The Meaning of Grief after Perinatal Loss to Nigerian Women
Egesi, Laeticia N
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University of Washington Abstract The Meaning of Grief after Perinatal Loss to Nigerian Women Laeticia N. Egesi Chair of the Supervisory Committee: Professor Ira Kantrowitz-Gordon Department of Family & Child Nursing Perinatal loss can be a devastating event in the lives of families all over the world. In all cultures it is recognized as a traumatic life event to women and their families. In its broadest definition, perinatal loss is a loss of pregnancy or a baby from conception to six weeks post-delivery. This includes miscarriage, intrauterine fetal death (IUFD), stillbirth, and neonatal death. Grief due to perinatal loss has been widely addressed in the literature from western cultural perspectives. Little research has been done to explore the grief of women from other cultures based on their personal perspectives and experiences. This study explored the meaning of grief after perinatal loss through narrative analysis of semi-structured qualitative interviews of 21 Nigerian women from the Igbo in Eastern Nigeria. The narratives of participants included common features such as foreshadowing or precipitating events prior to the loss, grief experienced as physical pain, and moving out of grief after acknowledging the master narrative that God is in control. Participants highlighted the importance of cultural protective practices such as faith in God, community support, and storytelling as a form of consolation. These findings support the use of the multicultural model of coping as a framework for understanding perinatal loss in an African context. The study findings suggest the importance of cultural considerations in the care of women from Nigeria and maybe other African cultures after perinatal loss. Research is needed to this study of grief after perinatal loss in different ethnic groups in Nigeria and across Africa to understand common experiences and unique cultural differences. This will enable effective nursing care of women and families after perinatal loss that accounts for their individual and culturally determined experiences.
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