Title

In a mother's eyes a glimpse into the lived experiences of mothers who lost their first-born child

Date of Completion

2006

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Keywords

Infant Death, Mother-Child Relations, Parent-Child Relations, Family Relations

Abstract

The study used a qualitative research design. Five (5) mothers from selected parts of Luzon were selected as participants through purposive sampling technique. Data was obtained through tape-recorded interviews and observation of non-verbal expressions with the permission of the participants who signed written consents. Colaizzi’s phenomenological methodology was applied in analyzing the data. The study concluded that, the death of the child was one of the most devastating experiences that the mothers went through, regardless of age or circumstance. When their child died, the mother's heart was extremely wounded. The participants felt devastation, emptiness, extreme loneliness, disappointment, confusion, and anger at the occurrence of loss because some of them enthusiastically anticipated the coming of their first-born child. They eagerly built their dreams around them. They were very much attached with their child. After the loss, their dreams were shattered into pieces. All of their memories, recollections, voices, gestures, laughter and spirit were replaced with ambivalent emotions followed by silent stillness. Time seemed to stop for the mothers after the loss, as if a door slammed shut for them during the first few weeks, months or even years after the death of their first-born child. The finality of the vent was initially incomprehensible, but as the demands of life impinged and they were engaging again in the everyday march of time, the loss experienced "sank in" for some of them. Some began to discover the breadth and depth of their deprivation. There was a grief process that all of the mothers went through but no two (2) people react to death of a loved one in exactly the same manner. The impact of their first-born child's death was highly individualized. There was no definite time frame or order of steps for the process of grieving for the mothers. The grieving process experienced was a complex cycle of emotions. The pain felt upon the loss of a first-born child took time to heal. Some of the mothers were still in the process of healing because dealing with the loss of a first-born child and accepting the loss immediately were difficult for most of the participants. Majority took quite some time to grasp the reality of the loss and search for the meaning of the experience. This experience was considered as one of the difficult moments in a mother's life journey. Dealing with the death of a child could be described as rocky mountain roads that the mothers had to cross. But they were unsafe if they have the enduring strength to climb up and over. Each mother’s experience of loss had subtle nuances that made it unlike any other loss, but their grief responses with the intense feelings of loss, anger, depression, loneliness, fear, frustration, desperation were common to them. Though the impact of loss is different when it is a first-born child, not one of them claimed that the pain would be lesser if the death will be of the subsequent child. The grieving parents need human interaction. They need someone to talk to, someone who will listen, and someone who will understand and accept them as they struggle to cope with the death of their child. Beyond these painful experiences of loss, they were able to express that there is still life after loss and that they were able to move on.

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