bereavement counsellor -feel very uncomfortable

(24 Posts)
poppy34 Tue 22-May-07 20:37:09

I lost my baby a few weeks ago at 21 weeks as decided to terminate given the zero prognosis of baby living even if did get to term.

One of the things I"m open to in coping with all this is going to a bereavement counsellor. I've been given a number of places where I can find one -including someone who was recommmended by a friend I trust.

She has just phoned me (caught me at very low moment as just had a bit of a fraught conversation with my DSS) and basically instead of having a conversation about who she was and what she does found myself being agreeing to go to see her on friday (I'm not sure I want to see her in particular and I'm not sure if I want to see anyone quite yet).

I"m not completely naive as have been to various counsellors before and know that you need to understand a little abotu them/their methods so you can feel comfortable.

Is it the grief talking or AIBU to feel that I've been bounced into an appointment (this woman is private - I don't mind paying but I just feel very uncomfortable about all this). Is this usual and am I being silly to canecl this apponimtnent until I either find a bit more out abotu her or feel bit more like talking?

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lulumama Tue 22-May-07 20:42:05


i am sorry you have lost your baby

FWIW, if you are not comfortable with this woman, you will not be able to open up and get the best from the time with her
can you call her back and chat at a less fraught time, and sound her out a bit more?

LilyLoo Tue 22-May-07 20:44:24

sorry Poppy.
I would call back and tell her it's not right for you now but when you are ready to talk you will book another apt with her.

poppy34 Tue 22-May-07 20:48:03

Thanks - that is what I was goign to do but just wondered given the circumstances that I might always feel a bit odd about talking to someone .

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LilyLoo Tue 22-May-07 20:49:18

Then you have to do what's right for you. Everyone grieves differently and maybe the counsellor route isn't for you. I would only do what you feel comfortable with.

poppy34 Tue 22-May-07 21:31:51

I would quite like to see a counsellor as feel that it would be an opportunity to talk about it - dh gets qutie upset and don't really feel (outside of mn) that I can talk to anyone else easily about this.

whether it was timing/tone of conversation felt really uncomfortable with this counseller right now. tbh my head feels a mess anyway as I'm half angry/half tearful this evening.

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LilyLoo Wed 23-May-07 09:01:13

Hope you feeling a bit better today Poppy. Maybe it was just the timing then you might feel like seeing her on Friday then ?

poppy34 Wed 23-May-07 11:56:38

thanks lily -feeling little better today and did call her back and think I will go and see her on friday - I've got to talk to someone and she does seem particularly expert in this area which is something because having had varous well meaning people including the midwife who came to check on me who clearly havent seen much of this before , it makes you feel worse as you can see that they don't know what to say.

Nice sunny day today which is always good

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Taichimum Wed 23-May-07 13:37:29

poppy34 I have just had six sessions of counselling after my second miscarriage in a row. I have been seeing a psychotherapist for short term bereavement counselling. When I first went to her I was overcome with grief and thought I was having a breakdown. I could bearly speak in the first session because I was crying so much. However whilst i found the early sessions traumatic the result was really positive.
I am having my last session next week and I have made a complete turnaround during the time I have been seeing her. It is not all down to seeing her, but I know a large part of it is.
There are so many confused and upsetting feelings for a woman who has been what you have been through and it is somewhere (perhaps the only place) you could express these without feeling you are upsetting anyone else. I certainly found that my dh and I could barely talk about it at the time but I could talk to her no problem once I got going.
The counselling relationship is a relationship like any other. She has to be the right person for you to enter into the counselling experience with, so my advice would be to meet her and then decide. As you have had counselling before I am sure you will know after the first session whether she is the right person for you. You can never see her again if it is not right, or even leave at any time if you feel it is not going well.
I would also ask her about her background and what type of therapy she practices.
Good luck. I hope you can find some peace in your heart.

poppy34 Wed 23-May-07 14:55:17

Taichi- thanks for the post. Its heartening to find you found your counselling helpful - I've had mixed experience with counselling in the past - I've found it hugely helpful for some things and not much use for others .

I've had another call with the original counsellor who rang last night and asked hera little mroe about her background -basically she has quite a few years of experience in dealing with pregnancy related bereavement as is tied to the clinic where issues with the baby were diagnosed. So that

I've also got an app

I think you're right that I need an outlet somewhere - although I do talk to dh and others sometimes you do need somewhere safe to let it all out if you see what I mean. And can completely empathise with feeling like having a breakdown - I was sitting on the floor crying last night and couldnt think straight and had no energy to move. I really don't want to be like that - I know everyone says that its natural you feel pain etc as a bad thing has happeend but when they say that I am not sure that they realise quite how bad you feel when you are in that place.

I am hoping that by finding someone I'm comfortable talking this thorugh with that it'll help ease that tension a little (I'm sure some of my feelings yesterday was cos I'd been to see a friend who was upset over pet dieing and was confidng in me how she and her dp were trying for a baby - although I'm pleased for them part of me thinks I am not sure I can handle it if she gets pregnant and I'm left feeling like this or enduring more issues with pregnancy - can't even bring myself to think about what if the test results show something wrong.

sorry sounding really rambly... will go and make myself some tea and pull myself together.

