Mother's Day & Miscarriages: How to Support Mothers Who Have Lost Pregnancies on Mother's Day

Mother's Day & Miscarriages: How to Support Mothers Who Have Lost Pregnancies on Mother's Day

Mother’s Day can be difficult for many, but it can be excruciating for those who are have experienced a miscarriage. Many people who are trying to grow their family but have been through pregnancy loss experience this holiday as a harsh reminder of that loss. Unfortunately, Mother’s Day can feel particularly isolating, especially if the person doesn’t yet have other children. 
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Are Wind Chimes a Good Sympathy Gift Choice?

Are Wind Chimes a Good Sympathy Gift Choice?

Wind chimes for sympathy are popular gifts for those who have lost loved ones; they're one of our most frequently searched-for items.

These beautiful, soothing gifts are perfect for hanging outdoors. And when it comes to memorial wind chimes, the lovely, tinkling sounds serve as a reminder of loved ones who have gone before us. 

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Anticipatory Grief: What Is It & How to Cope

Anticipatory Grief: What Is It & How to Cope

Have you ever thought about how horrible it would be to lose an aging parent or a long-time pet and felt your breath catch in your throat? Or maybe you look at your young, healthy spouse and become deeply sad thinking about losing them one day.

Sometimes it can feel like we're grieving for loved ones before we've actually lost them, whether it's a loss that we know is coming (as in the case of terminal illness and you're working through the five stages of grief) or it's just one that we fear. 

This is due to something called "anticipatory grief," and it can be ambiguous and confusing. 

In this post, we're going to talk about what you need to know about anticipatory grief, including what it is, why your feelings are valid, and how you can manage it. 

What is Anticipatory Grief? 

We're all familiar with the general concept of grief, which is the mourning people go through after experiencing a loss.

couple experiencing anticipatory grief

Anticipatory grief, however, is different. It's grief you feel before you actually experience the loss. You might feel it once you find out that a loved one has a terminal or likely-to-be terminal condition, or when you consider the loss of someone you care about deeply. Sometimes it will be trauma (even if it's just seeing a car crash on the news and thinking about it being a child, friend, or partner) can trigger the grief, though it may be more short-lived in this case. 

Anticipatory grief can be just as powerful as grief you feel after you lose someone, especially when that loss is imminent. Some people struggle to feel guilty, because they loved lost the person yet, but know that it is normal as you've already started to wrestle with the loss. 

How to Recognize Anticipatory Grief 

Anticipatory grief can be confusing. Sometimes, people don't even realize that what they're doing is grieving because the loss hasn't occurred yet.

It can be particularly confusing if there was a long-standing condition (including older age) that made a loss more likely, and they feel that they were mentally prepared for a potential loss. Nothing can ever truly mentally prepare us for the realization of a loss, even if we thought we understood it was coming. 

how to recognize anticipatory grief

In particular, parents of children who are dying experience intense anticipatory grief. According to a study published in American Family Physician, these families often struggle with intense anger in anticipation of the loss. It’s devastating to consider all the life events and milestones their children will never get to experience, and there’s a complicated mourning process associated with such an unexpected and early end of life. 

There are a few common symptoms that can help you recognize anticipatory grief either in yourself or someone you care about: 

  • Heightened anger at news of a terminal illness or declining medical condition; in some cases, the anger phase of grief is more extended in anticipatory grief than in standard grief
  • A profound sense of loneliness, even if you're with others 
  • Guilt that you aren't able to stop feeling overwhelming feelings of grief, that you can't prevent the loss, and potentially about surviving when they may not 
  • Hyper-focused concern about the loved one in question, including their emotional state, physical state, and even about what may happen to them after they pass
  • A struggle to sleep well, whether it's falling asleep or having a restful night's sleep
  • Increased anxiety 

How to Cope with Anticipatory Grief 

How you cope with anticipatory grief will depend a great deal on the cause and scenario.

Have you been told that a loved one only has a few weeks left to live with no chance of recovery? If so, that will require different management that anticipatory grief you feel after experiencing a trauma that could have been deadly but wasn't.

It's common to experience anger, grief, deep sadness, depression, and anxiety when you have anticipatory grief.

We strongly recommend working with a counselor to help you work through this, no matter what the specific situation is that triggered it. They can give you tools to work through the grief and how to work on adjusting to a loss in your life. 

