Here are 3 reasons why it’s important to seek a sense of belonging after the loss of a child. A sense of belonging is the psychological feeling of connectedness and acceptance within a group (which could be as small as two people).  

This is important after the loss of a child because the latter has a way of stripping us of our identity and our relationship to others and the world. We can feel unmoored. Feeling safe in a group can help bring us out of that trauma response brought on by the loss of a child.

Are you feeling lost, alone and could you use some extra support? Have you lost a child or know someone who has? Schedule a free, Finding-Your-Way-Through-Grief call below.

Reason#1: A Sense Of Belonging Helps Us Purge Negative, False Statements About Ourselves

After the Loss of our child, we can have feelings of being a victim (called victim consciousness which comes from the Victim Sabotuer which we all have to some extent):
1. What am I going to do without him or her?  They were my everything.
2. The hopes and dreams for my child and with my child are now gone forever.
3. I will never hold my child again or speak to him or her.
4. My heart is permanently broken.
5. This is SO unfair.  What did I do to deserve this?
6. God is punishing me.
7. I wish I could have said goodbye.  I feel so empty and incomplete.
8. I feel so guilty and ashamed for not being there for her or him the way I should have.
9. This is all my fault that they’re no longer here.
10. I have should have been more patient and attentive when I had the chance.
Left to our own devices, where we are not expressing how we feel to anyone, we can begin to believe the condemning voices in our head.   Being in a group where we feel a sense of emotional safety, that we won’t be judged, helps bring out our voice.

We Have To Express Our Emotional Pain

When we don’t express our emotional pain it gets stored physically in our nervous system. In other words, the memories and experiences live in our muscles, cells and hearts. Though the group isn’t there to rescue us, having this type of support is like getting a big hug for our nervous system, like dimming the lights (see more on this in reason #2).
“To feel safe in the arms of another is the ultimate healing, to be able to open up to someone, to the world, after trauma has caused us to retreat,” according to Dr. Aime Apigian, Biology of Trauma physician.

Safety And Support Precede Healing 


After the trauma of losing a child, it’s normal to feel like you want to curl up in a ball and stay in bed.  There is a lot of shame about not being a good enough parent, and shame tends to cause us to want to hide our thougths and feelings.  The trauma stored in our body won’t be released though if we don’t feel safe and supported.  Safety and support are the first two essential steps to healing trauma.
Once we can begin to safely express ourselves and get our needs met in a healthy way, we can begin to expand into new beliefs about ourselves and what is possible for our lives.
3 Reasons to Seek a Sense of Belonging After the Loss of a Child</p>

My Coach’s Support Meant The World

After my daughter, Maddie, died 10/26/18 at 22 years of age with cystic fibrosis, my world shattered.  I was in a group with some coaches (Las Peregrinas) who really helped support me and hear my pain. 

I was able to express myself for months before AND many months after Maddie’s death. My coaches even adopted an elephant, Nabulu (see actual picture of her above), on my behalf, in honor of Maddie. She and I had gotten matching elephant tattoos with their trunks entwined into a heart 3 months before her death.

Reason#2: A Sense Of Belonging Helps Us To Heal Our Nervous System

When the loss of our child threatens to tear our and our family life apart, our nervous system gets out of whack, destabilized, and disregulated.
Acute stress comes from pressures of recent past and anticipated demands and pressures of the near future. Can you see how the loss of a child would cause acute stress?

Our Body Needs To Be In A Healing State


Our body has an amazing ability to heal itself both physically and emotionally.  The question is what gets in the way of a natural healing response?
To heal, we have to be in healing state. We need the right conditions and support for that to happen.  Stress and trauma and the demands they put on our system affects the body’s ability to heal.
Chronic stress exists over an extended period of time and can be debilitating and overwhelming. That’s why it’s so important to heal the trauma caused by the loss of a child before it turns into chronic stress.

Consequences Of Trauma And Stress

Affects Our Sleep

If you wake up continually through the night with racing thoughts, or if you have a hard time falling asleep, or both, not getting enough sleep has a HUGE negative effect on our quality of life.

We may feel tired and wired–exhausted but not able to relax and let go of fear, worry and concern. When we are drained from lack of sleep, we tend to eat more, stress more, and not have patience with our self or others, and a whole host of other problems.  Our body isn’t able to repair and regenerate itself like it would if we had a restful night’s sleep. We get in this vicious cycle of stress overload.

Affects Chronic Pain, Illness & Injury 

If we have chronic pain, it sets up a habit in our nervous system of expecting more pain. When we expect more pain, we unconsciously hold on tighter, creating tighter muscles and even more pain. 
After the loss of our child, there is a tendency to be more sick and get injured. This is because we have less killer cells which help fight off infection and threats, causing our immune system to be compromised. And we are in so much emotional pain, that it invites even more pain, and feeling “off.”  When we are ungrounded, there is a tendency to have scattered energy and more accidents. 

Most of us can’t relax around our pain (it’s like a loud siren that can’t be turned off), which creates more pain and anxiety. This is another vicious cycle.  If we are relaxed, the pain has a much better chance of moving through the body.

