The Truth About Grieving For Your Child

Updated for my Son’s 15th Birthday

It’s hard to tell the truth about grieving for your child, especially as the years pile up.

The people around you love you and they want you to feel better – after a while, particularly those who have never experienced anything similar, start expecting you to feel better. The vast majority of us have lost Grandparents and other older relatives, we know there is grief but that, after time, the pain lessens. We move on, that is the cycle of life.

However, when your child dies there is no moving on. Of course you do feel better in yourself as the years go by, but time is not the great healer it is promised to be.

Time becomes part of the grief itself as you count the birthdays and missed milestones.

My son, Louis, would be 15 years old tomorrow. I have spent all these years silently counting the years – I know the year he would have started primary school, secondary school, I have wondered what kind of birthday parties he would have enjoyed. I look to place him in our world, picturing him on our holidays, at our dinner table, in our house.

Losing a child is about so much more than that one terrible moment. You simply lose it all. Over and over again through the years.

The truth about grieving for your child is that your grief will run concurrent to everything else, forever.

The years pass and you become happy again, you love, you smile, you have a family and achievements but the grief is there, you are never done. It simply lives alongside you, marking all the moments you have lost.

The truth about grieving for your child is an uncomfortable one and not something that sits well in society, where we like to get through and overcome things. Grieving for a child means carrying the pain with you and finding a way to be happy despite the burden.

You grieve for your child, but you grieve for yourself too because you lost so much more than you can explain that day



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22 Comments on The Truth About Grieving For Your Child

    Mummy Tries
    September 17, 2015 at 10:45 am (2 years ago)

    Oh lovely lady, I cannot even comprehend the ongoing pain. Sending lots of hugs your way xx

    Claire's Mum
    September 17, 2015 at 10:31 pm (2 years ago)

    Never forgotten Claire xxxx

    September 24, 2015 at 11:53 pm (2 years ago)

    Very well put, its been 15 years now and is no less painful today than it was then. I found it hard to channel all the love I had inside me, the unconditional love that was reserved for my child, had nowhere to go, I didn’t want to be angry or sad I wanted to love and yet couldn’t because it was reserved for my son and now he was gone. So you compensate in other ways and become the face of what everyone else wants to see, to prevent them feeling uncomfortable, you become the strong one even when you don’t have the strength.

    anna whiston-donaldson
    October 6, 2015 at 2:58 am (2 years ago)

    So true, lovely lady. I am 4 years in. xo

    October 6, 2015 at 8:02 am (2 years ago)

    Beautifully put Claire. The pain became a little easier to bear though once I understood the concept of continuing bonds. Understanding that my son as well as the grief would walk alongside me and that I’d never forget him has helped me find my new normal. This is how it is and will always be.

    davie diver
    October 19, 2015 at 10:16 pm (2 years ago)

    I lost my two daughters Louise Diver and angel patton in the space of five months angel on the 5/10th /2014 born asleep at 16 weeks and my daughter louise at the age of 20 to an overdose on the 26th of march 2015 it doesn’t get any easier

    • Claire
      October 25, 2015 at 9:33 am (2 years ago)

      I’m am so sorry for the double tragedies you have suffered so recently.
      I really don’t think it does get any easier – I’ve reached the point where I expect this is as ‘good’ as grief gets for me. I function, I’m happy in life, I know that I am fortunate to have many wonderful aspects to my life – every now and then the memories come flooding back and I’m hit by the enormity of my loss. It still shakes me to the core but it no longer brings me to my knees the way it once did – I think I have simply accepted that the sadness will always be a part of me now.
      Best of luck for the future.

    Chris Banbery
    January 6, 2016 at 1:39 am (2 years ago)

    I’m writing this as a father. We lost our son Jamie 30.10.15. He was sadly born sleeping.

    I know it’s only recent and cannot be compared to your years of grief but the reality is that my wife and I have this to come.

    Everyone has suffered some kind of loss but there is nothing that prepares you for the loss of a child.

    I love my wife very much and I was with her all through the birth knowing what was the conclusion and it was the most heartbreaking time.

    I cannot know what it is truly like as a woman to have gone through pregnancy and to have that longing for the first look at your gift of life, but I have to say that it was the most powerful and strongest moment that any woman can go through, knowing that there is nothing at the end.

