Background: Miscarriage is a significant life event that impacts occupational performance, identity, and competence and that influences perceptions of motherhood. Because of the lack of social rituals often attributed to the death of a loved one, miscarriages may result in disenfranchised grief, which impedes coping.
Methods: This phenomenological study explored the impact of miscarriage on relationships, perceptions of motherhood, and the meaning of occupation in the context of grief. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews (N = 4) and completion of a brief demographic questionnaire. The interviews were digitally recorded, transcribed verbatim, and reviewed to ensure accuracy. Using inductive thematic analysis, the first author identified initial codes, collated the codes into preliminary themes, and then reviewed, further analyzed, and refined the themes.
Results: Three overarching themes were identified: (a) the journey: ambiguity, vulnerability, and the trauma of a miscarriage; (b) seeking acknowledgement and validation of loss: impact on relationships; and (c) occupational engagement: evolving roles and perspectives.
Conclusion: The findings of this study illustrated the complexity of the lived experience of miscarriage and highlighted the significant impact of miscarriage on self-identify, relationships, and the complex role of occupation in the context of bereavement.
Child health and developmental outcomes are influenced by the health of the family and the context created. Research suggests symptoms of poor family health (e.g. suboptimal family interactions,parenting stress) yet there is limited understanding of the factors which contribute to robust family health which may unveil opportunities for targeted intervention and family health promotion. The present study examined families’ experiences of family health and factors contributing to family health. We performed a qualitative study using constructivist grounded theory methods to guide our understanding of family health for families with typically developing children aged 5–18. Interviews were conducted in family homes and all members were invited to participate. Data from interviews were transcribed, coded, thematically analyzed, and verified with select families. Ten families, including 10 mothers, 8 fathers, and 15 children participated in the study. Participants described family health as a process of balance, living purposefully, and sharing experiences together in alignment with family identity. Mediating family health were processes of awareness and reflection, and adapting, adjusting, and changing in response to family life including external stress factors. Results highlight the possibility for healthcare practitioners to facilitate families’ self-reflection and awareness about their health in order to mediate family health development.
Grounded theory methods were used to develop a preliminary model of family health that explicitly framed families’ experiences of health and factors that mediated robust family health. Understanding these constructs can support occupational therapy practitioner’s efficacious and family-centered service delivery.