The Experience of Chronic Sorrow among Indonesian Mothers Who have Suffered Recent Perinatal Loss
Keywords:Chronic sorrow, Perinatal loss, Grief, Child loss
Background: Perinatal death results in physical loss of a child as well as symbolic loss (loss of self, hope and self-esteem) experienced by many parents. Loss is often expressed via a grief response that can develop into chronic sorrow. Ineffective coping strategies may increase susceptibility to complications associated with chronic sorrow. These complications can include clinical depression, dysthymic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, attachment disorder, drug dependence, psychosis, and suicidal ideation. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the barriers and facilitators to chronic sorrow particularly among vulnerable populations.
Aim: To explore the experience of chronic sorrow among Indonesian women who have suffered perinatal loss.
Methods: The present qualitative study utilized a descriptive phenomenological approach. Participants included women who experienced chronic sorrow due to perinatal loss within the past seven weeks to three years. Maximum variation sampling was used based on women’s current number of children. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and analyzed using a modified Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen method.
Results: Three key themes emerged from the data: (1) recurrent experiences of grief are common particularly when exposed to certain triggers (memories from pregnancy, mementos); (2) adequate coping strategies and emotional support are needed to help treat grief; and (3) specific characteristics of chronic sorrow are associated with perinatal loss, such as grief that feels diminished and the presence of another child serving as both a cure and a trigger of sorrow.
Conclusion: Chronic sorrow as a result of perinatal loss is experienced repeatedly when mothers face certain triggers. We have identified two characteristics (diminished grief, having another child serve to both cure and trigger sorrow) that are specific to the experience of chronic sorrow compared to that of general grief. It is important to understand the experience of chronic sorrow and how coping strategies and a support system can help grieving mothers to overcome their loss.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Erni Samutri, Widyawati Widyawati, Wenny Artanty Nisman, Joel Gittelsohn, Hamam Hadi, Emma C. Lewis, Lia Endriyani, Sofyan Indrayana, Artha Mevia Ruly Afita (Author)
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