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Question of the Month
How can I accept this loss? It's just not acceptable! I don't think I can ever accept it.

Ann DouglasFrom Ann Douglas . . .

When a baby dies, you are asked to accept the unthinkable -- that all your hopes and dreams for your child will forever remain just that -- hopes and dreams. Your baby will not be part of your future because your baby has died. It's a cruel reality that can be very difficult to accept, which is why many of us initially react with anger -- even denial -- when faced with the death of a child.

The first step in beginning to recover from your grief is to accept the reality of your baby's death, as painful as that may be. You may find it helpful to join a support group made up of other bereaved parents who, like you, rage at the universe about the injustice of their babies' deaths, but who are brave enough to tackle their feelings of grief head on. I can tell you from personal experience that grief counseling can be a life changing experience. I no longer feel like one of "the walking wounded." I wish only the same for you.

Hugs,
Ann Douglas

Marilyn HeavilinMarilyn Heavilin . . .

Accept is a heavy word. Accept seems to imply approval. None of us could ever '"approve" of our child's or children's deaths. Rather than "accept," I prefer to use the word "adjust." There will come a time in your life when you will realize you have "adjusted to," or "compensated for" your child's death. I no longer wake up in the morning with a headline greeting my mind that says "Three of your children are dead." My mind has "adjusted to" this fact. If "acceptance" means feeling it is OK that three of my children have died, that will never happen. It will never be OK, but I have "adjusted to" the fact that three of my children are dead, and I have learned to work with that fact.

Much love,
Marilyn Heavilin

Laura Randolph . . .

Shock, disbelief and denial take time to fade--days, weeks maybe even months. Acceptance, more than merely the absence of disbelief or denial, is coming to terms with the loss and incorporating it into your life. Reaching a place of acceptance can take several months, a year, or even longer. Let me stress that you cannot force yourself to accept the loss. What you can do is to set the stage for healing and be open for acceptance when it starts to appear.

Acceptance is not burying grief or ignoring it. Buried grief can show up years later pleading to be resolved. Rather, acceptance comes after allowing yourself to feel all of the emotions and pain until finally you arrive at a more peaceful state. Rest assured that accepting loss is not the same as agreeing with it or condoning it. On the contrary, it is quite possible to come to a place of acceptance and still feel the loss should never have happened.

As I mentioned earlier I believe you can set the stage for healing and ultimately acceptance. Be patient with yourself and your emotions. Each emotion has a vital role in your healing so allow yourself to feel and work through each of them. Do your best to eat well, drink plenty of water and try to get enough rest. Even the later stages of grief can be exhausting at times. Seek support when needed and likewise solitude. As time passes, allow yourself to be open to life.

Although it is hard to believe right now, know that someday you will realize you are no longer struggling with acceptance because it has already quietly and gently enveloped you.

Laura Randolph

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