AuthorsAshton, Gail C.
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AbstractThe death of a child is one of the most difficult losses that can have complicated, intense and long-lasting effects upon a bereaved parent. This qualitative heuristic study explored the grief experience of mothers after the death of their children, considering how or whether bereaved mothers' world-view was changed, how they rebuilt 'self whilst adapting to a new and changed life and exploring the importance and value of remaining connected to and continuing the bond with their child. Post-traumatic growth was also explored in addition to any existential, spiritual or life changes that resulted during the mothers' grieving. The experience of the researcher, a bereaved mother and counsellor, remained visible within the research, integrating her own personal and professional experience alongside the participants' stories. Data for analysis included interview transcripts with five bereaved mothers together with rich data such as poetry, narratives and photographs. This data was analysed using an inductive approach and Moustakas's (1990) heuristic process of data analysis. The constant comparative method informed this process. The findings not only highlighted the intensity and lifelong process of grief following the death of a child, but also significant changes in world-view, perspective on life and personal values, alongside personal growth and a changed view and altered level of understanding and valuing of people. Significant changes in self and attitudes were described such as a new enthusiasm for living, pride in self, contentment, strength, confidence and a new sense of enrichment, joy and pleasure, alongside the continuing pain of loss and an ongoing relationship with the child. The ways in which child death can be experienced and what can enable bereaved mothers to reconnect and rebuild their lives after such a devastating loss was additionally highlighted. The implications and findings of this study are discussed and potential further areas of study indicated.
TypeThesis or dissertation
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