 

how to deal with anticipatory grief If you are working through anticipatory grief due to an imminent loss for a medical condition, support groups can help. There are support groups, for example, for caregivers and loved ones of cancer or other serious conditions. This can be a wonderful place to make connections, and receive comfort and community. 

 

Remember that even if you are the primary or only caregiver of someone who is in the end stages of life that it's crucial to take care of yourself, too. You'll be better prepared to handle this enormous challenge, both before and after their passing.

You need emotional support for you, too, and anyone else in the family who needs it. Right now, there's an increase in Telehealth therapy sessions and support groups so you can get help and community without leaving the house if necessary. 

Final Thoughts 

Any type of grief is immensely challenging and can be deeply painful. Anticipatory grief comes with the added bonus of being confusing and complicated, especially if there's a sense of relief that you'll no longer have to be a caregiver or your loved one will no longer be in pain.

Remember that anticipatory grief is common, and it's a part of the journey of grief when a loss is expected. It can feel overwhelming and impossible, so make sure you get the support you need. It's what you need, and what your loved one would want.

Looking for more resources about managing grief? Check out our blog for more information. 

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When Should I Send a Sympathy Gift?

When Should I Send a Sympathy Gift?

Deciding when to send a sympathy gift after a friend or family member has lost a loved one can be an uncertain situation to navigate. You want to offer comfort to your loved one and let them know you’re there for them, but the question of timing is not always easy to answer.
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Should I Send a Sympathy Gift?

Should I Send a Sympathy Gift?

When someone we love loses someone they love, it's natural to want to do something to offer support. It can be difficult to determine what's the most helpful and appropriate way to offer sympathy to the bereaved.

As a result, many find themselves asking "Should I send a sympathy gift?" 

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Memorial Gifts for Loss of Mothers as Mother’s Day Approaches

Memorial Gifts for Loss of Mothers as Mother’s Day Approaches

Loss of a parent alters our lives forever, and when it’s time to observe a holiday honoring parents, such as Mother’s Day, that loss is felt more keenly. Giving remembrance gifts for loss of mothers is one way to honor the mothers in our lives who have passed away.
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What Are the Stages of Grief & How to Support Some Moving Through Them

What Are the Stages of Grief & How to Support Some Moving Through Them

It's common to hear that "grief is a journey." When you lose someone you love dearly, it's not something that takes a day or a week to get over, and healing isn't always linear. 

Instead, it's common to move through different phases of grief where you alternately experience emotions like anger, denial, and depression. 

While every journey to heal from loss is unique, there's some universal element to mourning at the same time. This is reflected through the well-known five stages of grief. 

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Prayers for Grief: How to Pray for a Loved One Who is Grieving

Prayers for Grief: How to Pray for a Loved One Who is Grieving

When someone you love is grieving, it can feel difficult to know what to say or do for them. Grief must run its course, but you can be a much-needed source of support during this time. There are many ways to show love and support through the grieving process, and prayer is one of the most prominent. 
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4 Ways to Comfort Parents Who Have Lost a Child

4 Ways to Comfort Parents Who Have Lost a Child

Losing a child is most parents' biggest fear. There's nothing that can prepare you for it, and it's undeniably one of the hardest things that a parent could face.

And if you're reading this, it likely means that you or someone close to you has lost a child in their lives. We're so sorry. 

While nothing can magically solve or end the grieving process, there are things that you can do to help comfort parents who have lost a child.

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How to Plan a Funeral

How to Plan a Funeral

When you've recently lost someone that you love, planning a funeral may be the very last thing that you want to do.

There's a lot involved, and it can be a daunting responsibility. It becomes more manageable when you break the planning down into core steps. 

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How to Help a Child with Grief

How to Help a Child with Grief

Children see the world differently than we do, so it's no surprise that they often grieve differently than adults. This is particularly true when it's a child's first experience with loss or if they're young.
Young children, after all, may not truly understand what death means or how it will impact them. Children under the age of five may even have trouble understanding that someone who has passed won't be coming back. 
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How to Accommodate a Grieving Friend During Major Social Events

How to Accommodate a Grieving Friend During Major Social Events

Social isolation isn't uncommon when grieving, whether it's caused by well-meaning friends who want to give space or it's self-inflicted by the bereaved. 

During periods of grief and especially following significant loss of a spouse, some may worry about attending big events or parties. 

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