Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Science in Nursing



Major Advisor

Leonie L. Sutherland, Ph.D.


Pamela M. Gehrke, Ed.D.


Rana Limbo, Ph.D.


A study using qualitative descriptive methodology was done to learn of the decision pathways that mothers experiencing six types of perinatal loss recall making during their experiences of loss. Five participants describe their experience as they recall decisions within their journeys of miscarriage, stillbirth, fetal malformation; one carrying to term by choice (perinatal palliative care), the other terminating, a neonatal death and a SIDS death. Effort was made to understand specific available choices these mothers remember making along with their recollected experience of what was helpful and what was not helpful as they were navigating those choices. Exploring the experiences of mothers along their grief journeys exposed decisions that were intuitive and alternately decisions that were facilitated with guidance and help. Participants revealed that nurses and physicians were important in their initial collective journeys; however sometimes these providers show discomfort beside parents experiencing perinatal loss who deserve to make their own meaning of the hopes and dreams dismantled after the loss of their children. This was coupled with continued ‘awkward’ and ‘uncomfortable’ moments provided by society as a whole during the experiences of these mothers as they navigated both concrete and abstract decisions after loss. This study explored the voices of those who need to be heard most clearly in perinatal loss; those who experienced this type of grief and are still navigating their way on their own unique journeys.