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lizyjane Wed 23-May-07 22:37:15

Hi Poppy

I found other people and their pregnancies impossible to take as well. You are definitely not alone in that, for me it was the hardest thing.

When do you hear from the hospital about your test results?

I didn't see a counsellor, but in many ways I wish that I had done. I think that an outside person enables you to be totally honest about your negative feelings, I found myself protecting my family from how bad I really felt. I didn't want to upset them and cause them any more worry.


Flumpytigger Thu 24-May-07 11:41:58

Hi Poppy,

I can relate to all of those feelings. Some days you feel ok and some days are just so overwhelming. I lost my little boy Harry in very similar circumstances on 7th Feb this year and I am still trying to come to terms with it.

It has got easier and it is something that you learn to live with. Someone said to me that in time you learn to carry your loved one in your heart instead of on your shoulders and this is so true.

I think the hardest thing for me is my sister was pregnant at the exact same time and she has had a healthy little boy in April. I now have this constant reminder of what should have been for me and DH and I am really struggling.
Also Lizyjane, it's like you say, you feel like you have to protect your family from how you're really feeling. It's like everyone has moved on and I can't handle that, it's too soon for me.

I am also considering going to see a counseller but I am a little nervous because I really didn't feel comfortable with the bereavement midwife and I'm worried that I won't be able to open up.

Anyway sorry for hijacking your thread huny, I just wanted you to know that you are not alone..

Like you say it's probably best to try this counseller and then if you're still not comfortable after the first session try someone else until you are?


poppy34 Thu 24-May-07 16:58:58

No flumpy -you're not hijacking as with this kind of thing we've got to look out for each other [big hugs for you].

I actually found bereavement counseller quite good as she just sat and listened - also explained fact that I feel all over the place and angry/sad/frustrated about many things (not just the baby) was qutie normal as that is what grief is like (she described it as a big wave that hits you and completely wipes you out then recedes but over time you get better at dealing with them).

Lizy is right too - I was feeling a real mess yestrday (and still am- current obsession is to cling on to various things that are wrong with me hence why this happened to the baby) and tried to explain it to dh who has completely different approach to things. At first I got qutie upset as found it very isolating that he didnt seem to undertand but we did manage to talk it through.

One of hardest things for me pesronally is not having any children (my dh has 2 skids so his view is differernt although I would not say his loss is any less) and my grief is very much mixed up with the torturing feeling that will not be able to have kids. And find this very hard (even feel guilty being on mn as by rights I'm not really a mother).
Seeing the other one tomorrow who is more a specialist bereavement one -wondering whehter she'll help as part of my recovery (I really loved flumpy's analogy of carrying the pain in your heart not shoulders) is learning to face life as it is (ie it may not include kids) rahter than building my recovery round the future adn what ifs (if that makes sense).

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lizyjane Thu 24-May-07 21:12:12


I can relate to your fear about remaining childless, I was frantic about that after I lost my baby. It was a very scary time, especially as I had had a miscarriage previously. People also used to say things like "Don't worry, of course you will have a baby". This used to drive me insane, as only someone who had not been through what I had could possibly be so relaxed about it. This feeling wore off after a while, and I became much more relaxed and positive. It surprised me just how angry I felt at the time. I seemed to walk around in a state of surpressed rage for the first few weeks. Anger is very tiring. So is grief and anxiety.

Flumpy, I can't imagine how hard it must be to be around your sister's baby . I just want to say to you both to hang on in there - it will get better. xxx

poppy34 Thu 31-May-07 22:19:17

just to update (And sorry really long post!!) - I've now had 2 sessions with the counsellor mentioned and am still a little confused on this. Well actually I say confused I think I know that I'm not entirely comfortable with this woman but wanted to check if I was being unreasoanable with anyone who has had similar experience and just typing it out helps!

Whilst I'm not uncomfortable about what counselling is for (I've had it berfore and know its not a prop and its dealing with all the various issues in my pscyhe re baby/pregnancy/life etc that this has brought up), there are a few things that make me feel uncomfortable about this:

I am not actually quite clear if this woman knows/cares exactly what happened to me (she is specialsit in this) -whilst I don't want to go on this I am not entirely clear in my own mind if she appreciates when this all happened (ie I;m still fairly raw) or that there are background issues (eg precious m/c, fact that I felt very unsupported and scared thorugh all my pregnancies).

this woman's manner is qutie brusque (see OP) -although I got over this I do feel she can be a bit abrupt. In particular she seized on something about fact I tended to agree with everyone she says (not exactly helped by her direct manner and way of talking)- this is something I tend to do (esp when stressed for various reasons) but you would think that maybe this woman would appreciate if she is a counsellor that I maybe revert to this style more than most when stressed etc.

