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How to Deal With Grieving the Loss of a Child — Talkspace

Possible Reactions to the Loss of a Child

Grieving the loss of a child is unimaginable. It can be overwhelming and confusing, leaving you feeling isolated and alone. Understanding the possible reactions you might have to this type of grief can help and provide some form of comfort.

“There are so many feelings that a parent will have after losing a child. Feelings can range from intense shock, confusion, disbelief, anger, depression, hopelessness, guilt, isolation, disorganized thoughts, and feelings of acceptance.”

Talkspace therapist Reshawna Chapple, PhD, LCSW


A very common reaction to a child’s death, you may be in denial about what’s happened and unable to process or accept your loss. While this is normal, it’s important not to stay in this state for too long, or it can lead to further emotional stress.


Experiencing types of anger is also a normal emotion when grieving the loss of a son or daughter. You can feel angry at your situation, at God or fate, or even at those around you who are still alive and well. Don’t be afraid to express your feelings. Talking about your anger with friends or family might help release some of the intensity of your emotion.


Guilt often accompanies grief over losing a child. You might feel guilty for not being able to protect or save your child. Maybe you feel guilty for having survived when they didn’t. These natural emotions can surface after a traumatic event like the loss of a child.  


Depression is expected after the death of someone close — especially when it’s a child. However, depression can become debilitating if left unchecked. It’s a good idea to seek help from a mental health professional who specializes in coping with grief-related issues like depression after a loss.


Sadness and crying are both natural reactions to grief. Crying helps release pent-up emotions, making space for healing. When it comes to how to deal with sadness, allow yourself moments where tears flow freely without judgment.


Finally, anxiety can arise as upcoming events like birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays approach. Significant dates can spark painful memories, causing pain to resurface as you try to deal with and accept the loss of a daughter or son. When it comes to how to deal with anxiety, try engaging in activities that bring joy into your life, like spending time outdoors and visiting places associated with happy memories.

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