How might the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. M. be affected by this situation?

a response to what my peer wrote here.

  • How might the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. M. be affected by this situation?
    • Mr. and Mrs. M will both experience grief in their own ways. Although they are bonded over the permanent and total loss of the same child; Mrs. M may feel a greater amount of grief than Mr. M because she carried both children to delivery. It has been said that a woman becomes a mother when she conceives a child and a man becomes a father when the child is born. “Like other life-span issues, bereavement behavior as a response to loss are influence by religious beliefs, age, cultural, and community aspects, the personality of the grieving person, and the relationship between who is grieving and what is lost,” (Drench, 2012).The relationship between Mr. and Mrs. M may change due to the types of loss that each is grieving. Mr. and Mrs. M are a bonded couple, yet they are their own people who will grieve in their own ways.
  • Should the parents tell their surviving child that he had a twin brother? Why or why not?
    • I believe that the parents should tell their surviving child about his twin brother Andrew. It is important that the surviving twin understand the circumstances of his birth. Premature births often lead to lasting complications. It may be important to explain to Andrew’s brother why he was born early and the consequences to his own health. Mr. and Mrs. M were expecting twins and had no idea that their son was suffering from congenital heart defects until late in the pregnancy. The surviving twin will likely be exposed to family photos or home videos of a woman excitedly expecting two babies. In addition, Mr. and Mrs. M may wish to continue grieving for their child such as honoring the birth or death date of their lost son, saving keepsakes, or supporting the hospital unit that treated their two sons. Answering the surviving twin’s questions about Andrew can foster an environment where it is okay to talk about Andrew and the family’s feelings (Drench, 2012).
  • If you said yes, at what age would it be appropriate to do this?
    • I believe that discussing the issue would be appropriate at any age that the surviving twin begins asking questions. The answers should be tailored around the child’s ability to understand. The answers should begin generalized and grow more specific with age and the understanding of death.
  • What roles might the grandparents play in this situation?
    • The grandparents will grieve a loss of an expected grandchild. Secondary to the loss of the parents, the grandparents may be able to offer support from their own past experiences or give respite care during funeral planning and medical care for the surviving twin. The grandparents will have a vested interest in the well being of Mr. and Mrs. M and may also be able to help adjust the nursery and home from prepared from two children to one.
  • What conflicts might result?
    • The potential for conflict in this situation is high. Mr. and Mrs. M will be grieving in their own ways. Should one parent feel the other is not grieving properly it could increase tensions. Additionally, the parents must agree that their medical decisions were the best course of action; if not they could begin to doubt the other parent’s ability to make medical decisions for the surviving twin. The grandparents will play some role in the life of the surviving twin after Andrew’s death. Well intentioned grandparents could overstep the boundaries of the bereaved new parents. Chronic sorrow may play a permanent role in the family should the M family be reminded of the loss of Andrew through their surviving son’s accomplishments. Drench et. al states that comparing the reality of one’s situation to the “normal” milestones of life can also precipitate the sorrow, (Drench, 2012).
  • What services might be required?
    • Services required will depend on the cultural and religious background of the parents. Andrew’s parents may wish to acquire spiritual help from their local clergy through the duration of grieving and bereavement. In most cases, a funeral director would be necessary to plan Andrew’s burial. Psychological counseling would benefit the bereaved parents. According to Drench, “counseling and support groups for both clients and caregivers have bee shown to have significant impact on long-term psychosocial interventions (2012). Long term services may be necessary on an as needed basis to help Mr. and Mrs. M communicate to Andrew about his death as he grows older. These services may be necessary to reduce the impact of chronic sorrow.
  • Do you think this experience would bring the parents closer together or drive them apart? Support your answer.
    • From the provided text it is unclear if this experience would bring the parents closer together or farther apart. The likelihood of successfully bringing the parents together would rely on coping behavior and coping skills. Both parents would need to use a combination of appraisal and emotion based coping skills to work through their grief. In addition, both parents would need to avoid defense mechanisms in order to address their underlying grief. However, the text stated that Andrew’s brother is a happy kindergartener which is a positive indicator that the parents were able to address and resolve their grief as a family.
  • Do you anticipate the parents would consider having another child?  Why or why not?
    • Again, there is not enough evidence to support the couple’s desire to have another child. Child bearing is a completely personal choice that has ties to autonomy and religion. Pregnancy after uterine surgery could be medically risky for Mrs. M. Many doctors place restrictions on vaginal births after cesarean section or the number of cesarean sections that they will support performing on a single patient. If their religion, like Catholicism, precludes the use of contraceptives their religious beliefs may outweigh the personal risks to Mrs. M.

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