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Grief, Loss of Child

  • By: Deborah Davidson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Ultimately, death is unavoidable, a natural part of the life cycle. The death of a child, however, seems like a perversion of nature and is seen as a death out of order. Parents expect to predecease their children, not bury them. Maternal grief is a mother's highly variable emotional, physical, psychological, and social response to the death of her child of any age. Maternal grief is thought to be the most persistent and profound grief; mothers themselves are surprised by its depth and intensity. While there are common maternal responses to the death of a child, experiences of maternal grief are diverse, inconsistent, and change over a lifetime. Male parents also experience grief at the death of a child, but unlike maternal grief, their grief ...

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