allows an individual to deal with the feelings that come with grief. It is important for that person to ultimately accept the loss and move on without the deceased in body, but still possibly in another form.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy encourages clients to accept the difficulties and misfortunes of life. Clients learn coping techniques to not dwell on negative emotions by staying in the present.
  • Client Centered Therapy. Carl Rogers generally had a particular focus of therapy, which tended to view that the therapeutic process and progress is ultimately based on the accomplishments of the client and only psychologically aided by the therapist.
  • Emotionally Focused Therapy is based on observations and experience. It looks at emotions and emotional intelligence, which helps support stronger and more secure relationships by helping better understand how our actions impact others, and how our emotions drive our interaction.
  • Faith Based Therapy is using science-based therapeutic techniques that are administered by a therapist with similar spiritual beliefs or an understanding of those beliefs. This is not based on any one religion or spiritual belief.

Your therapist will talk with you about the best treatment method for your individual circumstances and unique needs.

What will I get out of treatment with Insight Psychological?

Here at Insight Psychological, we have trained specialists in grief and loss not only for the parents but also for siblings, friends, and other family members. Other parents have found a way to honour their child’s memory and acknowledge their grief while participating more meaningfully in their own lives. This can happen for you too.

We have therapists who will work with you to cope with your grief and make steps towards recovery.

 

Brooke Hendricks

Edmonton South, Online Counselling

Adults

Deb Johansson

Online Counselling, Edmonton West

Adults, Children (3-5), Children & Youth (6-12), Adolescents (13-17), Seniors, Families, Couples

Erin Wilkinson

Edmonton South, Online Counselling

Adults, Seniors, Couples, Assessments

Loriann Quinlan

Edmonton South, Edmonton West, Online Counselling

Adults, Seniors

Ricardo Sarango

Edmonton South, Online Counselling

Adults, Adolescents (13-17)

Smita Gupta

Edmonton South, Edmonton West, Edmonton North, Online Counselling

Adults, Children (3-5), Adolescents (13-17), Seniors, Families, Assessments

Damien Daly

Edmonton South, Online Counselling

Adults, Children (3-5), Children & Youth (6-12), Adolescents (13-17), Assessments

Dotun Ogunfowora

Calgary, Online Counselling

Adults, Children (3-5), Children & Youth (6-12), Adolescents (13-17), Families, Couples, LGBTQ community, Sexuality, Assessments

Navpreet Johal

Calgary

Adults, Adolescents (13-17), LGBTQ community, Assessments

Dr. Robert Roughley

Calgary, Online Counselling

Adults, Seniors, Families, Couples, LGBTQ community, Sexuality, Assessments

Sabrina Brady

Edmonton Central, Edmonton North, Online Counselling

Adults, Adolescents (13-17), Seniors, Couples, LGBTQ community, Sexuality, Assessments

Bryan Halabi

Edmonton North, Edmonton South, Online Counselling

Adults, Children & Youth (6-12), Adolescents (13-17), Seniors, Couples

Terri Philips

Edmonton South, Online Counselling

Adults, Children (3-5), Children & Youth (6-12), Adolescents (13-17), LGBTQ community, Assessments

Brianna Kamphorst

Edmonton South, Online Counselling

Adults, Children (3-5), Children & Youth (6-12), Adolescents (13-17), Seniors, Families, Couples

Karen Gaudin

Corporate, Edmonton South, Online Counselling

Adults, Adolescents (13-17), Seniors, Families, Couples, LGBTQ community, Sexuality, Assessments

Nikesha Deenoo

Edmonton South, Online Counselling

Adults, Children (3-5), Children & Youth (6-12), Adolescents (13-17), Seniors, Families, Couples, Sexuality

Doris Kieser

Edmonton South, Online Counselling

Adults, Adolescents (13-17), Couples, LGBTQ community, Sexuality

Kelly Jenny

Edmonton South, Online Counselling

Adults, Couples, LGBTQ community, Sexuality

Raelene Tulick

Online Counselling, Calgary

Adults, Adolescents (13-17), Seniors, Families, Couples, LGBTQ community, Sexuality, Assessments

Karla Buchholz

Edmonton South, Online Counselling

Adults, Adolescents (13-17), Seniors, Families, Couples, LGBTQ community, Sexuality

Coralee Thomas

Edmonton South, Online Counselling

Adults, Children (3-5), Children & Youth (6-12), Adolescents (13-17), Seniors, Families, Couples, LGBTQ community, Sexuality, Assessments

Natalie McMurray

Calgary, Online Counselling

Adults, Couples

Tracy Pham

Edmonton South, Online Counselling

Adults, Children (3-5), Children & Youth (6-12), Adolescents (13-17), Families, Couples, Assessments

Bob Stenhouse

Corporate

Roy Langer

Corporate

Shaheel Hooda

Corporate

At this time, Insight Psychological does not have therapists who specialize in this specific area, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help you! Please contact us to talk with our Intake Personnel to find a therapist that is a good fit for you and your unique circumstances.