• Charlotte Engberg Conrad
4. term, Psychology, Master (Master Programme)
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to investigate the long-term consequences of parental bereavement following perinatal loss. The study specifically focuses on the nature of the relationship with the dead child through the passing of time. Are the emotional bonds changing or enduring? Another focus is how the loss and grief have affected the narrative self-identity.Theory: The theoretical description evolves around three chapters. The first chapter situates the understanding of grief in a historical context, describing the classical psychological theories of grief and their development. The second chapter describes different contemporary theories of grief to illuminate the subject of the study: Margaret S. Stroebe and Henk Schuts dual-process model of grief, Thomas Attigs relearning of self-identity, Robert A. Neimeyer, Michael R. Dennis and Dennis Klass theory of retelling of self through grief, Mario Mikulincer & Philip Shaver Adult Attachment Theory, Dennis Klass theory of Continuing Bonds. The theories demonstrate a movement from intrapersonal to an interpersonal understanding of grief, and from a resolution of the emotional bonds to the dead to a continued bonds theory. The last chapter describes the development of socially and relationally situated perinatal grief and how perinatal grief is considered a disenfranchised grief. Design: The philosophy of science is hermeneutic phenology investigating the lifeworlds of bereaved parents and hermeneutic interpretation through a fusion of horizons. The methodology is qualitative semi-structured interview supplemented by autoethnographic elements since the author has a background in midwifery and seeks to further enlighten the phenomena through own experience. The informants are recruited among perinatally bereaved parents. Four interviews are performed, three with the bereaved mothers and one with both parents participating. The interviews are transcribed. Ethical considerations are made to protect the an- onymity of the informants and doing research among bereaved individuals. Analysis: The analysis begins with a holistic reading of each of the four interviews and the expression of the meaning or main significance of the text as a whole, in one single sentence. The second part of the analysis is done through a detailed reading to seek and find what the sentences and cluster of sentences reveal about the phe- nomenon. This part of the analysis is clustered and presented in the following main themes: Consequence of the process of grief, the effect of grief on self- identity and the relation with the dead child.DiscussionThe theories are discussed through narratives of the bereaved parents. The self is relearned through retelling the life narrative and creating meaning through past, presence, and future. The resilience of the parents is individual and their self- identity before the loss has an impact on how their story emerges. Aspects of the social, relational and cultural understanding of grief are discussed.Conclusion: The main contributions of the study are: The loss and grief have a substantial im- pact on the self-identity of perinatally bereaved parents. The dual-process model and adult attachment theory are reasonable theoretical frameworks to demon- strate the process of grief, however, they do not fully cover how behaviour can be both restoration oriented and loss oriented at the same time. There seems to be a development in the social and cultural understanding of perinatal grief to be acknowledged and less disenfranchised. The continuing bonds to the dead child are for some of the parents consistent and for others diminishing. While some of the parents have experienced elements of posttraumatic growth following the loss, others have suffered from mental disorders or vulnerability. And it is possi- ble to experience both.
Publication date29 May 2018
Number of pages80
ID: 280066562