The stages of grief are well known.
It's helpful to know the stages if you've lost a loved one through death. Understanding the stages assists in healing and is beneficial in understanding that the feelings you may be experiencing are normal. Some people may not go through all the stages or they may get fixated in one area and need help moving through to a place of acceptance and normalcy. Each stage can take an undetermined amount of time to go through. The grieving process is as individual and unique as the people who experience it. But the outline can help to give you a framework for your grief.
For more information visit Grief.com at the-five-stages-of-grief
When we lost our baby, I was given a book called Gone Too Soon by Sherri Wittwer and the stages of grief were from SHARE, "When a Baby Dies" (pamphlet)
The stages were different.
- Shock and Numbness - Shock may be similar to the stage of Denial, but for me it was truly a time period where I just wanted to sit in the quiet of my home and stare at the walls. I didn't want distractions or feel like doing anything.
- Searching and Yearning - For me, this was an actual physical feeling. My arms needed to be full of a baby and he wasn't there. I felt the weight of that emptiness in a very physical way.
- Disorientation and Disorganization - I'm not sure I went through a disorganization phase, but I also had a 6 week leave from work and no other children to tend to. There wasn't much that I needed to organize. I could see how many people with busy lives might feel overwhelmed with their responsibilities, especially if they have to reengage in the world right away.
- Reorganization - There was a time where I felt like I was ready to get back to a normal routine. I could return to work, go out with friends, teach classes in Sunday School, and all the other things I'd put on hold. I'd have occasional moments of grief but as time passed it became manageable. This stage is similar to the Acceptance stage listed above. It was still pretty alarming when I had to go to my follow up appointment with my obstetrician and I cried for the solid 30 minutes of that appointment without stopping. I kept apologizing to the nurses and doctor but I wasn't ever able to get it under control. But these moments were rare.
For more information visit the HOAG website at HOAG
Grieving is a crucial piece of our humanity. Allow yourself the time and privacy to grieve your loved one in a manner that brings you comfort and peace. Don't be afraid to communicate your needs with those who support you.