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Anniversary reactions


Forum: Recurrent Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss

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  #1  
July 15th, 2006, 09:22 PM
beck12's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 12,330
When you experience a mc/stillbirth, you often don't experience that loss just once. You're likely to relive it on the anniversary of the loss and on other special days throughout the year, such as a birthday or holidays. Even memorial celebrations or the announcement of someone else's pregnancy or birth of a child can trigger the familiar pain and sadness of a loss all over again.

The return of these feelings is not necessarily a setback in the grieving process. Learning more about what to expect and how to cope with reminders can help make the grieving process a healthy one.

The emotions and memories experienced through reminders are called anniversary reactions. These reactions, which can last for days or weeks at a time, can give rise to a host of emotions & physical problems.

You may experience sadness, loneliness, anger, anxiety, nightmares & lack of interest in activities, just as
you did when you initially grieved. You may weep unexpectedly or replay images or scenes related to the loss. You might have trouble eating or sleeping, or develop headaches, stomach pain or intestinal upset.

Anniversary reactions can also evoke powerful emotional memories — experiences in which you vividly recall the feelings and events surrounding your loss. You might remember in great detail where you were and what you were doing, what you were wearing, for instance.

Common reminders
Some reminders are almost inevitable, especially during the first year following a loss. That's when you'll face a lot of "firsts" — the first holiday after your loss, your estimated due date, the first Mother's Day after losing your baby. Your reactions to these firsts might be intense, but you'll probably find it easier to cope with subsequent anniversary dates as years pass.

Reminders aren't just tied to the calendar, though. They can be anywhere — in sights, sounds and smells, in the news or on television programs. And they can ambush you, suddenly flooding you with emotions when you bump into an old friend with a new baby or a big belly. When you receive an invitation to a Baby Shower in the mail or a birth announcement.

Here are some other common reminders that may trigger your grief all over again:
* Holidays
* Baby Showers
* Family gatherings
* Childhood milestones, such as the first day of school, and other child-oriented days, such as Halloween
* Other anniversary days, such as when you got your BFP, your LMP, your EDD, your Loss Date

Even years after a loss or tragedy, you may continue to feel sadness and pain when you're hit with such reminders. Although some people think grieving should last a year or less, grieve at your own pace.

Beyond grief
On the other hand, protracted or intense grief can be unhealthy. If you find that your feelings interfere with your ability to function in your daily life — you miss work deadlines, have conflicts with family or friends, neglect your appearance or stop socializing, for instance — you may no longer be simply grieving. You may have depression, a treatable medical condition.

Symptoms of depression include self-criticism, feelings of guilt about the loss and even thoughts of suicide. If that's the case, it's time to get treatment. Start by visiting your primary care doctor to discuss treatment strategies, such as psychotherapy or medication.

In some cases, these reactions can trigger post-traumatic stress disorder. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress include fear and anxiety, lack of focus, sadness, changes in sleeping or eating habits, bouts of crying, or recurrent thoughts or nightmares about the event.

If you have these disturbing feelings for more than a month, if they're severe or if you feel you're having trouble coping, see your doctor or a mental health professional.


Prepare for reminders
Knowing that you're likely to experience anniversary reactions can help you understand them and even turn them into opportunities for healing. Some people create new holiday traditions or ways of honoring their angels. You may find that symbolizing or expressing grief helps you cope better than denying or avoiding it.

You might find yourself dreading upcoming special reminder days, fearful of being overwhelmed by painful memories and emotions. In some cases, the anticipation can be worse than the actual day. You may find, though, that you work through some of your grief as you cope with the stress and anxiety of an approaching anniversary.

Coping strategies

Here are some other ways to cope with reminders of loss and tragedy:
* Be reassured that anniversary reactions are normal and that their intensity will diminish in time.
* Reminisce about the time you had being pg & how happy you were, rather than the loss.
* Plan a distraction, such as a weekend away or a visit with friends or relatives.
* Start a new tradition in your baby's memory. Make a charitable donation in your baby's name.
* If you find yourself becoming more anxious, sad or distressed by news coverage, limit your exposure.
* Draw family members and friends close to you, rather than avoiding them.
* Find someone who will encourage you to talk about your loss.
* Stay connected to your usual support systems, such as spiritual leaders and social groups.
* Allow yourself to feel sadness and a sense of loss. Conversely, allow yourself to also experience joy and happiness as you celebrate special times. In fact, you might find yourself both laughing and crying.

Reminders can make your loss painfully evident, even years later. It's a reflection that this baby's life was important to you, and that you grieve their loss. But knowing what to expect can help ease your grief as time passes.
__________________
B - Crazy momma to my two boys
We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters. ~Gloria Steinem

If a man has been his mother's undisputed darling he retains throughout life the triumphant feeling, the confidence in success, which not seldom brings actual success along with it. ~Sigmund Freud
My mom is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune. ~Graycie Harmon
Don't wait to make your son a great man - make him a great boy. ~Author Unknown
You don't raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they'll turn out to be heroes, even if it's just in your own eyes. ~Walter M. Schirra, Sr.
A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest. ~Irish Proverb
Mother's love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. ~Erich Fromm
Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it. - Harold Hulbert
Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children. ~William Makepeace Thackeray
God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers. ~Jewish Proverb
The best conversations with mothers always take place in silence, when only the heart speaks. ~Carrie Latet




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  #2  
July 15th, 2006, 09:26 PM
srs srs is offline
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 2,421
Thanks. My EDD for my first is 8/11/06, and I'v definitely started thinking about it.
__________________
Sara

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  #3  
August 23rd, 2006, 06:01 PM
beck12's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 12,330
Bumping for all of us dealing with anniversary dates.
__________________
B - Crazy momma to my two boys
We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters. ~Gloria Steinem

If a man has been his mother's undisputed darling he retains throughout life the triumphant feeling, the confidence in success, which not seldom brings actual success along with it. ~Sigmund Freud
My mom is a neverending song in my heart of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune. ~Graycie Harmon
Don't wait to make your son a great man - make him a great boy. ~Author Unknown
You don't raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they'll turn out to be heroes, even if it's just in your own eyes. ~Walter M. Schirra, Sr.
A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest. ~Irish Proverb
Mother's love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. ~Erich Fromm
Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it. - Harold Hulbert
Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children. ~William Makepeace Thackeray
God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers. ~Jewish Proverb
The best conversations with mothers always take place in silence, when only the heart speaks. ~Carrie Latet




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