Sibling Grief After Perinatal Loss
Publication Date:May 2011
Research which studies family grief in response to perinatal loss (the loss of a child before birth, during birth, or immediately after birth) generally has focused on parental grief and rarely included sibling grief. The emotional burdens from unresolved grief that surviving siblings experience can be carried into adulthood and are insufficiently understood. Siblings in families bereaved as a result of perinatal loss suffer in two ways: they mourn the loss of their expected sibling and they mourn the loss of the parents as they knew them prior to the loss. Parents can be so overwhelmed with their own grief that they are blind to their children’s grief. Professionals can help parents learn how to communicate with their surviving children in appropriate ways so that their children will be able to express, integrate, and release their grief. Perinatal losses affect the whole family system, and the impact can be felt even in later generations.
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