CPN | What is Anticipatory Grief?

What is Anticipatory Grief?

Grief is an emotional, cognitive, physical, and spiritual response to loss. It can include losses other than death. We tend to associate grief with what we expect to experience in the future. But, actually, concerns about loss begin as soon as we recognize the possibility of a loss.

“Anticipatory grief” is the name for these concerns. It is what people experience when they become aware that they will likely face a profound loss. Anticipatory grief means grappling with and grieving the loss before it completely unfolds. For parents of a child with a serious medical condition, feelings of anticipatory grief may arise from the time of diagnosis—or even before there is a diagnosis. The family begins to envision all of the possible losses that may occur. Over time, as milestones occur or do not occur, changes in the child’s condition often prompt new waves of anticipatory grief.


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