Attachment theory concerns the propensity to form strong emotional bonds with particular individuals, or with regard to children, their main caregiver. This is an innate characteristic present in infancy and continuing throughout adolescence, adulthood and into old age (Bowlby, 1973, 1982).
The attachment system is activated in adversity or when an individual is distressed or ill, when there is the urge to seek comfort and support from the primary attachment figure or caregiver. However when the individual feels secure and not distressed there is the urge to explore the environment, to play, work and travel.
A secure base is seen to be crucial for optimal functioning and mental health; however for some individuals an insecure base may have been the reason for distress.
Loss of an attachment figure or loved one is traumatic and tragic; this loss can be even more complex when it activates unresolved painful memories of earlier relational trauma and loss.
The process of grieving and bereavement can be long and painful; the process can include such feelings as:
Denial: of the experience of loss.
Anger: wanting something to change.
Bargaining: an attempt to change this situation to avoid the pain of acceptance.
Despair: a painful experience, entering into a place where depression can accompany the working through and morning of a loss.
Acceptance: where the energy that was tied up in this stuck grieving is finally freed up for use elsewhere.
Therapy offers a space where you can begin to mourn and come to terms with your loss. Perinatal support and therapy offers a space to explore intergenerational patterns of coping, and gain support in caring for your infant with a knowledge of your own past and why you may have felt depressed, anxious or alone.