BACKGROUND: Grief is a normal phenomenon but showing great variation depending on cultural and personal features. Bonanno and Kaltman have nonetheless proposed five aspects of normal grief. The aim of this study was to investigate if women with miscarriage experience normal grief.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Content analyses of 25 transcribed conversations with women 4 weeks after their early miscarriages were classified depending on the meaning-bearing units according to Bonanno and Kaltman's categories. In the factor analyses, these categories were compared with the Perinatal Grief Scale and women's age, number of children and number of miscarriages, and gestational weeks.
RESULTS: Women with miscarriage fulfill the criteria for having normal grief according to Bonanno and Kaltman. All of the 25 women had meaning-bearing units that were classified as cognitive disorganization, dysphoria, and health deficits, whereas disrupted social and occupational functioning and positive aspects of bereavement were represented in 22 of 25 women. From the factor analysis, there are no differences in the expression of the intensity of the grief, irrespective of whether or not the women were primiparous, younger, or had suffered a first miscarriage.
CONCLUSION: Women's experience of grief after miscarriage is similar to general grief after death. After her loss, the woman must have the possibility of expressing and working through her grief before she can finish her pregnancy emotionally. The care-giver must facilitate this process and accept that the intensity of the grief is not dependent on the woman's age, or her number of earlier miscarriages.
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