    I am trying to keep the family running but underneath I am grieving too, but try to stay brave to support my wife. I feel like my tears build up but when the pressure releases I have to try to quickly compose myself. I don’t know why. Is this normal? Am I stopping myself from grieving?

    We are fortunate to have a 7 year old daughter Evie to keep us smiling and I know this is a blessing.

    But I am dreading the forever annual events we have to come.

    I guess nothing can make it any easier to handle, but being there and doing it together is all we can do.

    God bless to all x

      January 6, 2016 at 5:04 am (2 years ago)

      Hi Chris, I understand completely what you mean. I have been going to counseling for the loss of my daughter for about 7 months now, because I was doing what you were doing, I will get to a point where I would explode and then quickly compose myself back together, I still do it… my counselor said that yes, I am stopping the grieving process… I went from never leaving my house for a year after my daughter died, to working full time, going to school full time, and being apart of my kids school activities and extra curricular activities… my counselor said I did that to so I wouldn’t focus on the pain and grief… my daughter died 2 years ago, and I have yet learned how to deal with it. Hope I helped.

        January 6, 2016 at 11:17 pm (2 years ago)

        Hi Cameron
        Thanks for your reply and advice.

        I’m so sorry for our loss. Your daughters will put smiles on your face forevermore.

        It’s early days for us so one step at a time.

        Peace be with you and your family ☺

    • Claire
      January 6, 2016 at 10:15 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Chris,

      Thank you so much for your message. I am so sorry for the loss of your son Jamie.
      It is still so recent for you both and my heart goes out to you.
      I’m sure your daughter must be a great comfort to you but it is no doubt very difficult to maintain a happy family life for her amidst your own grief.
      My only advice (for what little it is worth) would be to keep focusing on your relationship, men and women (and obviously every single individual) grieve at different rates and in different ways, it’s all to easy to drift. My own relationship fell apart and I think looking back, I thought he was moving on too fast, I probably resented him but in reality he was just grieving differently and it was no less valid. Conversely he didn’t understand the messy depth of my emotion.
      Over a decade later, and with new families of our own now, I think my sons father would agree, we could have handled things better if we had communicated instead of just trying to carry on. It sounds like you do get this point as your attending counselling and I wish you both the best of luck.
      It’s a long road but, although the pain never goes away, it does get easier.

        January 6, 2016 at 11:14 pm (2 years ago)

        Thanks Claire, I totally understand. We have a long way to go and there is no right or wrong way. It was so hard having to watch my wife go through the birth. What made it harder to swallow is that she was booked in for a c section on 30th October and she went in the 29th October for bloods due to having a rare blood group. It was during that appt she said it felt quite that morning so they decided to do a scan as the heart beat monitor wasn’t picking anything up. I was at work and as it was bloods being taken and it was half term week, our 7 year old was with her and her mom. It was devastating. I got a call asking me to come quickly and like an idiot I thought baby was coming. Then they told me. I had to drive an hour to get there through tears, anger and all emotions possible.

        I know it’s only recent but I think it will make us all much stronger – at least I hope so.

        So sad to hear that it had an opposite effect on you.

        They say things happen for a reason but and I do believe in fate but no woman deserves to have to go through what I witnessed, especially when you leave hospital with nothing but a sweet dreams box alongside other happy couples with their babies in car seats. I know it’s not their fault but it’s so insensitive of the hospital to let you leave through the same maternity exit.

        To top it all off, we had to go back for postmortem results the week before Christmas to find out that the hospital apologised as they believe that due to jamie having a bladder problem 2 weeks earlier they should have took him out the week before as the last consultant we seen didn’t pick up on something with the blood flow through cord. they said he didn’t do anything wrong but had it been a senior consultant they may have spotted it and looked at the bladder problem and blood flow measurements and seen that due to him being so small they would have got him out.

        Anyway I’ve said enough.

        Stillbirth is becoming more common. 18 a day in UK according to our bereavement midwife.
        So so sad…….love to you and all that have to live and go through this x

    January 6, 2016 at 4:54 am (2 years ago)

    Well said; I lost my oldest daughter 2 years ago to a tragic ATV accident; she was 12 at the time, she would have just turned 14… I live with this everyday, but I keep being told that I have to be strong for my 2 younger daughters… I’ve learned how to look happy, while I feel like I’m dying on the inside, so that my girls will be ok. Thank you for your insight, it’s nice to know I’m not alone.

