When a family has a loss of a baby, the whole family grieves. You would think it would be just the mom and maybe the dad, but really it’s the whole family. Maybe your family has been through difficult times. Divorce, death of a loved one, a move away from loved ones, loss of a job and downgrade of your lifestyle. I guess all these things could cause grief for family members.
Here are my observations and my opinions of what may transpire due to the loss:
1. Illness – I watched my good friend and neighbor Debbie lose several loved ones in a row followed by our move to Florida. She had a constant cold and illness for more than 9 months.
Immune System: Grief weakens the immune system. Stress associated with months of turmoil before or after a loss causes our cortisol “stress hormone” to pump out. The adrenal glands that pump out the stress hormone called cortisol can literally burn out… which can leave us with an even bigger problem of chronic fatigue.
Recognize that your family members may start to get sick weeks or months after the loss. If you see repetitive illness, you may want to focus on building the immune system of the entire family.
2. Lack of Energy – “I walk around the block and I need to come in and take a nap.” “I barely can get through the day without falling asleep.” “I need stimulants like coffee, soda, or energy drinks to do my job.”
Do these things sound familiar?
Some people need these things regardless. But after a loss we can become more and more dependent on “energy aides”. The burning out of the adrenal glands is many times a culprit. And this is much more common in our population than you think. This can also result in one good day of energy and doing things followed by a bad day.
For me I found myself having a good day of energy where I cared for the kids, decorated for Christmas, and took a short walk. The following day I found myself so exhausted I literally had to sleep for 4 hours in the middle of the day.
Adrenal exhaustion will put you on a roller coaster until you get on track for healing it. To learn more about Adrenal Exhaustion and if you have it, visit this page.
3. Fogginess – After the loss, your body and brain may be in a state of shock for weeks or months afterwards. You may forget names, appointments, where you left things and the common “what was I looking for” when you enter a room. Concentration is difficult. I have ruined several meals trying to cook, wasted expensive supplements by accidentally flushing them down the drain, put my clothing on wrong and the list goes on.
How about you? Have you just chalked your “mistakes” up to age, carelessness, or disorganization? What really may be going on is your body’s healing and grieving process.
4. Appetite – This can seem to go either way for loss. In many cases initially there is a loss of appetite. Weight loss is common when grieving but so is weight gain. We comfort ourselves with foods we love or crave. Our eating patterns can become irregular going all day without food and then bingeing on a dozen cookies or a cake at night. The problem with poor eating patterns is this can contribute to adrenal fatigue even more. YIKES… and that can lead to a poorer immune system.
So eating healthy at least eventually after a loss will be important for your healing. But I will admit as soon as we left the hospital I made my husband get me a large peppermint ice cream chocolate dipped cone. Sometimes you need the comfort. But if you do it daily, you will wreck your health and put on the pounds, no matter if that’s all you eat all day.
5. Behavior – Each person may react differently based on the kind of trauma or loss they had. For women who lose babies, we deal with a huge hormone shift which many times can result in Post Partum Depression. This can result in anxiety, moodiness, depression and the list goes on. For me I recognize it through lack of patience with my children, husband or employees. The roller coaster of despair, crying, anxiety, and even happiness.
When you have illness involved with your grief, you will have even more lack of patience. When I heard about a sick single mom swearing at her kids after a great loss, I had more pity on her then disgust. It’s really hard to get through the day without yelling when you have small children and your body is hurting and your heart is hurting. I can’t imagine doing it without support.
Our family members… acute or chronic illness can affect our family members in a variety of ways. Young children may exhibit behavior to get attention, or outbursts, nightmares, bed wetting, withdrawals, anxieties, fears and so on. Teenage children may show similar characteristics but they may also seek attention in others outside the family who may not be the best influence. Alcohol and drugs, sexual attention, bad influences, and even cutting are behaviors that may be seeded from trauma.
Sadly a year ago we lost a baby early on in my pregnancy. I thought I was really the only one affected but looking back I can see it with new eyes. A year ago my husband a strong man who allows me to grieve first it seems, then when I am better you see it affect him. We lost our baby in February and by April he had gained 15 more pounds, had been struggling with repetitive colds, and lack of patience. My son was acting out, refused to work with his new therapist, and pooped his pants almost daily.
This year I see my husband still trying to be strong but his immune system has crashed and he has been sick for weeks. My son has broken out in terrible eczema and sores on his face, he has been bed wetting, and today I got a report that he is not obeying and even hitting in his gym class. At first I was really upset and worried but then I looked beyond it and realized what was really going on with him. I wrote to the gym and coaches and let them know what was going on with our family, asked for some grace and came up with a few solutions to help with his behavior next time.
A new awareness gives me some hope during this difficult time and I hope it does to you too. I hope this article can give you some ideas and things to look for when dealing with loss. As I go through more of the healing process myself, I will share things that helped our family and our health.
God Bless you and your family,
Mary Starr Carter
The Total Wellness Doc and Mom
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to diagnose, prescribe, treat or cure any illness or disease. It’s strictly for informational, educational, or entertainment purposes ONLY. The products I talk about are not meant to diagnose, prescribe, treat or cure any illness or disease. Any information I give you about them is for informational or entertainment purposes only. They have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA. Please seek the qualified health professional of your choice when making health decisions for yourself, your family and your pets.