Perinatal Loss: a qualitative study in Northern Ireland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: This paper describes the experiences of women in Northern Ireland who have experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth. Pregnancy loss encompasses several dimensions of loss for women, loss of the future, loss of self-identity, and the loss of anticipated parenthood. The study explored how women emotionally responded to loss and the care they received from medical staff. Burial arrangements for the remains of the baby are also explored. Design: The methodology adopted a narrative approach based upon in-depth interviews with 23 women who attended pregnancy loss self-help groups. Results: The women’s narratives highlight their emotional responses to loss, the medicalization of perinatal grief, and burial arrangements. Women felt that their experience was emotionally negative in that they had been subjected to a rationalising process of medicalization. The primary focus for the women was on the need to recover space for their emotions and seek acceptance and recognition of the validity of their grief. Conclusion: The study demonstrated that the women’s response to being marginalized led them to make sense of their experiences and to create spaces of resistance to medicalization. The way in which women placed emotion at the centre of their narratives is taken to be a powerful indicator that the support they require from professionals should take account of the meanings they have constructed from their experience of loss.
LanguageEnglish
Pages1-19
JournalOMEGA: Journal of Death and Dying
Volume57
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Fingerprint

Northern Ireland
Medicalization
medicalization
Burial
Grief
grief
narrative
funeral
pregnancy
Emotions
experience
emotion
Pregnancy
self-help group
Stillbirth
Self-Help Groups
Medical Staff
parenthood
Spontaneous Abortion
baby

Keywords

  • Medicalization
  • pregnancy loss
  • narrative
  • women’s experiences
  • life-world

Cite this

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title = "Perinatal Loss: a qualitative study in Northern Ireland",
abstract = "Objectives: This paper describes the experiences of women in Northern Ireland who have experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth. Pregnancy loss encompasses several dimensions of loss for women, loss of the future, loss of self-identity, and the loss of anticipated parenthood. The study explored how women emotionally responded to loss and the care they received from medical staff. Burial arrangements for the remains of the baby are also explored. Design: The methodology adopted a narrative approach based upon in-depth interviews with 23 women who attended pregnancy loss self-help groups. Results: The women’s narratives highlight their emotional responses to loss, the medicalization of perinatal grief, and burial arrangements. Women felt that their experience was emotionally negative in that they had been subjected to a rationalising process of medicalization. The primary focus for the women was on the need to recover space for their emotions and seek acceptance and recognition of the validity of their grief. Conclusion: The study demonstrated that the women’s response to being marginalized led them to make sense of their experiences and to create spaces of resistance to medicalization. The way in which women placed emotion at the centre of their narratives is taken to be a powerful indicator that the support they require from professionals should take account of the meanings they have constructed from their experience of loss.",
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Perinatal Loss: a qualitative study in Northern Ireland. / McCreight, Bernadette Susan.

In: OMEGA: Journal of Death and Dying, Vol. 57, No. 1, 2008, p. 1-19.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AB - Objectives: This paper describes the experiences of women in Northern Ireland who have experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth. Pregnancy loss encompasses several dimensions of loss for women, loss of the future, loss of self-identity, and the loss of anticipated parenthood. The study explored how women emotionally responded to loss and the care they received from medical staff. Burial arrangements for the remains of the baby are also explored. Design: The methodology adopted a narrative approach based upon in-depth interviews with 23 women who attended pregnancy loss self-help groups. Results: The women’s narratives highlight their emotional responses to loss, the medicalization of perinatal grief, and burial arrangements. Women felt that their experience was emotionally negative in that they had been subjected to a rationalising process of medicalization. The primary focus for the women was on the need to recover space for their emotions and seek acceptance and recognition of the validity of their grief. Conclusion: The study demonstrated that the women’s response to being marginalized led them to make sense of their experiences and to create spaces of resistance to medicalization. The way in which women placed emotion at the centre of their narratives is taken to be a powerful indicator that the support they require from professionals should take account of the meanings they have constructed from their experience of loss.

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