A Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Group is a safe environment in which parents can experience understanding, support, compassion and hope.
Facilitated by a social worker and hospice volunteer who experienced a perinatal loss, the Chilliwack Hospice Society Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Group is for parents of an infant who has died due to miscarriage, stillbirth, or within the first year of life.
A support group is a place where people can give and receive emotional and practical support. It is:
- A place to connect with others who are grieving in an informal setting;
- A time to share yourself feelings of loss with others;
- A opportunity to increase your awareness and understanding of the grief process;
- A place to share resources for grief support;
- A time to explore your own strengths and coping abilities.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss
When there is pregnancy loss or the death of an infant, parents begin a process of grieving. This can include intense feelings of shock, anger, disappointment, guilt, sadness and despair, as well as physical symptoms.
This loss can also bring many questions, such as:
- Why did this happen?
- What about subsequent pregnancies?
- How do I create remembrance?
- How do I deal with the reactions of friends?
- How do I help my other children grieve?
- What are the differences between men and women’s grief?
- How do I talk about this loss?
Working through your grief involves three tasks…
Accepting the Reality of Loss
Initially you may feel a sense of numbness, disbelief and shock that the death has occurred. Then an ongoing learning process will begin for you to accept that your child is no longer physically present or part of your daily activities.
Experiencing the Pain of the Loss
While it is normal to try to avoid emotional pain, it is essential to allow yourself to experience it to successfully work through the grief process. Sadness, anger, guilt or despair may come upon you at unpredictable times. Special occasions, music and birthdays may cause a flood of feelings. These feelings should not be suppressed but recognized and expressed as they are part of the painful process of saying goodbye.
Reinvesting in Life
As you work through the pain of your grief, you will begin to have more energy and the desire to reconnect with the world. With time, you will be able to refocus your attention and energy on living today and planning for tomorrow. You will want to get involved again with friends and activities and will experience pleasure doing so. This is not disloyal to the child you loved. The past is not forgotten… your love for your child remains forever within you.