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6 Insights for Grieving Mothers Coping with Child Loss and Depression

child loss and mental health.

I sat in my daughter's bedroom every morning after the house became quiet and pleaded with God to help me find a way to be with Katie again. I counted the sleeping pills in the vial beside the bed and I calculated which highway was the busiest and would be easiest to have a head-on collision on. I begged for a terminal disease that would quickly end my time on earth.

I just couldn't do it anymore. If I couldn't live with this pain for six months, how I could I possibly live the rest of my life feeling like this?

Do you know what stopped me from taking my life? The realization that Katie would be so disappointed in me, that my son would never get get his footing, and that there was no guarantee that suicide was the way to seeing my daughter again. While I whole-heartedly believe in the afterlife, no one really knows. In my mind's eye, I saw a flash of complete destruction that I could create or prevent. It was my wake-up call.

From that moment on, I decided to do whatever it took to make Katie proud, support my son and live for both of them. I imagined Katie standing beside me and encouraging me to stand strong. She sent me signs and dreams to keep me going. In my dreams, she told me that we are connected by love and nothing can destroy that. She told me I was needed right where I was and that I should reach out and help others. She urged me to continue on and do the things that she didn't get to do. At that point, I knew she would be with me every step of the way.

I didn't want my family destroyed all over again.

I never really told anyone about my serious contemplation with suicide because I didn't want to burden them. I only share this with you now because you may be struggling with the same thoughts.

It wasn't as simple as choosing to survive. I knew I had to change my perspective. I needed to change my words and thoughts. I needed to focus on the fact that Katie lived, not just the fact that she died.

I will never forget that moment in my life.

It has shaped me and every moment since then. I live with purpose now and I live with gratitude for everything I have in my life. Katie is with me, just in a different way, and I will work on making her proud as I live a life that honours her life and everything she stood for.

Here's what I want you to know:
  1. Having thoughts of joining your child on the other side is very normal. Most grieving mothers who I have met have had thoughts about ending their life. This is not meant to downplay the seriousness of these thoughts, but I want you to know that you are not alone.

  2. Trying to take your own life may lead you to a place where you are worse off than you are right now. You may live with permanent brain damage or a serious physical disability for the rest of the life. Believe it or not, life could get worse for you.

  3. There are other ways to help you work through the pain, overwhelm, and intense longing that you are feeling for your child who has died. I truly believe that we all need a team to help us through and that includes a therapist/counsellor, family doctor, supportive family and friends, and other grieving mothers who are further down the path than we are. Please be open to these resources.

  4. There are no guarantees that you will see your child on the other side. While I truly believe that I will see Katie again when I die, nobody can know this for certain. Where will that leave you?

  5. You are loved beyond measure. Your pain might be a thousand times greater than any amount of love you feel from your friends and family. I get that, but think of the devastation you would cause to others. Your partner and children may never recover from a second traumatic death.

  6. Things will get better and they will change in time. I know you may not believe that right now, but I promise you they will. Grief is a painful process that takes time and can take us to some pretty dark places. Know that you will find the light. Connect with other grieving mothers and let us take you by the hand.

If you are still struggling with these thoughts, please reach out. If you are in a crisis, please dial 911 and get immediate help.

Sending you love and light,

XO Lisa

PS: Here are a couple of free resources for you.

child loss video presentation

podcast cover some child loss info

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