As the New Year approaches, many talk about fresh starts and new beginnings. But when you have experienced the profound loss of a child, the idea of a ‘new beginning’ can feel complex and emotionally charged. I’m Jeanne van den Bergh, a social worker in private practice, and I’ve supported many parents through this heart-wrenching journey. Here are some thoughts on how to approach the New Year after such a significant loss.
Acknowledge your feelings
First and foremost, it’s important to acknowledge how you’re feeling. The turn of the year can bring a mix of emotions – sadness for another year without your child, guilt for moving forward, or even hope for a less painful future. Recognising and accepting these feelings as part of your journey is a vital step in healing.
Redefine what new beginnings mean to you
New beginnings after a loss don’t have to mean leaving memories behind. Instead, they can be about carrying those memories with you into the future. It’s about finding ways to live a life that honours your child’s memory and the love you have for them.
Set gentle intentions, not pressured resolutions
The New Year often brings the pressure of resolutions and big changes. Instead, set gentle intentions for yourself. This might be as simple as finding a moment each day for quiet reflection or starting a journal to write letters to your child. These small steps can be a more compassionate way to approach the year ahead.
Find supportive communities
You don’t have to face the New Year alone. Connecting with others who have experienced similar losses can be incredibly comforting. Whether it’s a support group, online community, or one-on-one counselling, find a space where your feelings are validated and understood.
Create a tribute to your child
The New Year can be a time to start a new tradition in memory of your child. This could be an annual event, like a charity fundraiser in their name, or something more personal, like planting a tree. These acts can provide a sense of continuity and connection to your child’s enduring impact on your life.
Entering the New Year after the loss of a child is undoubtedly challenging. It’s a time when the absence of your loved one can feel even more pronounced. However, it can also be a period of gentle reflection, of finding ways to keep your child’s memory an integral part of your life, and slowly moving towards a future where this loss is woven into the tapestry of your story with love and honour.
If you find this journey overwhelming, please remember, you are not alone. At Guidance to Grow, we’re here to provide support and understanding. Reach out to me, Jeanne van den Bergh, for a compassionate ear and a helping hand. Together, we can navigate this path and find a way to embrace the New Year with gentle hope and tender remembrance.
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
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Connect with Jeanne: Jeanne van den Bergh
YouTube: Guidance to Grow