Fathers and Perinatal Loss Pt. 18: Themes

Tracy Schaperow, Psy.D.

Tracy Schaperow

Licensed Clinical Psychologist


This article is part of a larger work.

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Themes

Five men who experienced perinatal loss participated in this investigation. Each of these men was interviewed twice, and administered three psychological tests: the PGS, the T.A.T., and the C.A.T.-H.

Each participant’s interview was unique; however, there were general themes threaded throughout them. Twenty-three themes were extracted from these interviews (see Figure III). These themes were broken down into two main categories, and four subcategories. These categories are as follows: (1) Before loss; (2) After loss: (a) General themes; (b) Emotions; (c) Relationship Changes; and (d) Coping strategies. To be considered a theme, two or 40% of the participants must have endorsed it.

Because some individuals had themes that were not endorsed by any other participants, but appear essential to understanding their experiences, Figure IV reflects those idiographic themes that were endorsed by only one participant.

Each participant’s scores varied on the PGS, so Table XVII presents these scores in a format that allows for comparison across individuals.

The results of the T.A.T. and the C.A.T.-H have already been thoroughly presented in table format; therefore, these will not be shown again in this section. Themes from the interview, the PGS and the projective tests will be integrated and discussed in more detail in Chapter five.


Figure III. Frequency table of themes extracted from the interviews

 

THEMES

Dennis

Karl

Raymond

Peter

Ryan

BEFORE LOSS

         

Strong Desire for Children

X

X

 

X

X

Excited About Pregnancy

X

X

X

X

X

Extremely Ambivalent About

Pregnancy

   

X

   

Bonding Before Death

X

X

X

X

X

AFTER LOSS

         

General Themes

         

Denial

X

X

     

Focusing on Wife’s Needs*

X

X

X

X

X

Hiding Feelings About Loss*

X

X

X

X

 

Being “Strong” for Wife*

X

X

X

   

Increased Awareness of Own

Mortality

X

 

X

   

Increased Focus On Present

 

X

   

X

“Cherish” Life and/or

Current Children More

X

X

 

X

 

Emotions

         

Guilt

X

X

X

X

X

Sadness

X

X

X

X

X

Anger

X

X

X

X

X

Shock/Numbness

X

X

X

 

X

Helplessness

X

X

   

X

Anxiety

X

 

X

X

X

Relationship Changes

         

With Spouse

X

X

X

X

X

With Parents

X

X

     

Attitude Toward and Style of Parenting Changed

X

X

     

Coping Strategies

         

Spent Time With Deceased

Baby

X

     

X

Information Seeking/Learning About

Cause of Death

     

X

X

Built/Created Concrete

Object for or Symbolizing Own Deceased Baby

X

     

X

Advocacy/Public Speaking

X

X

   

X

Family and/or Friend Support

   

X

X

X

Support Group

X

X

 

X

X


* These themes can fit under more than one of the categories.


Figure IV. Frequency table of idiographic themes extracted from the interviews


Themes

Dennis

Karl

Raymond

Peter

Ryan

Emptiness

 

X

     

“Depression”

 

X

     

“Relief”

   

X

   

Perceiving Self as “Failure”

   

X

   

“Disappointment”

     

X

 

Increased Reflection on Values

     

X

 

Avoid Thinking About Loss

     

X

 

Time Passing Slowly

       

X

Disorganization/Confusion

       

X

Fluctuating Emotions

       

X


Table XVII. Summary of Perinatal Grief Scale (PGS) Scores7


image

Active Grief Difficulty Coping Despair Total Score participant reference participant reference participant reference participant reference

mean mean mean mean


Dennis

23

39.92

21

26.97

16

24.41

60

91.31


Karl


31


42.17


24


27.22


25


23.94


80


93.33


Raymond


20


39.92


23


26.97


23


24.41


66


91.31


Peter


22


42.17


21


27.22


23


23.94


66


93.33


Ryan


38


39.92


34


26.97


26


24.41


98


91.31


image

  • The reference mean scores varied depending on the type of loss.


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