She keeps saying I sound like a little child/childish -whilst I can understand she may be making a point about how some of the emtions when you;re grieving take you back as it were, I actually find it irritating patronising and upsetting when she says that. And again I don't feel

Firstly although it was explained to me that we do 3 initial sessions and then see how we go I was slightly taken aback that I'd still have to pay for weekly sessions if I go on holiday (only excuse being if I'd prebooked the holiday). Also she mentioned again yetserday that we'd review how things going next week at 3rd session. Ok this is what I' was agreed but I actually felt that unlike other counselling sessions this is not something where she shoudl be "rejecting " me if I need help (although typoing this out I am sitting here thinking how much help I'm getting) esp after my initial reservatios about this (where basically was persuaded against my gut instinct)

she has seized on one thing that I said re my early childhood which I do agree has shaped me/my feeeligs but I'm not convinced that it has to the degrees she thinks - it is now brought up all the time when discussions. Now I'm not naive and am open to a different view but my sense is that htis issue is being brought up to the exclusion of other things that I think are equally relevant.

I guess I'm kind of disappointed as this woman is meant to be a specialist in this area and therefore I was really hoping for some more insight/help (not a fix as I am not daft enough to think any counsellor can take it all away) rather than a feeling that somehow I'm being not quite listened to etc and not comfortable (I don't think your realationship with your counsellor should be unchallenging but that is different to being uncomforatble)

sorry for rambling post - just typing it out helps. I think where I'm coming to is that depending on next week sessions, that maybe desptie the specialism she has she may not be the right person for me.

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LondonBird Thu 31-May-07 22:43:46

Hey Poppy

For what it's worth I was referred after I lost my baby, and I lasted 2 sessions and then cancelled the 3rd when I realised that I actually wasn't getting a great deal from them. They were 4 weeks apart though, so perhaps a bit different. It sounds to me as though your instinct is telling you this isn't right, but your rational side is telling you to hang in there because you know you need the support iyswim

My guy also got quite hung up on my rather disfunctional childhood, plus all sorts of general behaviour theories, and all I really wanted to talk about was how I would feel if I couldn't get pregnant again

my sense from the beginning of the thread is that you've never been entirely convinced aboutt her, and whilst counselling would be great, it's just this woman that maybe isn't right - in short I don't think you're being unreasonable at all

What would you do if you didn't see her again, would that be v scary? Would you replace her?

poppy34 Thu 31-May-07 22:48:49

thanks londonbird - sounds like you had same experienc as me - what I wanted to explore was what does it mean if can' get pregnant and how do I cope with it if I do..

FWIW I have actually found another bereavement person who is much easier to talk to and has allowed me to focus on these areas.

so think I've got my answer...just got to make sure I don't get talked into any more sessions cos I'm apt to be a bit soft (or agree with everyone as she rightly points out)

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LondonBird Thu 31-May-07 22:56:48

hhmmm, maybe I need to get myself organised with somebody nice to talk to - I'm not sure that walking around at work with 'bereft, bereft, bereft' going round inside my head is that healthy

how did you find your good person?

poppy34 Fri 01-Jun-07 21:04:54

have emailed you some more info londonbird - found her via work helpline so sort of incidental.

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Taichimum Wed 06-Jun-07 14:34:22

I too found mine via work helpline.
Poppy from what you have described, it is just my opinion but it does not sound to me like a very theraputic environment for you. Perhaps the two of you are not that well matched and you could find someone else better for you.
She should have invited you to say all you needed to about what has happened and your background at the beginning. I asked mine how much she new and she said she new the basics but asked me to tell her the whole story.
I spent the whole of the first session (an hour) just setting the scene.
In my view you need someone to acknowledge your pain and and show you a bit of sympathy, not tell you you are being childlike. I agree that counselling should not be unchallenging, but I think you have to build up to that after a bit of trust has been established.
My counsellor also went back to my childhood . I think they all do and they are probably right to do so. However the extent to which they do that and how they do it varies enormously according to the type of therapy they are trained in. A different therapist may do this in a way that gives you insight without making you feel uncomfortable.

My therapist made me feel comforted, understood and validated. She made me feel better about myself as a person and never made me feel uncomfortable. She also helped me work in specific areas of my life and how to tackle them. I followed through on each thing and found the insight she gave me in these areas very helpful and constructive and did effect change for the better. I felt she did challenge me in the way that she made me think about how I perceived the world, other people and events and myself but always in a subtle and positive way. When I finshed my sessions last week she said she had really enjoyed working with me and I really believed her. I would not go as far as to say there was a genuine bond there, after all she was being paid to listen to me, but there was certainly warmth and sincerity between us.

I am describing my experience just in case it helps you make a decision about your own situation. Good luck with this and I hope you get some benefit either with this counsellor of another.

Taichimum Wed 06-Jun-07 14:36:15

Just noticed you have said you have found another counsellor! Ooops did not need to write that message oh well

hazygirl Wed 06-Jun-07 14:47:47

i tried councelling when my grandson died i had one session and i found her good but i dont drive and i hated relying on my hubby for lift and then sit and wait for an hour if i could drive i would still be there.

poppy34 Wed 06-Jun-07 21:41:04

thanks hazygirl and taichimum.

Had better sessions now and can see the value so will stick with it.

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hazygirl Thu 07-Jun-07 15:04:07

good luck and thinking of you x

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