    • Claire
      January 6, 2016 at 10:19 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Cameron,

      I am so sorry for the loss of your daughter – my own loss was from stillbirth, with two daughters now I simply cannot comprehend losing one of them after sharing so many happy years.
      My heart breaks for you. You are not alone and I hope you, and your daughters find happiness in the future. Xx

    January 7, 2016 at 10:51 pm (2 years ago)

    January 14th will be 3 yrs since I lost my baby boy Logan… I had a full term still birth no body on this earth can know what it feels like to lose a child unless they have been there themselves…. after I gave birth to my boy I held him cuddled and kissed him for 3 days would not let go of him… the most devastating time of my life…. broke me to pieces…. since then I have gone on to have 2 more boys Harrison 2 and Harley 4 months … not one minute of any given hour of any day do I not think of my first born logan…. I miss him with all my heart….. love u baby boy…. my special little twinkletoes…..
    Stay strong ladies….
    Angela. Xxxxx

    • Claire
      January 11, 2016 at 2:23 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Angela,
      Thank you so much for your comments – I am so sorry about the loss of your son Logan. I too have gone on to have two more children, two daughters, Amelia and Poppy. We never forget the children we have lost, I don’t think that would be possible – I think we just learn to grieve and find happiness all at the same time. It is truly a unique grief because I don’t think any of us actually ‘want’ to get over it – ‘it’ simply becomes a part of us.
      Best wishes,

    Billie Kingswood
    January 11, 2016 at 7:00 pm (2 years ago)

    The 15 th of this month will mark one year since my little boy Alfie was born sleeping at 41 weeks. His little sister Harriet joined him with the angels just 7 months later. My heart aches for every parent going through life with this pain – I hope we can all find peace one day xx

    • Claire
      January 11, 2016 at 8:38 pm (2 years ago)

      A double tragedy that I just cannot imagine. I’m so sorry. I do believe that peace is possible, happiness too – time doesn’t heal all wounds but it does make them more bearable.
      The best of luck to you for the future. Xx

    January 12, 2016 at 4:28 am (2 years ago)

    Today marks 6 years for us. 🙁 We were about 9 weeks pregnant when I miscarried during the early morning hours here at our home. We were devastated as we had been trying to get pregnant. We got the ok to start trying again and I said no more trying that it would happen when it was supposed to. Just months later in May I got really sick thinking I had a bug and turned out I was pregnant again…whoo hoo! I was so scared! A few weeks in I thought we were facing another miscarriage. We went in for the ultrasound prepared for the worst and found out we had TWO wigglers in there making themselves comfy. We were totally shocked! Our little boy/girl rainbow babies were born at 39 weeks big and healthy and will be 5 in two weeks. We are so blessed to be their parents! I just say our angel watches over all of us each day! Each year during these couple of days I am super sad and just not with it. The prayers come and some people understand, but it still hurts. I always say…gone but never ever forgotten! Much love to you all! 《♡》

    Sabah Mahmood
    January 12, 2016 at 8:13 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi Claire,
    So sorry for your loss, your words are so true. I lost my daughter, Aayah, on the 22/10/15, she was premature and was in intensive care for 47 days before passing away. I know it’s not been long but your words are exactly how I feel, we won’t ever be the same again, the thought of any happiness just cripples me because I know she won’t be there. I know im fortunate as I have 6 weeks of beautiful memories with my princess, she was a little fighter. We all just need to remember we havnt lost our angels, they live on our hearts and are with us every single day.

    Sending love your way,
    Sabah xxx

    January 19, 2016 at 11:05 pm (2 years ago)

    I miss my daughter so much…she passed away 5/31/14, she was 5 months old. This article is so true to the way I feel. People are moving on…expecting me to. And they’re completely lovable about it…but my heart and soul are not the same without my daughter. I will love…be happy…but she will always always be missing from my arms.

    January 23, 2016 at 4:36 am (2 years ago)

    My condolences to all that have lost children.
    I know the pain well, as i lost my son 25 yrs ago.. and you are absolutely right..We just learn to live being the new broken person we are. Mourning our child/children every day for the rest of our lives. Every birthday, every milestone they should be reaching, every holiday, even my birthday and mothers day i just picture him as an adult and wish he could just walk through the door. Wondering what he would look like, how would he sound when he said i love you mom…This is my life… I am strong.. He is my special angel.. Hugs & God Bless you all.. Stay strong…


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