Mothers’ Continuing Bond With the Baby: The Case of Feticide

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Abstract

The nature of the ongoing bond maintained by the bereaved with the deceased has attracted considerable attention, but studies have generally ignored postdeath relationships when loss occurs in utero. The goal of this research was to reach an interpretive understanding of the continuing bond experience among Israeli mothers who underwent feticide, examining the strategies they use in maintaining a postdeath relationship with a child they did not know, whose death they chose and witnessed, within a social context that ignores their loss and forces them to silence their grief. The results highlight two themes: (a) strategies for relinquishing connection with the baby and (b) strategies for maintaining a postdeath relationship. These processes partially correspond with two theoretical views that shed light on interpretation of the results: the dual process of coping with bereavement and relational dialectic theory. Implications of the results to the practice of health providers are outlined.

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