It is a common belief that no loss is as hard as losing a child. It is therefore interesting that we do such a poor job in supporting parents who have lost a pregnancy or an infant. Paradoxically, the losses that we as a society are most phobic of are also the ones we handle most poorly. Many people don’t know what to say, so they say nothing or offer “help” in a misguided way to fix or take away the pain of the loss. This is, of course, futile because the loss is by nature devastating. This also means that parents who suffer the loss of a pregnancy or an infant are often affronted by well-meaning but damaging advice and messages when they reach out for support resulting in isolation. Most people who have lost a child experience a lot of confusion about what they are feeling as well as what they are “allowed” to feel. Therefore, parents who have lost children often feel very ostracized from society which is the last thing anyone needs who is suffering from this unimaginable loss.
No two losses are the same, but many parents I have spoken with report they often feel alone in grieving their child. I also often hear from parents that they feel they are single-handedly holding on to the memory of their baby. Throughout my work as a therapist I have worked with parents who have lost babies. During this work we process the complex web of emotions that results. I also feel that part of my job as therapist is to create a space to help hold the memory of my client’s babies. I have a list in my mind of many names that I hold sacred to my heart and reflect on often. I allude to a “network of grieving parents” to clients I see in therapy sessions who have lost their babies. How much more powerful would it be for people if this network of parents was accessible versus just theoretical? This idea compelled meto start a therapeutic support group for parents who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss. This will be a closed group running several different times per year, each cycle for 8 weeks. Both partners are welcome, but either can come on their own as well. I am passionate about bring community to these parents and families, to help people connect in to the network of mothers who understand the depths of grief and despair, the confusion, and the loneliness. These parents have suffered invisibly and alone for far too long. Again, no two losses are the same but coming together in community and uniting as parents who have lost pregnancies and infants can be powerful and healing.
Please click on the link below for more information about this group and how you might participate if you or someone you know would benefit. Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Group.
About Kendra Doukas
MS, Licensed Marriage And Family Therapist, & Assistant Director
Kendra is passionate about her work helping individuals, couples, and families to heal and rebuild after major losses and traumatic events.