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CONTINUING BONDS: PATHOLOGY OR PURPOSE?

After reading a recent article in the Medical Journal of Australia I was disgusted with the perspective put forward that there is no benefit for parents in holding their stillborn child.  Whilst I lost my daughter four days after birth I couldn’t fathom what I might be feeling today if I did not get the chance to bond with her.  How can a parent NOT benefit from the opportunity to hold, love, make memories and create a connection that will be ever-lasting with their child?

Unfortunately these are the views that are continually put forward.  The idea that bonding with a deceased child is pathological is often cited.  When will the health professionals realise that this idea does not adequately consider the unique and complicated challenges associated with parental grief.  Such ideas are not fitting for bereaved parents as it is impossible to detach from our deceased children.  Health professionals need to understand that the principles for identification of pathological grief are in actuality the normal and purposeful elements of parental bereavement. 

Opinions differ in relation to relinquishing versus retaining bonds with a deceased child.  However, this everlasting bond which we have with our children is one which needs to be recognised, acknowledged and honoured by the health professionals.  If you, like me, are passionate about the bonds which you continue to have with your child despite how much time has passed since their death then please take the time to have your say and be involved in a research study aiming to tackle such issues.  The research study questionnaire and further information is available at: 

http://kwiksurveys.com/?u=c_bonds_research_study
We also have a facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/CBRPDS

Dianna Scholtes

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About the Author

I have a Masters of Counselling and Psychotherapy, Graduate Certificate in Loss, Grief and Trauma and a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours). Being a bereaved parent myself I am an advocate for the continuing bonds model. I hope through my continued studies to address an identified need within the literature to enable lay people and practitioners a better understanding of parental bereavement.

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