Parenting paradox: parenting after infant loss

Warland, Jane, O’Leary, Joann, McCutcheon, Helen and Williamson, Victoria (2011) Parenting paradox: parenting after infant loss. Midwifery, 27 5: e163-e169. doi:10.1016/j.midw.2010.02.004

Author Warland, Jane
O’Leary, Joann
McCutcheon, Helen
Williamson, Victoria
Title Parenting paradox: parenting after infant loss
Journal name Midwifery   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0266-6138
Publication date 2011-10
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.midw.2010.02.004
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 27
Issue 5
Start page e163
End page e169
Total pages 7
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Churchill Livingstone
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective: to gain an in-depth understanding of the parenting experiences of bereaved parents in the years following an infant death.

Design: an exploratory qualitative study.

Setting: semi-structured interview in the participants’ homes. Data were collected over a five-month period in 2008 and analysed using thematic analysis.

Participants: a purposive sample of 13 bereaved parents (10 mothers and three fathers) was used. Parents who had accessed the support services offered by two bereavement support agencies were recruited. Participants were asked to describe their experiences of raising their subsequent child. Interviews were conducted when the next born child was at least three years of age.

Findings: the parents described a ‘paradoxical’ parenting style where they were trying to parent using two diametrically opposed unsustainable options. For example, they described trying to hold their subsequent child emotionally close but aloof at the same time.

Key conclusions and implications for practice: the results from this study indicate that the impact of a loss of an infant has far-reaching consequences on subsequent parenting. Support and early intervention at the time of the stillbirth and subsequent pregnancy are likely to be useful. However, further research is required to determine the extent to which early intervention can alter the tendency towards bereaved parents adopting a paradoxical parenting style. The impact of this style on mental health and the emotional health and well-being of the next born child/ren after perinatal loss should also be further examined.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 12 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 17 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 11 Nov 2015, 14:08:17 EST by Vicki Percival on behalf of School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work