In this essay, I explore the significance of involving personal experiences with loss in my research on parental bereavement. By intersecting autoethnography and findings from a qualitative interview study with bereaved parents following infant loss, I argue that while popular and professional accounts depict normal grief as a transitory state, parental accounts present grief as a continuing and open-ended relationship with the dead child. In acknowledgment of this, I present fragmentary, non-reifying narratives of the continuing realities of becoming a bereaved parent.
Becoming a Bereaved Parent: Parental Grief After Infant Loss
Ester Holte Kofod is postdoctoral fellow in the research center The Culture of Grief in the Department of Communication and Psychology at Aalborg University, Kroghstræde 3, 9220 Aalborg Ø, Denmark. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This essay is a part of a PhD project on parental grief after infant death, supported by the Danish Infant Death Association (Landsforeningen Spædbarnsdød). I am grateful for their financial support and helpful contribution to the realization of this project. I also wish to thank my PhD supervisor, Svend Brinkmann, as well as my other research colleagues at the Diagnostic Cultures Research Project for fruitful discussions and generous feedback on several earlier versions of this manuscript: Anders Petersen, Mikka Nielsen, Mette Rønberg, and Rasmus Birk. Finally, I am grateful to the editor and anonymous reviewers at Departures in Critical Qualitative Research for their careful readings and valuable suggestions.
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Ester Holte Kofod; Becoming a Bereaved Parent: Parental Grief After Infant Loss. Departures in Critical Qualitative Research 1 December 2017; 6 (4): 70–86. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/dcqr.2017.6.4.70
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