Monday, July 7, 2008

Secondary losses

A good friend of mine is a marriage and family therapist. She attended our recent Glory Babies partner training and (as usual) provided some great insights. One thing she talked about was secondary losses. She drew a diagram - but I'm not sure how to get that on here...I will if I figure it out! Basically, there's a circle in the middle of the page. Inside that circle you write down the loss (for example, a miscarriage). Then draw larger circles around that first circle - kind of like the rings on a tree. Each outer circle represents secondary losses. With a miscarriage, examples of secondary losses include the anniversary of the loss, the due date and anniversaries of that due date/birthday, Mother's Day, going to a baby shower, finding out a friend/sibling/coworker/etc is pregnant...the list goes on and on.

These secondary losses are things that can bring on all the emotions of the initial loss like a flood, often unexpectedly and out of the blue. By brainstorming potential secondary losses, you can anticipate those hard moments and take out a little bit of their sting. They will likely still be difficult, but oftentimes it is a tiny bit easier when you know they're coming, and you can even begin to process through them and decide how you'd like to respond (not that we always respond how we'd like to).

At that same training, one of the partners who attended said that one of her secondary losses was on her own birthday, because she had pictured having a new baby on her birthday that year and there wasn't one because of the miscarriage. This tool can be used for any type of loss (death of loved one, loss of job, disappointments in any area), and is something you can not only use for yourself, but something you can walk through with another person who experiences a loss. If you have ideas of other secondary losses that can occur with miscarriage, post a comment on this post.

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