It’s Harder For Caregivers To Heal

If we are a parent and have other children, it’s really hard to be sick AND take care of others.  A study revealed, for example, that caregivers due to the amount of stress they are under, took 24% longer to heal wounds.
Further, our nervous system has a way of adapting to unhealthy trauma patterns and habits and staying there, even though we are no longer in immediate danger. This makes it harder to get out of this stress loop.

The Maladaptive Stress Response (MSR)

The Maladaptive Stress Response (MSR) is a chronic state of sympathetic nervous system activation when in a safe environment, according to Alex Howard, creator of Therapeutic Coaching and Founder of The Optimum Health Clinic and Conscious Life.  

Our nervous system still registers a threat as a reaction to stress overload and trauma even though it’s not warranted.

Per Mr. Howard, the coining of the term, Maladaptive Stress Response, originally came from work with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia patients. Their nervous system went into the exact opposite state of what they needed to be able to heal.
The constant questioning about their own body, “What’s wrong with me? Should I rest? Should I not rest? Why have I got this symptom?” created the MSR.

Loving Support Regulates The Nervous System

The MSR state keeps us in this state and prevents our healing. Our trauma has to go somewhere–so it goes into the nervous system. When it’s not processed, it’s held in our physical and emotional bodies. 
Let’s head this problem off before it comes to pass by getting support. Loving support regulates the nervous system, calms it, and allows the natural healing response of our body to do its job. 

It’s Ok To Prioritize Us Now

After being a caregiver for Maddie (the last year before she died was intense), I remember saying to my coaches, “Now is my time.”  

This may sound selfish, but I’d anticipated losing her for so long, that I was emotionally drained. Watching her suffer was incredibly difficult and anxiety-producing; I felt hopeless to do anything about it.

3 Reasons to Seek a Sense of Belonging After the Loss of a Child
Taking time for OUR SELF is NOT selfish.  We need to stay healthy for ourselves, our kids and others in our lives. It’s OK to put the oxygen mask on first. It’s OK to want something better for ourselves and our kids.

It’s Ok To Ask For And Receive Support

It’s OK to ask for and receive support. There ARE safe spaces to do this. And because of the Maladaptive Stress Response and how our body stores trauma, we need to consciously decide to get out of this loop of stress overload.
When we have a sense of belonging, everything changes for our nervous system.

Reason#3: A Sense Of Belonging Indirectly Helps Everyone We Love

When we feel safe and supported, which is brought about by the feelings generated in a supportive group where we can truly be and express ourselves, our nervous system has an opportunity to be calm and regulated. 
3 Reasons to Seek a Sense of Belonging After the Loss of a Child
Keep in mind only WE have the power to do this for ourselves. Not only does this preserve our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and well-being, but it has a huge impact on our children and others who interact with us on a regular basis.

Our Energy Is Contagious

Our children take on our nervous system, even while we are carrying them in the womb.  Our pets are also a good barometer.  They can sense our out-of-whack energy. Technology is another illustration of our ungroundedness–ever notice how computers, phones, and other tech won’t cooperate when we feel “off”?
When we aren’t grounded and secure in our nervous system which can be expected after the loss of our child, chances are our kids and others we interact with won’t be either.  It’s because our energy state is contagious, whether good or bad.

Beware Of  Getting The Scraps

As women, we are typically caregivers.  We do for others FIRST, and we get the scraps of our time, energy and love. This habit for women has become so cliche and universally accepted as “that’s just how life is” that we don’t even question it anymore. This is when a belief is the most dangerous, when we stop questioning its validity.
We are so addicted to the habit of rescuing others and thinking we know best that we’ve lost ourselves in everyone else’s needs.  When we lose a child, we can multiply this tendency to sacrifice ourselves by 100-fold. We may even try really hard to keep it altogether and be the strong one for our family, but falsely so.
When we focus on everyone else, who is left to tend to our hearts, minds and nervous systems? NO ONE.  Let’s be especially tender on ourselves because we’ve just experienced one of the most traumatic events a person could ever go through, the loss of our child.
Our main focus right now is to take care of ourselves, get plenty of sleep, good nutrition, movement, and of course, find someone to help us feel emotionally safe and supported.

Let’s Give Our Family A Break

When we can turn to someone outside of our immediate family for support and a sense of belonging, after losing our child, this will also give our immediate family a break from trying to comfort us.  Our family members are also grieving and don’t have their normal resources and capacity to be there for us. It’s sort of like expecting the blind to lead the blind.
When we can turn to a safe space of support to help us to heal from the trauma of the loss of a child, prioritizing US for a change, everyone in our life will benefit, our spouse, other children, friends, family, everyone.


We will be more grounded, stable, and connected.  Yes, we will still be hurting and sad but it’s much easier to grieve when we feel safe energetically.
You don’t have to go it alone through this loss. Truly. Schedule below for a free, Finding-Your-Way-Through-Grief call.
Much Love,
Angie Monko,
Energy Healer–Grief Coach