Guidance to Grow Vilomah - The loss of a child

Vilomah - The loss of a child

There is a term for most bereaved people. For those who have lost a husband, the word widow. For those who have lost a wife, the word widower. For those that have lost parents, the word orphan.

There seems to be no word for a parent who has experienced the death of a child, but the closest would be Vilomah. Vilomah is a Sanskrit word that literally means, "against a natural order." A child should never die before their parents and there is some sort of tiny comfort in knowing that there is a word for parents to identify with.

Through this podcast series, Jeanne van den Bergh, social worker in private practice and life coach who specialises in trauma and bereavement counselling, aims to offer guidance and support to parents who have a lost a child.
Monthly English South Africa Kids & Family
22 Episodes
1 – 20

Don't forget my child

In the pain of losing a child, a profound fear many bereaved parents share is that their child will be forgotten. While society freely celebrates children's milestones, bereaved parents often face silence or even disdain when they remember their lost child. Yet, every child, whether they lived moments or decades,…
10 Oct 5 min

Reflections on how my life changed after the death of my child

The experience of losing a child is an unparalleled loss, frequently misconstrued by most. If you care for a grieving parent or have a connection with one, always keep in mind that even their so-called "better" days are more challenging than one could possibly grasp. Rather than offering advice, what's…
26 Aug 7 min

Reflections on the First Days and Weeks After My Child Died

Losing a child is an indescribable tragedy that inflicts profound emotional and psychological pain upon parents. In the weeks following the death of their child, parents often experience a range of intense emotions and face numerous challenges as they navigate through their grief. In this deeply moving episode, Jeanne van…
3 Jul 8 min

The benefits of journaling through your grief journey

Grief is an inescapable part of life. As human beings, we possess deep, complex, multi-faceted emotions, and it’s our responsibility to learn how we individually need to process those emotions. If you are facing a season of grief keeping a grief journal might be the answer to helping you cope…
18 May 5 min

The death of a child: Guilt and blame as part of the grieving process

The death of a child of any age is a profound, difficult, and painful experience. Crying, sorrow, and anger are common emotions when dealing with death. The most obvious impact on parents is the impact of the ongoing grief and sadness of their child not being here. How do you…
2 Feb 6 min

How psychological trauma impacts the body

One of the most surprising things about emotional trauma is how hard it can hit even the most stoic and grounded people. Physical injuries can cause a lot of pain and discomfort, but they can be measured and are to be expected after something terrible and unexpected, like a car…
6 Dec 2022 8 min

My child has died and I struggle so much. When will it get better?

No parent is prepared for a child's death. Parents are simply not supposed to outlive their children. It is important to remember that how long your child lived does not determine the size of your loss. The loss of a child is profound at every age. You may find that…
18 Oct 2022 7 min

How Positive Affirmations Can Help The Grieving Process

Losing a loved one is one of the most significant and stressful life events that all humans must experience. Navigating grief will be different for each person but it can be really helpful to validate the sadness before trying to move through it. Affirmations are a helpful tool for dealing…
25 Jun 2022 10 min

The importance of talking about death

We all have different relationships with death, shaped by our personal experiences, religious or spiritual beliefs, culture, family history and current life circumstances. The one thing we all have in common is that dying and death will be a significant part of our lives. The simple fact is that we’re…
3 May 2022 9 min

How Do We Pack Up Our Child’s Belongings?

Our child’s belongings feel sacred. Letting go of them is unbearably painful. Instead, we become guardians of their possessions. We look after them as if our lives depended on it. No matter your child’s age, at some point you may well have to make this impossibly hard decision: what do…
27 Feb 2022 18 min

10 things I have learned since my child died

The relationship between a mother and her children is among the most intense in life. Much of parenting centers on providing and doing for children, even after they have grown up and left home. A child’s death robs you of the ability to carry out your parenting role as you…
11 Jan 2022 15 min

My journey with grief

The loss of children is a pain all bereaved parents share, and it is a degree of suffering that is impossible to grasp without experiencing it first-hand. An out-of-order death such as child loss breaks a person (especially a parent) in a way that is not fixable or solvable. We…
28 Oct 2021 22 min

Coping with pregnancy loss part 2 - Abortion

The decision to terminate a pregnancy can be complex and may be influenced by many factors, including a woman’s values, beliefs, relationships, work and study goals, financial stability, age, existing family size and cultural background.   It is very common for women to have mixed emotions at the same time…
22 Aug 2021 21 min

Coping with pregnancy loss part 1 - Miscarriage

Miscarriage is common, but that knowledge may be cold comfort if you’re coping with a recent loss. In fact, many women are surprised by the intensity of their emotions after a miscarriage. The feelings can run from shock and sadness to irrational guilt and anxiety about future pregnancies. Men, too,…
22 Aug 2021 29 min

How to support a parent dealing with unsuccessful grief

When someone you love can’t get past their grief, you may feel helpless, confused, and frustrated. Witnessing someone you love experience unsuccessful grief can be deeply troubling. You may feel confused about why they are stuck in their loss and unsure about how to support them when the normal rules…
27 May 2021 13 min

Dealing with unsuccessful grief

Grief reactions after the death of a child are similar to those after other losses. But, they are often more intense and last longer. Most people experiencing normal grief and bereavement have a period of sorrow, numbness, and even guilt and anger. Gradually these feelings ease, and it's possible to…
27 May 2021 14 min

How to deal with the anniversary of the loss of your child

With the first anniversary of your child's death on the horizon, it may be helpful for you to keep in mind that your grief may return with intensity. There are no hard and fast rules regarding grieving, and not everyone will experience intense grief at the anniversary of the death…
5 Mar 2021 16 min

How to survive the festive season as a grieving parent

Christmas is a particularly difficult time for parents dealing with the loss of a child. While grief never fully goes away, there will be times when emotions are much more heightened than others, and when the sense of loss can feel greater. Christmas – the season which celebrates love and…
15 Dec 2020 16 min

Dealing with grief during the first year

There are two distinct time periods after a loss that can help you understand the grieving process. The first is immediately following the death when extended family, friends, and community gather. It is the time period when you are dealing with funerals and memorial services and there is lots of…
13 Nov 2020 29 min

How to support a friend or family member after the loss of their child

After a child dies, those who are left behind may experience depression, biological and neurological changes, and a destabilization of the family and marriage. The best thing that friends and loved ones of bereaved parents can do is be present, available, and supportive. In this episode of Vilomah Jeanne van…
18 Sep 2020 19 min
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