Complicated Grief From ‘Motherhood, Interrupted


This is the first of a series of shows on complicated grief.

The ENCARTA WORLD ENGLISH DICTIONARY defines grief as “great sadness, especially as the result of a death” or “the cause of intense, deep and profound sorrow, especially a specific event or situation”.

From my perspective, grief can be existential, or experiential, or an exquisitely painful mixture of the two.

When our grief is existential, we feel deep, profound sorrow at who we are; at how we failed to evolve; at the choices we made — or the choices we failed to make; and at our resulting life circumstances. It is grief for our beginnings, for our choices along our life’s path, for opportunities not taken, for talents and gifts and years we feel were ‘wasted’.

When our grief is experiential, it emanates from an important loss: which could be the death of a beloved person, or animal; the loss of an important friendship; grave financial, social or professional losses; loss of social standing; loss of our health and/or functionality; loss of beauty, and youth; loss of our home or prized possessions; and even loss of ‘the way things used to be’.

When existential grief meets experiential grief, a woman is swamped with overwhelming emotional, mental and Spiritual pain. Her entire existence is caught up in a vortex of traumatic feelings, thoughts, and memories.

Accompanying grief of any origin, more often than not, of course, is depression.

When our grief does not resolve within a reasonable period of time, when grief so ‘commands and controls’ us that our lives are far from functioning optimally, we are suffering what psychologists term Complicated Grief.

Today we explore complicated Grief From “Motherhood, Interrupted”, grief that can persist long after an abortion. As women’s grief counselor Jane Brennan shares, a woman can experience years of complicated grief following abortion.

Jane Brennan has a private counseling practice dedicated to helping women and men overcome the grief and trauma of loss from abortion and associated pregnancy problems such as miscarriage and infertility.