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Maternal Bereavement: Mothers’ Lived Experience of Losing a Newborn Infant in Jordan

Abdel Razeq, Nadin M. PhD, RN; Al-Gamal, Ekhlas PhD, MSc, BSc, RN

Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing: April 2018 - Volume 20 - Issue 2 - p 137–145
doi: 10.1097/NJH.0000000000000417
Feature Articles

The death of a newborn infant is one of the most devastating situations a mother could experience. The aim of this study was to understand bereavement and its associated meanings as lived and experienced by the mothers who lost their newborn infants in the intensive care units of hospitals in Jordan. Data were generated using semistructured face-to-face interviews with 12 mothers who had the experience. A qualitative phenomenological approach was used for data analysis. Three main themes emerged from the analysis: (1) longing and grieving, as natural emotional responses to the loss; (2) adaptive work of coping, as the mothers internalized meanings to cope with their loss; and (3) moving forward but with a scar, as the mothers moved on with their lives while they carried the unforgettable memories of the newborns’ death experience. Bereavement support services should be considered vitally important as soon as the news of a newborn’s death is delivered to the mother. Palliative care nurses and other health care providers should give careful attention to the meanings that the mothers attached to the loss and support each bereaved mother’s spiritual values and effective coping mechanisms.

Nadin M. Abdel Razeq, PhD, RN, is assistant professor, NIDCAP Professional, Department of Mother and Child Health Nursing, School of Nursing, The University of Jordan, Amman.

Ekhlas Al-Gamal, PhD, MSc, BSc, RN, is associate professor, Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, School of Nursing, The University of Jordan, Amman, and associate professor, Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, College of Nursing, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Ministry of National Guard—Health Affairs, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The study was designed and carried out by N.M.A.R. and E.A. Both authors contributed to the final version of the article.

Funding from the Deanship of Academic Research and Quality Assurance at The University of Jordan has been received to support this study.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Address correspondence to Nadin M. Abdel Razeq, PhD, RN, NIDCAP Professional, Department of Mother and Child Health Nursing, School of Nursing, The University of Jordan, Queen Rania Street, 11942 Amman, Jordan (nmians@yahoo.com; n.abdelrazeq@ju.edu.jo).

© 2018 by The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.