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Experience of Perinatal Death From the Father’s Perspective

imageBackground Although perinatal deaths are still a common pregnancy outcome in developing countries, little is known about the effect perinatal death has on fathers. Objective The aim of the study was to understand and describe the meaning of perinatal death in a sample of fathers from northeastern Colombia. Methods Using purposive and snowball sampling approaches, we identified 15 participants from northeastern Colombia who agreed to participate. We used a descriptive phenomenological design. Data were collected through in-depth, semistructured interviews. Results Men suffer in solitude and hide their emotions as they feel the need to be the main supporters of their partners. Three major themes emerged: experience of loss, coming to terms with an irreparable loss, and overcoming the loss. Discussion While women are receiving care, health staff may neglect or forget men. Men suffer alone while seeking ways of attunement with their partners’ emotions to support them during the grieving process. Fathers can overcome and adjust to the loss when they transcend it and find new meaning. Men felt neglected and marginalized at hospitals while their partners were receiving treatment. Health professionals should recognize and acknowledge the pain of fathers who face perinatal death and include them as much as possible in the standard of care. The results identify opportunities for healthcare providers in clinical and outpatient settings to acknowledge the importance of men within the context of pregnancy and to learn about their pain and suffering when they face a perinatal death.
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