Exploring the Meaning of the Paternal Experience of Perinatal Loss: A Phenomenological Study
AuthorCholette, Meghan Elizabeth
AdvisorBadger, Terry A.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of the paternal experience of perinatal loss. Perinatal loss is a significant life experience for childbearing families and this study helped to reveal the meaning of the paternal experience, how meaning was constructed and what factors both contributed and/or hindered coping following the loss. Although extensive research in grief and loss has been conducted there existed a significant knowledge gap related to the experience of perinatal loss and even more of a paucity concerning the understanding of the paternal experience. A qualitative study with a phenomenological approach was conducted with a purposeful sample of seven fathers who had experienced a perinatal loss. These fathers helped provide a basis for understanding through partaking in interviews conducted in a venue chosen by fathers. Data analysis involved procedures with roots in Heideggerian traditions of phenomenology, to allow for meaning interpretation of the father's narratives. The analysis resulted in four shared meanings 1) Perinatal Loss - Unexpected Reality, 2) Acknowledgment and Remembrance, 3) Significance and Strength and 4) Crisis, which consisted of 12 themes (World Falling Apart, Absolute Shock, Stoicism, Wishing for Answers, Silent Shelter, Concern for Wife, Communication, Time Heals - Though Never Forgotten, Continued Support and Understanding, Life Changing Moment, Opportunity of Growth and Avoidable Choice). Results indicated that fathers felt ill prepared for this unexpected life event and that they needed to remain strong or to live up to perceived expectations. Although the loss was never forgotten, through reflection, communication and continued support and understanding healing transpired over time and crisis was an avoidable choice. Further exploration of the paternal experience of perinatal loss with varying socio-cultural backgrounds, younger aged population group as well as different religious and cultural backgrounds is recommended. Research is also indicated to explore: 1) educational interventions focusing on both short and long term supportive care to bereaved families, 2) the impact of substantive bereavement programs on healing and meaning-making, 3) the impact of a perinatal loss experience on other members of the family unit, and 4) the impact of recurrent perinatal loss to a family.
Degree ProgramGraduate College