This study explored on the extent of coping of mothers who had their babies died within 28 days after birth. Factors that were looked into in explaining the extent of coping of mothers were the recency of the event of death, the prenatal visits and state of the baby at the time of the delivery. Thirty-two mothers were interviewed. Results find that there is a positive relationship between the extent of coping of these mothers and the recency of the event of death. There is however no differences in the extent of coping among mothers who had rare, moderate and regular prenatal visits while still bearing their babies and among mothers whose babies were delivered premature or full-term.
Factors Affecting Mother’s Coping with the Death of Neonate Baby
The most fulfilling moment in a woman’s life was having her baby cuddled in her arms. The baby would cry when it needed milk, slept most of the time and did not respond much to her coos, defecated when and where it wants – but all these the mother could take. The baby simply gave her the fulfillment of being needed and gave her the satisfaction to have someone become the object of her care and love. But just when she started to find her way through the hassles in this phase in her life, the baby was suddenly gone; the baby dies for no apparent reason at all. In a moment, those baby cries were gone, the routines of coming to check on the baby late at nights or changing its diapers just suddenly ceased. The joy the baby brought her and the hope in seeing it grow into a brilliant and adorable child were also gone. The mother wondered how such a joyous experience can bring her down to sadness, guilt and pain.
Neonatal death, which was technically defined as death of an infant during the first 28 days after its birth, rates around 30,000 a day in America alone (Yauck, 2004). Organizations such as Aiding a Mother and father Experiencing Neonatal Death (AMEND) and Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death (M.E.N.D.) were few of the organizations whose aim was to help mothers cope with the loss of their babies from stillbirth, miscarriage and neonatal death (www.mend.org). There was however very few researches that deal on how these mothers cope with the loss of their child.
This study aims to know the extent of coping of mothers, whose babies died of neonatal death. It particularly wants to know how these mothers cope up with the loss within the first twelve months after the death of their babies and determine some factors that contributed to the extent of their coping.
The dependent variable was the extent of coping of the mothers and the independent variables were the recency of the child’s death, the number of prenatal visits during pregnancy, which was categorized as rare, moderate and regular, and the state of the baby during delivery, which was categorized as premature and full-term. What is the profile of the recency of child’s death, prenatal visits during pregnancy, and state of baby upon delivery? Does the extent of the mother’s coping with the loss of her child related to recency of the child’s death? Is the extent of coping the same among mothers who had rare, moderate and regular prenatal visits? Is the extent of coping the same between mothers whose babies were born premature and mothers whose babies were born in full term?
A census or a hundred percent sampling was done on mothers whose babies died within the first 28 days of the baby’s life and whose event of death happened within twelve months at the time of the survey. This census however was limited to one city in the Asian region. The mothers were therefore Asians.
The list of participants was obtained through the office of the city Registry of Deaths where the names of the babies, who died within the months of February, 2006 and March, 2007, and whose age was not more than 28 days, were obtained, along with the complete names of the babies’ mothers and the exact addresses. There were 32 mothers obtained from this list and who were selected as participants of this study.
The survey was conducted on March, 2007. It was done by two paid tabulators/ researchers, who were first briefed on the purpose of the study to ensure that data obtained from the survey were reliable and valid. The mothers were located based on the extracted addresses from the Registry of Deaths. The mothers were approached and made to understand about the purpose of the study, and interviewed based on the Interview Guide.
The instrument used in the study was a self-made Interview Guide. It consisted of two parts. The first part asks information on the recency of the child’s death, the number of prenatal visits and the state of the child during delivery. The second part was the Coping Rating Sheet. It had 15 questions, where each question was to be answered on a five-point rating scale, from never to always. The Rating Sheet had negative items, and these were item numbers 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 13, and 15. For purposes of data analysis, these negative items were converted so that the rating of five was converted to one, four to two, two to four and one to five. The responses to the 15 items were averaged to obtain the individual’s extent of coping. As the mean values approached the value of one, the less the mother was able to cope with the loss of the child and as the values approached the value of five, the better the mother was able to cope with the loss.
The design of this study was non-experimental descriptive-correlation type. Table 1 summarizes the levels of measurement of the variables found in each of the research problem as well as the data analysis technique used to answer the research problem.
Table Showing the Level of Measurement and Data Analysis Techniques of Each of Research Problem
|Variables||Level of measurement||Data analysis techniques|
– recency of death
– prenatal visits
– state of baby during delivery
Mean; standard deviation
– extent of coping
– recency of death
Pearson moment correlation
– extent of coping
– prenatal visits
Analysis of Variance
– extent of coping
– state of baby during delivery
t-test for independent samples
Results of this study were presented in table forms. The first three tables describes the data sets of the recency of death of the child, the frequencies and percentages of prenatal visits and the frequencies and percentages of the state of the baby at the time of delivery. The succeeding tables were inferential statistics regarding the extent of coping of the mothers.
