Research which studies family grief in response to perinatal loss (the loss of a child before birth, during birth, or immediately after birth) generally has focused on parental grief and rarely included sibling grief. The emotional burdens from unresolved grief that surviving siblings experience can be carried into adulthood and are insufficiently understood. Siblings in families bereaved as a result of perinatal loss suffer in two ways: they mourn the loss of their expected sibling and they mourn the loss of the parents as they knew them prior to the loss. Parents can be so overwhelmed with their own grief that they are blind to their children’s grief. Professionals can help parents learn how to communicate with their surviving children in appropriate ways so that their children will be able to express, integrate, and release their grief. Perinatal losses affect the whole family system, and the impact can be felt even in later generations.
Bartellas, E., & Van Aerde, J. (2003). Bereavement support for women and their families after stillbirth. Journal of Obstetric and Gynecology Canada, 25(2), 131-138.
Bowlby, J. (1980). Attachment and loss: Vol. 3. Loss: Sadness and depression. New York: Basic Books.
Canister, L. C. (2006). Perinatal loss: A family perspective. Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing, 20(3), 227-234.
Corr, C. (2002). Revisiting the concept of disenfranchised grief. In K. J. Doka (Ed.), Disenfranchised grief: New directions, challenges, and strategies for practice (pp. 3960). Champaign, IL: Research Press.
Crenshaw, D. (2002). The disenfranchised grief of children. In K. J. Doka (Ed.), Disenfranchised grief: New directions, challenges, and strategies for practice (pp. 293-306). Champaign, IL: Research Press.
Davies, B. (2006). Sibling grief throughout childhood. The Forum, Jan/Feh/March, 4.
DeVita-Raeburn, E. (2004). The empty room: Surviving the loss of a brother or sister at any age. New York: Scribner.
Erlandsson, K, Avelin, P, Saflund, K, Wredling, R., & Radestad, I. (2010). Siblings' farewell to a stillborn sister or brother and parents' support to their older children: a questionnaire study from the parents' perspective. Journal of Child Health Care, 14(2), 151-160.
Gilbert, K., & Smart, L. (1992). Coping with fetal or infant loss: The couple's healing process. New York: Charles C. Thomas.
Hailing, S. (2002). Making phenomenology accessible to a wider audience. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, 33(1), 19-38.
Hogan, N (2006). Understanding adolescent sibling bereavement. The Forum, Jan/FebVMarch, 5-6.
Kauffman, J. (1989). Intrapsychic dimensions of disenfranchised grief. In K J. Doka (Ed.), Disenfranchised grief: Recognizing hidden sorrow (pp. 25-29). Lexington, MA. Lexington.
Kauffman, J. (2002). The psychology of disenfranchised grief: Liberation, shame and selfdisenfranchisement. In K. J. Doka (Ed.), Disenfranchised grief: New directions, challenges, and strategies for practice (pp. 61-77). Champaign, IL: Research Press.
Kempson, D., & Murdock, V. (2010). Memory keepers: A narrative study on siblings never known. Death Studies, 34(8), 738-756.
Klass, D., Silverman, P. R., & Nickman, S. L. (1996). Continuing bonds: New understanding of grief. London: Taylor & Francis.
Kockelmans, J. (1994). Edmund Husserl's Phenomenology. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 1994).
Kuebelbeck, A. & Davis, D. L. (2011). A gift of time: Continuing your pregnancy when your baby's life is expected to be brief. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Leon, I. G. (1986). The invisible loss: The impact of perinatal loss on siblings. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, 5(1), 1-14.
Lieberman, A. E, Compton, N C, Van Horn, P, & Ghosh Ippen, C. (2003). Losing a parent to death in the early years. Washington, DC: Zero to Three Press.
Long, J. (1992). Grief and loss in childbirth. Midwives Chronicle Nursing Notes, 105(1250), 51-54.
Miller, A. (1997). The drama of the gifted child: The search for the true self (Rev. ed). New York: Basic Books.
O'Leary, J. (2007). Pregnancy and infant loss: Supporting parents and their children. Zero to Three, 27(6), 42-49.
O'Leary, J., Gaziano, C, & Thorwick, C. (2006). Born after loss: The invisible child in adulthood. Journal of Prenatal & Perinatal Psychology ¿Health, 21(1), 3-23.
O'Leary, J., & Thorwick, C. (2008). Attachment to the unborn child and parental mental representations of pregnancy following perinatal loss. Attachment, 2(3), 292-320.
Ostler, T (2010). Grief and coping in early childhood. Zero to Three, 31(1), 29-35.
Packman, W., Horsely, H., Davies, B., & Kramer, R. (2006). Sibling bereavement and continuing bonds. Death Studies, 30(9), 817-841.
Pettle, S. A., & Britten, CM. (1995). Talking with children about death and dying. Child: Care, Health, and Development, 21(6), 394-404.
Roose, R. E., & Blanford, C. R. (2011). Perinatal grief and support spans the generations: Parents' and grandparents' evaluations of an intergenerational perinatal bereavement program. Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing 25(1), 77-85.
Rosenblatt, P C. (1995). Ethics of qualitative interviewing with grieving families. Death Studies, 19(2) 139-155.
Rosenblatt, P C. (2001). Qualitative research as spiritual experience. In K. R. Gilbert (Ed.), The emotional nature of qualitative research (pp. 111-128). New York: CRC Press.
Schwab, R. (2009). Child's death. Encyclopedia of Death and Dying. Flossmoor, IL, Advameg, Inc. Retrieved from: http://www.deathreferenoe.conVGi-Ho/Grief.html.
Shainess, N (1963). The structure of the mothering encounter. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 136(2), 146-161.
Sokolowski, R. (1999). Introduction to Phenomenology. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Sroufe, LA. (2005). Attachment and development: A prospective, longitudinal study from birth to adulthood. Attachment and Human Development, 7(4), 349-367.
Trout, M. (2009). The creation of a false self: A survival strategy for siblings of wounded adopted or foster children. In: D. Silverstein, & S. Smith (Eds.), Siblings in adoption and foster care: Traumatic separations and honored connections (pp. 95-108). Westport, CT: Praeger Pubhshing.
Van Manen, M. (1990). Researching lived experience: Human science for an action sensitive pedagogy. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
Wilson, R. E. (2001). Parents' support of their other children after a miscarriage or perinatal death. Early Human Development, 61(1), 55-65.
Worden, J. W (1996). Children and grief: When a parent dies. New York: Guilford Press.