The festive season, a time traditionally filled with joy and celebration, can be particularly challenging when you’re grappling with the unimaginable loss of a child. As a social worker in private practice, I’ve worked with many who’ve faced this heartache. Today, I want to share some strategies that have helped others navigate this difficult period. If you find yourself struggling, please remember that you’re not alone, and support is available.
Honour your child’s memory
It’s important to find a way to include your child in your celebrations, in whatever way feels right for you. This could be as simple as lighting a special candle or setting a place at the dinner table in their honour. These acts serve as a gentle reminder of their presence in your heart and can bring a sense of peace amidst the sorrow.
Set boundaries for yourself
You have every right to decide how you want to spend the festive season. If attending large family gatherings feels overwhelming, it’s okay to opt for smaller, quieter celebrations. It’s also perfectly fine to change or skip certain traditions that feel too painful this year. Listen to your heart and do what feels best for you and your family.
Reach out for support
Don’t hesitate to lean on your friends, family, or a support group during this time. Sometimes, just talking about your child and sharing memories can be incredibly healing. Remember, seeking professional support is also a brave and healthy step. As a social worker specializing in grief and bereavement, I’ve seen firsthand the comfort and understanding that can come from talking to someone who is trained to help.
Allow yourself to feel
Grief, especially during the festive season, can be a rollercoaster of emotions. You might find yourself oscillating between sadness, anger, guilt, and moments of joy. This is all normal. Allow yourself to feel these emotions without judgment. Suppressing your feelings can often make the grief process more difficult.
Create a new tradition
Consider starting a new tradition in memory of your child. This could be an activity that you all enjoyed together or something entirely new that feels like a fitting tribute. This can be a beautiful way to keep their spirit alive and part of your family’s festive celebrations.
The loss of a child is an indescribable pain, and the festive season can amplify those feelings of loss and emptiness. But amidst the pain, there’s still room for love, remembrance, and even moments of joy.
If you find yourself struggling to cope with the loss of a child, please don’t hesitate to reach out for support. My name is Jeanne van den Bergh, and at Guidance to Grow, we understand the journey of grief and are here to walk alongside you with compassion and empathy. You don’t have to go through this alone. Together, we can find a path towards healing and hope.
More about Guidance to Grow
Guidance to Grow is a South African-based therapeutic consultancy that provides professional counselling and life coaching services. Guidance to Grow, under the leadership of Social Worker in Private Practice, Jeanne van den Bergh, has a focus on supporting individuals who are experiencing grief, bereavement, and trauma. They offer a range of services that are designed to help clients process and manage their emotions, including one-on-one counselling, group therapy, and workshops.
At Guidance to Grow, Jeanne takes a compassionate and personalised approach to each client’s unique needs. She works closely with clients to understand their challenges, provide guidance and support, and develop customised strategies to help them move forward and find a sense of peace and fulfillment.
Guidance to Grow’s commitment to providing exceptional therapeutic services has earned them a reputation as one of the most trusted and reliable counselling and life coaching providers in South Africa. If you or someone you know is struggling with grief, bereavement, or trauma, consider reaching out to Guidance to Grow for compassionate support and guidance.
Podcast: Vilomah – The loss of a child
Facebook page: Guidance to Grow
Facebook group: Guidance to Grow Bereaved Parents Support Group
LinkedIn: Guidance to Grow
Connect with Jeanne: Jeanne van den Bergh
YouTube: Guidance to Grow