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Widowed father seeks advice and resource suggestions to help him in raising baby girl and grieving his wife.

"I've recently became a single father due to my wife's death this past January.  I have an 11 month baby girl who was born 7 weeks premature.  Along with raising my daughter, I am going through the grieving process and thankfully I have a strong family on both sides to help me.  Its a challenge beyond comprehension and would like to ask for any advice anyone can give.  Books, seminars, workshops, support groups, etc."

Asked by Rick in commenting on the article, "Fathers Raising Daughters: The Unique Challenges of Single Fatherhood":
http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Fathe...
In Topics: Fatherhood, Single parent families
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Louiseasl
Apr 7, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Dear Rick,

First and foremost let me express my profound sympathies for your loss.  I hope that you are receiving counseling from qualified grief counselor, religious leader or a person who is not a family member. The reason I do not suggest a family member is that they too are grieving alongside with you, just differently.

To help your daughter I would suggest that you may want do the following:

1- Equip yourself with a cadre of people who can reliably watch your daughter and give you time to work through your grief.   You will want to have some normal downtime to engage in regular activities when you are ready.  (And someday you WILL be ready.)

2- Get a few great books to answer general parenting questions.  I recommend books from the series- WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN....
Also, Brenda Nixon has written THE BIRTH TO FIVE BOOK which is another great resource.

3- Keep a journal.  Write your feelings down.  Also, write down your new joys.  Some people find that writing a letter to their child or their deceased partner is an effective way to help through the grieving process. You will help answer future questions for your child too by writing now.

4- Find ways to enjoy time with your child.  Go join others with play dates.  Gymboree or at the local YMCA perhaps?  Give yourself permission to find joy in your day.  And photograph your child during her milestones.  Someday she will want to see photos of when she was a baby, a tot and documenting her life will prove to be helpful to both of you.

5- If you have ANY concerns about your child's development call the local school district and ask for a consult with the Early Intervention Team.  Also, keep your pediatrician in the loop.

Again, my sincere sympathies.  If you wish, please let us know in the months to come how you are doing.

Louise Masin Sattler, NCSP
Nationally Certified School Psychologist
Owner of SigningFamilies.com
Host of Learning and Laughter with Louise

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Additional Answers (3)

beatwiet61
beatwiet61 writes:
Depending on where you live, a number of churches have support groups for grieving parents and give childcare while the parents meet.
I would do an online search, if I were you, in your local area, for support groups or grief counselors.  If you work full time, there are a number of agencies that provide childcare and your little girl could also go to day care.  Let me say, I am very sorry for your loss and hope that you find someone to help you through this.  If she died in a hospital, perhaps Social Services could help you find some local resources.
> 60 days ago

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RCmomof3
RCmomof3 writes:
I am so sorry for your loss. I know how it feels to lose a spouse. I lost mine 2 and a half years ago and it has not been easy raising 3 kids on my own. I would say that you should surround yourself with loved one's who are healthy for your kids to be around. Maybe start to go to a nice community church where you can recieve additional support. Sometimes churches have something called griefshare. If you ever need someone to talk to you can write me anytime. I hope the best for you and your kids.
> 60 days ago

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Evelynmarynuala
Evelynmaryn... writes:
Hello there!
Fist of all, my condolences but I admire your bravery and honesty. I was reared by my father. I was 8 when my mother died. My father was brilliant and I still mourn his passing away. Make sure you have your daughter's school support and talk to them on a regular basis. Talk to your daughter openly about your feelings and how much you miss your wife. I have a very solid and close relationship with my husband thanks to my father being honest and not hiding his hurt. Control your temper with the unfairness of life and be pragmatic - shit happens- but so do good things and we have a great capacity to enjoy them. Extended family are extremely important. Cousins become sisters/brothers- aunts become mothers, especially sisters of your wife. Take all the help you can get, but don't forget to have a laugh. Enjoy the good times! Your daughter will be fine if you are fine. Take it all at a day at a time. Be nice to yourself, be gentle to yourself and love yourself a bit more. I'm sure you are doing a fabulous job. Your daughter will always adore you for what you are doing even through the turbulent teenage years. Good luck and may God bless you always.
Evelyn
> 60 days ago

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