Complicated Grief: Prolonged Loss After Losing a Child
Anyone who has lost a loved one has experienced grief. As mentioned in previous articles, everyone experiences and copes with different types of grief in their own ways. For most people, bereavement brings with it feelings of sorrow, pain, and even, guilt and anger, but those feelings gradually begin to ease over time. Although the grief may never go away completely, most people are able to cope and find happiness as time passes. For people experiencing complicated grief, however, these feelings are so severe that they have trouble recovering or moving on with their own lives no matter how much time passes.
A recent study suggests that about 20% of people grieving lost loved ones experience complicated grief. Complicated grief is unfortunately very common for parents experiencing prolonged loss after losing a child. Not only is losing a child considered the most difficult trauma anyone can experience, the complicated grief of losing a child often never goes away and can even feel worse as time goes on.
Prolonged Grief Disorder
Prolonged Grief Disorder (PGD) is the official diagnosis of people suffering complicated grief. Although any parent who loses a child can suffer from PGD, it is most common among parents who have experienced prior loss, have a history of anxiety, act as caregivers of the child they lost, or experience a violent loss. In the below video, Dr. B explains what led to her experience with Prolonged Grief Disorder as a result of losing her children and how she was able to find hope:
Parents suffering from prolonged loss after losing a child are prone to experiencing complicated grief and Prolonged Grief Disorder. There are steps, however, that parents can take to help cope with this type of grief and experience happiness again:
- Find a Support Group: Like other forms of grief, parents experiencing complicated grief are not alone. Finding a support group with other parents experiencing prolonged loss after losing a child is a great place to find comfort and to start the healing process.
- Choose to Engage in Self Care: Complicated grief can result in parents wanting to continue experiencing the grief of a lost child because it is the only way they know how to continue feeling close to that child. It is important to understand that choosing to engage in self-care is not going to dishonor the child’s memory or sever the connection parents feel through their grief. Practicing self-care, resuming one’s life, and choosing to find healthy ways to cope with grief is a great way to honor positive memories of the child rather than focusing on negative emotions of their loss.
- Seek Professional Help: There is often a stigma for people experiencing grief that seeking professional help is somehow dishonoring the memory of a loved one. However, complicated grief and Prolonged Grief Disorder are similar to PTSD and depression in that they are more than just experiencing sadness after the loss of a child. They are mental health issues that have specific psychiatric and medicinal treatments available.
Mentally STRONG Can Help Parents Suffering from Complicated Grief
A parent should never have to experience the pain of losing a child. Unfortunately, Dr. B. knows all too well the complicated grief that comes with the prolonged loss of losing two children. She developed The Mentally STRONG Method to help treat parents suffering from Prolonged Grief Disorder. Mentally STRONG is a place where parents can seek professional help, find support, and learn to engage in self-care.
There is hope for parents suffering from complicated grief. Registering for The Mentally STRONG Method is the first step towards finding peace.