Our babies[’] count[er story]: A narrative ethnography of a baby loss remembrance walk ritual

Erin K. Willer, Emily Krebs, Nivea Castaneda, Kate Drazner Hoyt, Veronica A. Droser, Jessica A. Johnson, Jeni Hunniecutt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The non-profit organization Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (NILMDTS) hosts annual remembrance walks that gather bereaved families to honor babies who have died. Grounded in narrative theory and research on family communication rituals, the present study focused on understanding how the NILMDTS Remembrance Walk counternarrates the experience of baby loss vis-à-vis the master narrative that silences it. Our narrative ethnography included participating alongside approximately 1375–1600 bereaved family members, respectively, in the 2014 and 2015 Remembrance Walks taking place in Littleton, Colorado. Two interwoven counternarratives resisted the master narrative. The communal loss narrative centered community-building for families and the individual loss narrative emphasized the unique identities of babies, as well as their individual family units and members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-199
Number of pages21
JournalCommunication Monographs
Volume87
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2 2020

Keywords

  • Baby loss
  • disenfranchised grief
  • ethnography
  • narrative
  • perinatal death
  • ritual

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics

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