I recently published this article on The impact of stillbirth on bereaved parents in PLOSONE. This study amongst parents bereaved following stillbirth identified four main areas that arose for parents following the death of their baby:
- maintaining hope,
- importance of the personhood of the baby,
- protective care and
- relationships (personal and professional).
Sadly, we can not change the reality of death, but we can change how parents and families are cared for during what is a very difficult experience. Parents in this study said that they appreciated clear communication, kindness and empathic care from healthcare professionals. Key moments such as when a diagnosis of intrauterine death or fatal anomaly was made, or the birth/ death of their baby were remembered in vivid detail by parents. Parents experience a bewildering array of emotional distress when birth and death collide and they move from a trajectory of expectation to one of grief.
How we care for and support parents and families following stillbirth is deserves the very best of our humanity, professionalism and skill.
I would be interested in your thoughts...
This study was carried out with colleagues in the Pregnancy Loss Research Group at the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at University College Cork. @pregnancyLossIE