Infant Loss and Grief

Infant Loss and Grief

Perinatal and Postnatal Loss

If You’ve lost your baby/pregnancy, who could you talk to?

There is not a more painful loss than the loss of a child.

No matter how old your child is, losing that child can leave lifelong grief that others cannot understand.

What is Perinatal Grief/Loss?

Perinatal grief is an emotion that people experience after the loss of an unborn baby/fetus.

The loss of the baby can happen spontaneously (miscarriage) or intentionally (abortion). Either way, it brings a lot of different types of emotions, such as depression, anxiety, feelings of guilt, and shame.

If you have lost your baby, you most certainly are going through grief. Kubler-Ross identified five stages of the normal reaction to loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Mind you that people may experience all or some of the stages in this or any other order.

Although all losses need time for grief – a time for you to reassess where you are and what you will do from now on, a loss of a baby/fetus can lead to some feelings of grief that last for a long time.

“Normal” grief will go away after one year or so. If you have lost your baby/fetus and are still suffering from it, you might be suffering from perinatal grief and want to talk to a therapist to help you deal with it.

What is Neonatal (Stillbirth) Grief/Loss?

Neonatal grief is an emotion that people experience after a loss of a full-term baby (at birth or up to 28 days after delivery).

What is Infant Grief/Loss?

Infant grief is an emotion that people experience after the loss of an infant (older than 29 days).

Signs and symptoms of Perinatal/Neonatal/Infant grief

Normal grief might bring you distress, sorrow, heartache, pain, suffering, or will make you be preoccupied, easily tearful, feel helpless, or vulnerable. You may find yourself staring into space, being slow to respond or think, or even have lowered self-esteem. Although those are typical symptoms of grief, some people find support from psychologists when going through loss.

However, perinatal/neonatal / infant grief is much more intense for some people because they may feel guilt or shame or partially deny the death. These people may not show any distress, or too much grief, may fall into chronic depression, bitterness, avoid any cues/triggers to the loss or isolate themselves. These people may have their immune systems decreased or may increase alcohol, pills, or drugs. In any of these cases, it is necessary to have a psychologist to help you go through your grief and help you process the emotional pain, which may be connected to hurts of the past and uncertainties of the future.

Causes of perinatal/neonatal/infant grief

Grief is an emotion felt after the loss of someone important to you. This grief might resolve itself within a year or persist for a long time.

We work with people going through baby loss (or loss of hope) due to fertility issues, miscarriage, abortion, stillbirth/perinatal death, or early/neonatal/infant death.

How we treat perinatal/neonatal/infant grief

We often use an integrative approach to treat people with grief/loss issues. We use techniques from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and psychotherapy, Mindfulness, ACT, EFT, and other types of therapy we’ve trained on and may be helpful in the treatment. We provide a non-judgmental environment where patients can find support and candidness to open their most inner feelings and thoughts.

Typical outcomes of perinatal/neonatal/infant grief treatment

After completing treatment, patients can expect to move to a healthier level of functioning. People who have completed treatment report higher levels of well-being. Although, losing a fetus/baby/infant/child may leave a long-lasting imprint in your soul.

 

FAQ About Perinatal/Neonatal/Infant Grief

How long is the treatment for perinatal / neonatal / infant grief?

Since there are many different types and levels of grief among people, it is expected that the duration of treatment depends on the level of suffering and ability to recover from grief and loss. One can expect seeing benefits of therapy in the first couple of months of treatment.

How often should we attend sessions?

At the beginning of treatment, people will attend sessions weekly, or even more than once a week, until all the negative symptoms have been resolved. Later, patients may attend sessions every other week.

My partner/family member who has also been affected by the loss does not want to come treatment. Can I come by myself?

Yes. Grief and loss are better treated on an individual basis. At times, it will be necessary to have family sessions to help with mutual understand and commitment to one another in moving towards healing.

Do you treat children or teens suffering with perinatal / neonatal / infant grief and loss? What are their symptoms?

Yes. Children and teenagers react differently than adults when they are feeling grief. You might see higher levels of aggression, being isolated, being angry, being anxious, or avoiding activities in children and teens. My practice and treatment for grief and loss is all-inclusive.

COACHING PROGRAM FOR PERINATAL LOSS

For women who want to move forward and live a complete and fulfilled life.

A six-week online program to help you understand, process, and heal from your experience.

Contact (813) 613-8587 or email drmarzullodove@gmail.com for more information.

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Consult with a psychologist to get help with your perinatal/neonatal/infant grief/loss issues right away. Dr. Rosana Marzullo-Dove and her group use many techniques to treat individuals and couples who are suffering from perinatal/neonatal / infant grief and loss.

Call (813) 613-8587 now for a FREE 15-minute phone consultation.

Dr. Rosana Marzullo-Dove
Licensed Clinical Psychologist