is with a heavy heart that I am announcing the completion of the Sudden Infant
Death Bereavement Support Group of New York City. After five years of running the groups I have
profound respect for those of you who have been in attendance. It has been my honor to in some small way
assist in bearing witness to the grief and struggle to resume a new life. I am deeply grateful to each and every attendee,
reader of the blog, and those who have reached out by email and by telephone. Visitors to this website do not tend to come
by accident. If you are suffering from a
loss or hoping to be supportive to those who are grieving, please see below for
a listing of some alternative resources.
In the event of a traumatic loss, such as the death of a child, a sense of overwhelm is to be expected. In the first few days, weeks and months the experience may feel like being underwater – people and places are somehow removed. Some people report that their sense of time maybe distorted, something like lacing shoes may feel like it takes much longer than usual or boiling water may seem like it takes no time at all. You may be feeling unable to meet the demands of day-to-day living. This is expectable. Your partner may best able to cope by being thrown back into a familiar routine - that concentrating on doing their work is therapeutic. Others find it impossible to concentrate, find their minds wandering, need more time to complete tasks that they used to do by habit. That is expectable. There is no wrong way to grieve.
What can be expected to happen in a Support Group?
In the best sense of the word, support. Some grieving families find it helpful to learn of the experiences of others who have gone through or who are going through similar losses. Reactions to a profound event like the death of a child can range from an inability to get out of bed or shower at all - for days, to irritability – at loved ones or at taxi cab drivers. Having the whole range of reactions acknowledged by those who have been there, normalizes the reaction and this in and of itself many people find helpful.
While the stories of loss are very individual, there is a way in which group members can identify others who are going through similar experiences. It can be meaningful to find that sharing the feelings around losing a child unexpectedly that are so raw, full of hurt and bewilderment can be helpful to someone else.
Most members find that they have some interactions with authorities who can be accusatory or helpful and that having a place to safely vent confusing feelings
around the medical profession or legal agencies is helpful.
In the group, practical suggestions are exchanged that make grieving just a little easier. For those who have been long-standing members, sharing their practical knowledge and experience can give meaning to their loss.
If you have not been to a support group before, you are welcome here. Many parents find it is helpful to get and give support around loss in a group. Please join us at Greenwich House in the Village.
Many members find that they have interactions with family or friends who are well meaning yet not helpful. Some people feel guilty feeling anger or resentment towards family and concerned friends. It can help to have others share their experiences around these feelings. Many people find that they question their faith at this time and find that being part of a community can help reframe a profound loss. Over time the subsequent death of other loved ones can trigger intense feelings again around the loss of a child and even years after losing a baby to SIDS it can be helpful to be part of a group.
Our next and last meeting will be on Monday, March 11, 2013. We will meet at 6:30pm in the Parent / Teacher Lounge on the Mezzanine level of Greenwich House located at 27 Barrow Street.
In your busy practice, assisting patients and parents with difficult news must be challenging. One of the hardest situations for new parents to face is the loss of their child for inexplicable reasons. I am writing to inform you of an on-going support group for families who are grieving the death of child due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Begun three years ago by parents in the community who have faced this loss, and facilitated by an experienced therapist, this group is free. It is run on a drop-in basis at Greenwich House, 27 Barrow Street in the Village area of Manhattan on the second Monday of every month at 6:30pm (with a break in July and August). Our next meeting is on September 12th. An outpouring of generosity from the community through direct contributions and through the First Candle Organization has resulted in the group being fully-funded for the next two years.
By way of introduction, I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice for over eight years. I have been the group facilitator of the Sudden Infant Death Bereavement Support group for three years and have been the Director for over one year. I offer psychotherapy to adults in a private practice located on Fifth Avenue and 20th Street for those who prefer individual attention and offer sliding scale fees for those services on a case-by-case basis. I have post-graduate training in psychodynamic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis and specialized training and experience working with those who have endured a trauma. Please visit: www.jneely4psychotherapy.com for more information about my practice.
I sincerely hope that you never need to refer anyone to the group, but should you need to, please know that this resource is available.
Feel free to contact me directly at 212-946-5052 with questions or referrals. I am at your service as is the group.
Warm best regards,
Jennifer A. Neely, LCSW