Recency of Death of the Child at the Time of the Survey
|Recency of death (in months)||6.67||3.59|
Table 2 shows that at the time of the survey the mothers lost their baby on the average 6.67 or 7 months past. Considering the variation in the data, it could be said in 95% confidence that the average months of the recency of death of the child was between the interval (-0.37, 13.71). This would mean the average months was rather scattered from zero, or from the very day that the child was born, to more than twelve months.
The Prenatal Visits During Pregnancy of the Mother While Bearing the Child who Died a Neonate
|Categories of Prenatal Visits||Frequency||Percentage|
|Rare (0 to 3 visits)||9||28.1|
|Moderate (4 to 8 visits)||14||43.8|
|Regular (more than 9 visits)||9||28.1|
Table 3 shows that most or almost half of the mothers whose babies died a neonate had moderate prenatal visits, or had four to eight visits during their pregnancy. However, the distribution of these three groups of mothers: those who had rare prenatal visits, those who had moderate prenatal visits and those who had regular prenatal visits, was rather equal, c2(1)=1.563, p=0.458, and whatever observed differences were attributable to random errors.
The State of the Child During Delivery
|Categories of State of the Child||Frequency||Percentage|
Table 4 shows that most of the babies that died during their first 28 days had been delivered full-term. However, the distribution of babies who were delivered either premature or full-term was rather equal, binomial test, p= 0.215, and whatever observed differences were attributable to random errors.
Relationship Between Extent of the Mother’s Coping and the Recency of the Death of Her Child
|Variable||Extent of Coping|
|Recency of Child’s Death||0.404||0.027|
It was hypothesized that there was no relationship between the extent of coping of the mothers and the recency of death of their babies. Table 5 showed however that there was a positive relationship between these two variables, r=0.404, p=0.027. This means that when the event of child’s death was longer at the time of the survey the better the mothers were in coping with the loss and the more recent the event was at the time of the survey the worse their coping were.
Analysis of Variance of the Extent of Coping among Mothers who had Rare Prenatal Visits, Moderate Prenatal Visits and Regular prenatal Visits
|Categories of Prenatal Visits||Mean||F-value||P-value (2-tailed)|
|Rare (0 to 3 visits)||3.61||1.413||0.260|
|Moderate (4 to 8 visits)||3.37|
|Regular (more than 9 visits)||3.66|
It was hypothesized that the extent of coping was equal among mothers who had rare prenatal visits, mothers who had moderate prenatal visits and mothers who had regular prenatal visits during their pregnancies. Table 6 showed that these three groups of mothers indeed had the same extent of coping, F(2,31)=1.413, p=0.260. The feeling of loss was therefore the same for those who had complete check-ups and for those who had moderate to rare check-ups during their pregnancies.
Binomial test on Between Mothers whose Babies were Premature and Mothers whose Babies were Full-term
|Categories of State of the Child||Observed Proportion||Test Proportion||P-value (2-tailed)|
It was hypothesized that the extent of coping of mothers who delivered their babies premature and mothers who delivered their babies in full-term was equal. Table 7 showed that indeed these two groups of mothers had the same extent of coping, binomial test, p=0.215.
The mothers at the time when they were bearing their babies in their womb had rare to regular prenatal visits. These babies were born either premature or full-term. These babies die and the survey happened on the very day of the event of death or a year after. The extent of coping of the mothers who had rare prenatal visits was the same with the mothers who had moderate to regular prenatal visits during their pregnancies. The extent of coping of mothers who delivered their babies premature or full term was also the same. The recency of the event of death was related to the extent of the mothers’ coping. The more recent the event was the worse they were with coping with the loss and the longer the event was the better they coped with it.
Knowing how frequent the mother had been in her prenatal visits and the state of the baby at the time of delivery did not help in determining how the mother coped with the loss of her baby who died a neonate. These variables may be skipped out in subsequent researches relative to this study. However, recency of the event of loss did help in predicting how the mother coped with the loss. It can be predicted that when the event of the child’s death was very recent, it is expected that the mother was not coping with the loss very well. Thus, counseling intervention for these mothers should be so designed that they receive intervention the earliest possible time from the day of the event. Effective counseling interventions for this group of mothers however need further research so that intervention would be significant and meaningful for them.
The factor that affects the extent of coping of mothers whose babies died a neonate, therefore, was the recency of the event of loss; the more recent the event was the worse they coped with the loss, and the longer the event was, the better they coped with it.
Yauck, Jennifer S. (2004). The Perinatal Mortality Data File. Datus, 10(1), 1.
Infant Loss Organizations. www.mend.org.