The Institute of Reproductive Grief Care is at the forefront of creating impartial and impactful research to understand the way individuals process reproductive losses, and to establish global standards for offering compassionate care. Contact us for more information on the Institute’s research.
The experience of parenting a premature or ill infant in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) can be overwhelming and traumatic. Parents who have previously endured a reproductive loss may find that an accumulation of escalating distress related to nurturing a neonate while receiving care in intensive care compounded with lingering grief from a prior perinatal loss can overwhelm their capability to cope. The ambiguous nature of perinatal loss and societal disenfranchisement of the grief often results in a prolonged or complicated bereavement trajectory which can inhibit bonding, mental health, and physical wellness. The frequent contact and perinatal conversations between parents and clinicians provide opportunities for essential discussions about emotional vigor, grief, and bereavement. A review of the literature and current research found that initiating conversations and care modalities that facilitate Worden’s “tasks of grieving” can foster a necessary healing pattern for bereaved
parents. These efforts will theoretically nurture parent–child bonding and promote desirable neonatal outcomes.
Keywords: Bereavement, Fetal demise, Miscarriage, Neonatal intensive care unit, Perinatal loss, Reproductive grief, Stillbirth
Promoting a healing trajectory: Providing reproductive bereavement care for the sexually exploited, June 2022 The Institute’s presentation at the 24th Nursing Network on Violence Against Women International (NNVAWI) Conference Proceedings
Roughly ninety per cent of exploited or enslaved individuals are trafficked into the sex industry, increasing the risk for unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and pelvic inflammatory infections which can increase risk for pregnancy loss and infertility. Incomplete miscarriages and abortions are common reasons for sexually exploited victims to seek healthcare. Even in situations where sexual exploitation is absent, reproductive grief reactions in comparison to traditional types of mourning experiences like the death of a parent or a sibling have been associated with an increased incidence of maladaptive biopsychosocial reactions. The bereaved often report a lack of emotional validation and minimization of reproductive grief by the healthcare providers they encountered during or shortly after the loss. Those captivated in sexually exploitative situations are typically unacknowledged both as a group and individually and are even more vulnerable to a doubly disenfranchised reproductive grief trajectory. Research indicates that if these persons have their grief acknowledged, enfranchised, and are provided with follow-up strategies they can begin to make sense of their losses and begin healing from the pain. Through compassion and empathy, the negative impact of disenfranchised grief related to reproductive losses for those victimized by sexual exploitation can be mitigated one person at a time.
Uncovering Prolonged Grief Reactions Subsequent to a Reproductive Loss: Implications for the Primary Care Provider May 2022 Research that exposes years of silent grief and suffering after pregnancy loss.
The study examines how the emotional impact of pregnancy loss can be felt for years or decades after the loss, especially in cases where grief is disenfranchised, marginalized or unresolved. The study analyzes 164 stories posted anonymously on our healing websites MiscarriageHurts.com and AbortionChangesYou.com over a six-month period between November 2019 and May 2020. The stories were reviewed for details regarding the time span between the pregnancy loss and the composition of the blog post, and then analyzed for subsequent relationship problems and detrimental mental health conditions. Additional information on this research is available in our press release, and also at its “Research Reveals,” online event, where we discuss this study in detail with its four leading researchers. This study is valuable for anyone with an interest in better understanding the prolonged, emotional impact of pregnancy loss – grief reactions that weren’t even acknowledged until the 1970s.
Our team spent months gathering the latest and most impactful research on preventing burnout, exhaustion, and compassion fatigue, especially as it affects perinatal and palliative healthcare, to create this study that analyzes this body of work. Fostering Vicarious Resilience for Perinatal Palliative Care Professionals is vital for any caregiver, supervisor, or healthcare professional concerned with burnout, exhaustion, and compassion fatigue. It offers the critical insights needed to combat and prevent these issues from impacting patient care. Additional information on this research is available at its “Research Reveals,” online event, where we discuss this study in detail with its four leading researchers.
Reproductive grief care: Giving permission to grieve, Information on Reproductive Grief Care as presented in the Sigma Repository, which shares research and work created by nurses globally.