How to Navigate Parenthood After Losing a Child

Losing a child is every parent’s nightmare. I remember losing my son like it was yesterday. The air in the room was so still. I couldn’t believe I had just lost my 6-month-old baby, Tristan. His sister was still in school at the time he passed, probably having so much fun, unaware her brother had just taken his last breath.

The death of a child is such a surreal experience—one I wouldn’t wish for any parent. Sometimes it takes (what seems like) forever to even accept you are a parent who has lost a child. The emotions are new. The pain, both mentally and physically, is unforgettable.

After Tristan passed away, I had no idea how I would go on. I wondered: How would I continue to live happily or even just survive without him? How would I raise another child and be present as a mom? I had no idea what I was doing.

 

The death of a child is such a surreal experience—one I wouldn’t wish for any parent. Sometimes it takes (what seems like) forever to even accept you are a parent who has lost a child. The emotions are new. The pain, both mentally and physically, is unforgettable.

 

When you lose a child, no one is there to hand you a guidebook on how to keep parenting the kids that are still on Earth with you. Much of parenting through grief is figuring it out as you go because you never know what to expect.

There are no instructions on how to do it the right way because there is no right way, but here are a few things I learned as I navigated grief and parenthood after losing my child. I hope these tips will help other parents enduring this unimaginable heartbreak.

 

Allow Yourself to Feel the Emotions

I didn’t know how to grieve or even allow myself to feel the emotions I was having. My daughter was struggling after losing her brother, and I didn’t know how to help her cope with her grief.

The only thing that I was sure of was that we would go through this season of life together as a family and come out of it stronger than ever. I knew it wouldn’t be quick or easy. At the time, I wasn’t even sure if I would make it through, but I knew that I had to try my hardest for my daughter. She was the one I was living for now. She was the one getting me through, even if she didn’t know it.

 

 

Have Empathy for Your Children

You have to have empathy for your kids through every stage of grief. Each one of your children will grieve in their own way. As a mom, it was up to me to figure out what that looked like for my child, which was hard.

I was grieving, but my daughter was too. Things she would’ve been scolded for in the past were now actions she was displaying because she didn’t know how to express her true emotions.

 

Learn How to Adapt

As your children get older, the way they grieve will change. Learn how to adapt and understand how they’re grieving. It will allow you to comfort them through the changing stages they’re going through.

 

Seek Professional Help

The best thing I could recommend to any parent trying to figure out how to get through parenting and grieving simultaneously is to seek professional help. Shortly after we lost Tristan, my entire family went to grief counseling. It was the best decision we made.

Not only did the grief counselors help us explore our feelings individually, but they gave us insight into how our daughter expressed her grief. It helped us to heal, and healing was what we needed.

 

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