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Article

Reconciling the Uniquely Embodied Grief of Perinatal Death: A Narrative Approach

1
School of Design and Creative Arts, University of Loughborough, Loughborough LE11 3TU, UK
2
Faculty of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Joanna Wojtkowiak and Brenda Mathijssen
Religions 2021, 12(11), 976; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12110976
Received: 1 October 2021 / Revised: 1 November 2021 / Accepted: 2 November 2021 / Published: 8 November 2021
The death of a baby, stillborn or living only briefly after birth, is a moral affront to the cycle of life, leaving parents without the life stories and material objects that traditionally offer comfort to the bereaved, nor—in an increasingly secularized society—a religious framework for making sense of their loss. For the grieving mother, it is also a physical affront, as her body continues to rehearse its part in its symbiotic relationship with a baby whose own body is disintegrating. Attempting to forge continuing bonds with her child after death makes special demands upon the notion of embodied spirituality, as she attempts to make sense of this tragedy in an embodied way. This paper, which reconciles the distinct perspectives of bereaved mothers and children’s doctors, proposes that the thoughtful re-presentation of medical insight into pregnancy and fetal development may assuage parents’ grief by adding precious detail to their baby’s life course, and by offering the mother a material basis to conceptualize her own body as part of the distributed personhood of her baby. View Full-Text
Keywords: grief; bereavement; death; pregnancy loss; secular; embodiment; metaphor grief; bereavement; death; pregnancy loss; secular; embodiment; metaphor
MDPI and ACS Style

Norwood, T.; Boulton, J. Reconciling the Uniquely Embodied Grief of Perinatal Death: A Narrative Approach. Religions 2021, 12, 976. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12110976

AMA Style

Norwood T, Boulton J. Reconciling the Uniquely Embodied Grief of Perinatal Death: A Narrative Approach. Religions. 2021; 12(11):976. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12110976

Chicago/Turabian Style

Norwood, Tamarin, and John Boulton. 2021. "Reconciling the Uniquely Embodied Grief of Perinatal Death: A Narrative Approach" Religions 12, no. 11: 976. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12110976

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