Another Baby? Further Reading

From families considering or having a baby following the death of a child:

1. Üstündağ–Budak, A. M., Larkin, M., Harris, G., & Blissett, J. (2015). Mothers’ Accounts of their Stillbirth Experiences and of their Subsequent Relationships with their Living Infant: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 15(1), 1. [full text]

Background Due to contradictory findings regarding the effects of seeing and holding stillborn infants on women’s worsening mental health symptoms, there is a lack of clear of guidance in stillbirth bereavement care. Although some current research examines this phenomenon we are still not certain of the meaning of such experiences to women and what effects there may be on her subsequent parenting. Thus the present study focuses on the meaning of the stillbirth experience to women and its influence on the subsequent pregnancy and subsequent parenting from the mothers’ own experiences. Methods A purposive sample of six women who experienced a stillbirth during their first pregnancy and who then went on to give birth to a living child after a further pregnancy, took part in email interviews, providing rich and detailed experiential narratives about both the stillbirth itself, and their relationship with their living child. An Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis was carried out in order to focus on mothers making sense of such experiences. Results Analysis of written accounts led to the development of three overarching themes. In ‘Broken Canopy’, ‘How This Happened’ and ‘Continuing Bonds’, their accounts revealed an ongoing process where women accepted a new ‘unsafe’ view of the world, re-evaluated their view of self and others, and established relationships with both the deceased and the living infant. Conclusions This study provided an insight into the stillbirth experience of mothers and its meaning to them with an existential focus. Typically the mother struggled with the contradictory process of accepting the existence of her deceased baby (this baby once lived) while being aware of the nonexistence (this baby). Meeting the dead baby was a crucial point at which the mother started processing her grief. The importance of individual differences in dealing with stressful situations was highlighted in terms of attachment strategies. Subsequent parenting experiences of mothers were very much influenced by their own previous experiences. Although some mothers managed to integrate this trauma into their life some remained very concerned and anxious about future and this anxiety then translated into their parenting experiences.

2. Penrose-Starr, T. (comp.) & Pregnancy Loss Australia. (2012). You are Not Alone : Stories from Australian Families who have Suffered the Loss of their Babies (2nd ed). Knoxfield, Vic.: Celapene Press. Find in an Australian library

Especially chapter 7: Pregnancy after Loss.

3. Gorman, V. (2002). Regarding Raphael. Transcript. ABC Program: Australian Story. [transcript]

Two years from making the documentary about the death of her baby daughter, Layla, Vanessa Gorman was interviewed about the pregnancy and birth of her son, Raphael.

For families considering or having a baby following the death of a child:

4. Azri, S. & Ilse, S. (2015). The Prenatal Bombshell: Help and Hope when Continuing or Ending a Precious Pregnancy after an Abnormal Diagnosis. Lanham Rowman & Littlefield. Find in an Australian library

Particularly: Trying Again; Subsequent Babies

5. Miller-Clendon, N. (2003). Life after Baby Loss: A Guide to Pregnancy and infant Loss and Subsequent Pregnancy in New Zealand. Auckland, N.Z.: Tandem Press.

As a practising midwife and a mother who has lost four babies at various stages of pregnancy, including a stillbirth, Nicola Miller-Clendon is well qualified to write this book. Pregnancy loss is more common than we think. For the 57,000 babies born live each year in New Zealand another 15,000 babies are not, often leaving women and their partners bereft and faced with uncertainty. Yet there has always been a code of silence around pregnancy loss. This is the first generation of women who are beginning to talk about their losses and seek answers. This book has been written to provide the support that is often hard to find and to answer the many questions, emotional and medical, that these women have. Beginning with recovery and grieving, there are also chapters on children and loss and guidelines for family and friends. Believing that the loss of a baby at whatever stage of pregnancy should be acknowledged, Nicola offers many suggestions of different ways a family could choose to remember their baby. In a chapter entitled Men Lose Babies, Too, Nicola addresses the often very different ways men and women may handle their loss. A subsequent pregnancy after the loss of a baby can be an anxious time with many questions unique to this experience. Nicola takes the reader through each trimester, addressing these anxieties with both emotional support and medical information. An extensive resource section lists agencies and specialists for those who need further assistance and guidance. Nicola Miller-Clendon holds a Bachelor in Health Science, is currently studying towards her Masters and is a practising midwife and childbirth educator. She is the mother of five living children as well as four babies lost at various stages of pregnancy, including a stillborn son. Her two previously published books are The User’s Guide to the New Zealand Baby and The User’s Guide to the New Zealand Pregnancy.

6. Douglas, A. & Sussman, J. (2000). Trying Again: A Guide to Pregnancy after Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss. Taylor Publishing, Dallas, TX, USA. [Find in an Australian library]

Last reviewed: 20/4/24