How to Cope with Grief
While grief may be common, that does not make it easier to handle. You may feel surprised by all of the emotions you feel when you experience a loss. These emotions can range from shock and sadness to guilt and anxiety.
Letting yourself go through the grieving process can help you cope with a loss that you have experienced and be the best path for you in the long term. It is important to remember that you can grieve in your own way and on your own timeline.
Below are the 5 stages of grief developed by Elizabeth Kübler-Ross. You can apply these stages to the grief you may be experiencing after suffering any type of loss, whether it is from a miscarriafe, failed fertility treatment, or loss of a loved one.
While the stages of grief appear sequential, this is just a guideline to help you understand what grief can look like when struggling with a loss. Most people will go through most of the stages when grieving, but there is not a defined order and you can cycle through any stage at any time. In addition, there is not a set amount of time that you might spend in each stage.
Why is this happening to me?
Is there something wrong with me?
I shouldn’t be this sad, maybe I am just exhausted from the day.
You may feel denial when you start to wonder these things. You may feel confused, like your body is shutting down. It may come as a shock to be feeling this way and you may find yourself becoming easily distracted.
Denial is like a defense mechanism that may help you deal with the shock or disbelief you feel at first. It’s a temporary way to deal with the overwhelming, difficult, and intense emotions while your mind adjusts to the new reality one step at a time. There’s not a specific or ideal time period for this stage; everyone is different. You may need some time to make sense of what is happening. As time passes, it’s important to adjust to your circumstances at your own pace without avoiding the painful emotions you may be experiencing.
What is wrong with me?
It’s my fault I had a miscarriage!
It’s my mom’s fault that my dad died!
You may find yourself responding this way with the second stage of grief: anger. Anger can vary from person to person, and you can develop it towards yourself, others, or the situation. Many people experience frustration and impatience when it comes to daily activities and might even feel embarrassed and out of control. You may also find yourself being short and pessimistic towards those you care about.
However, it’s important to know that you are not alone, and everyone feels this way from time to time – not just in the 5 stages of grief.
God, if you do this for me, I will turn my life around.
I should’ve told him to go to the doctor sooner.
I should not have been so focused on work.
I would do anything to have my partner back.
The third stage of grief, bargaining, might make you feel very helpless. You may begin to plead for a good night’s sleep or hope that your anxiety will go away. You could find yourself predicting the future and assuming the worst will happen and constantly being judgmental toward yourself and others. This can cause you to feel insecure, shameful, and guilty.
I don’t feel like getting out of bed.
I don’t have any energy to do anything.
I just want to do nothing all day.
Depression, the fourth stage, might make you feel the lowest of all. You may find yourself having trouble doing many things or having trouble with intrusive thoughts.
Just know that this is a stage of grief, and things can and will get better. It can feel like nothing matters and you are not as happy and energetic as you were before. It is important to understand that you should ask for help when feeling like this. Take care of yourself and monitor sleep and appetite changes during this time. Also, be sure to avoid drug and alcohol abuse. \
I know that I am sad, but I also know that I can and will get better.
I can try to have another baby.
There is nothing wrong with feeling this way.
This is the final stage, in which you can accept your feelings and begin to move past them.
However, it doesn’t mean that you have completely moved past the grief or the loss you experienced. But the good news is that you may feel less stuck than you did in the other stages. Using mindfulness and trying not to judge yourself is helpful in this stage.
By understanding the different stages of grief, it can help you figure out where you are at in the grieving process. This may help you cope and move through the stages more quickly. Sometimes just changing a thought can help you move towards Acceptance.