Continuing pregnancy after diagnosis of a serious or lethal fetal anomaly: The lived experience of parents

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

The unexpected diagnosis was a disorienting betrayal that forced them to reconfigure and transform their lives. It was the beginning of a journey marked by a roller coaster of oscillating emotions â” between disbelief and reality, hope and despair. A disjunction emerged between the reality of the diagnosis and the halcyon future they had envisaged. The dramatically-altered life trajectory was accompanied by uncertainty and a spectrum of possible outcomes which created disequilibrium and feelings of asynchrony. Although the diagnosis was known, the specific implications for parents and their newborns remained unknown until birth. The alienating diagnosis became incorporated in their world, hence the pregnancy became an all-consuming focus, demanding attention and leeching energy.The diagnosis was an inescapable intrusion into the embodied life of parents, affecting each gender differently. The visible nature of pregnancy traumatised women by making them public property. In response to the diagnosis, participants began to ask why?' The enormity of their loss prompted an existential search for meaning and changed perceptions and priorities. Life became more appreciated, a time to grasp precious moments and hold on to treasured memories. This thesis makes an original contribution to scholarship. The research adds to existing knowledge through an in-depth examination of parentsâÂ' experience of time, becoming public property, gender differences, the role of the other, hope and uncertainty. Suggestions for further research are provided. Recommendations are made to help guide the clinical practice of health professionals working with parents who continue pregnancy following diagnosis of a serious or lethal fetal anomaly.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Dietsch, Jennie, Co-Supervisor
  • Bonner, Ann, Co-Supervisor
Award date01 Mar 2013
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publisher
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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