This is when the guilt comes in. After you've started asking yourself if the loss could be prevented, you'll feel guilty for the tragedy and start blaming yourself. This is especially true for the mothers of bereaved parents.

One of the hardest stages of your grieving journey. We believe that sharing some personal experience and advice can help you understand it and cope better.

Every single person on this planet knows how guilt feels - it's a feeling where you believe that you should be blamed for something that has caused many consequences. Guilt comes to make you question the things you did or said to someone, feeling you're one to blame for their pain and suffering. 

Guilt is known as one of the worst feelings in our life and usually comes a bit later when a tragedy happens. Let's say that you'll probably experience the stage of guilt approximately 6 months after the loss of your child. This can last even for years - for most bereaved parents, the feeling of guilt lasts approximately two years, while together being mixed with depression and anger.

How much guilt will you have to endure may also depend on the reason for the loss of your child, or better said - how your child's life ended. This is especially a hard time for people who have lost their children due to suicide. 

Anyways, you'll feel guilt no matter what happened and caused the tragedy. For mothers, this will be very hard because you'll start questioning their ability of parenting, while bereaved fathers will start to blame themselves for not being able to protect the family.

Your self-esteem will probably drop a lot and you'll start feeling like you don't deserve anything. This is important to say because a lot of bereaved parents claimed how they thought that they don't even deserve to eat, have fun, or have a good night's sleep because their child cannot do that anymore.

For parents who have lost their children in some sort of accident or due to suicide, it's definitely best to talk to others or a professional with a purpose to start seeing the situation from another angle and objectively.

Guilt after the loss of a child - the hardest times

I have already mentioned that you'll not only feel guilty because of the loss of your child, but you'll also feel guilty because you are still alive. 

Leaving your house is another challenge - you'll believe that everyone is pointing out their fingers at you and blaming you for your child's loss. 

Whatever you think and however you feel - I have to tell you one thing, and that is: Please be sure that you leave your house and continue living in the outside world and society too as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it will be for you to face everyone around you. 

Is it guilt or is it regret?

Some psychologists experts claim that bereaved parents tend to misunderstand regret. Maybe your feeling of guilt is actually related to regret. 

Let's say that you spend days rewinding memories of your beloved child and wonder if you could have done something differently. Yes, you'll remember even the most bizarre situations related to yelling at your child, or not spending more time with them.

What to do about such feelings? It's good to talk to your child and maybe even ask for forgiveness if your feelings are that strong and if you believe that will help.

People who haven't lost a child may find it difficult to understand that bereaved parents may even think that their children are very angry at them. Bereaved parents feel that they have let their children down.  

Feeling guilty of poor coping

You can also feel guilt due to poor coping mechanisms. As always, I will remind you to be very gentle with yourself, but also to try to recognize some signs of complicated grief so you can act on time and help yourself overcome such hard periods of time.

According to psychology, these are the signs of complicated grief you should watch out for:

1. Intense sorrow. Although science says that this may be a sign of complicated grief, as a bereaved parent I am not sure I would agree (and probably neither would you). Intense sorrow and pain are normal and can last for quite longer than in other grieving journeys. If 5 years have passed and your emotions have changed even for a bit, yes, that can be a warning sign. 

2. Focusing only on the tragedy. You cannot focus on literally anything and your thoughts are always related to tragedy. This can be followed by intense negative body sensations. 

3. Excessive avoidance of reminders or focusing too much on your beloved child's memories. You either avoid everything related to your tragedy or constantly seek anything that reminds you of your child. 

Well, I wouldn't agree with this completely to be a sign of complicated grief for bereaved parents. This is a normal phase but shouldn't last longer than a few years. 

It's actually a coping mechanism. You are either protecting yourself from being harmed again or you are finding your own way to mourn – that's completely fine. 

4. Difficulty with reintegration. This can be a sign of complicated grief but is also a normal part of grieving for bereaved parents. If you really find it absolutely difficult to work or talk with others, that can be an alarm that you may need more support and help. 

Although psychology claims that complicated grief mostly looks like that, I would like to say a few more things about those statements. 

For me and other bereaved parents, I have met and talked about, complicated grief mostly included addictions to ease your pain, inability to take care of yourself and do daily basic stuff, and suicidal thoughts

Such signs should definitely be a huge warning to search for support and help – we are here to help.