Der Wandel der Anerkennung von Fehl- und Totgeburt als Geburt eines Kindes

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The coinage of new terms like “Kleine Geburt [little birth]” and “Stille Geburt [silent birth/stillbirth]” is part of an ongoing social change towards recognition of pregnancy loss as child birth. Since the 1980s grassroot initiatives have been engaging for social recognition, for self-determination in clinics and a general right for parents to bury and register their miscarried and stillborn foetuses. In this paper it is argued that miscarriage and stillbirth are increasingly seen and dealt with as birth (and loss) of a person, and thus intended parents are recognized as parents. Qualitative data from narrative interviews and diverse sources such as Blogs and Vlogs has been collected over a period of five years, and a sequential analysis has been applied. The multi-dimensional social change is discussed in three areas: in German legal framework, in social media, and in obstetric care. First, recent changes of the German Civil Status Law for miscarried foetuses contribute to acknowledgement of bereaved parents. Second, online-communities have been establishing a collective identity of “angel parenthood” that brought about discursive and institutional changes outside the internet. Additionally, individual accounts in social media normalize and legitimize to speak about and exhibit experiences of miscarriage and stillbirth. Third, professional personalization of stillborn foetuses in obstetric care is established after perinatal death and stillbirth, but not (yet) after early pregnancy losses.

Translated title of the contributionThe social change towards recognition of pregnancy loss as child birth
Original languageGerman
JournalOsterreichische Zeitschrift fur Soziologie
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)59-82
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 01.03.2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dank gilt allen Gesprächspartner*innen, die ihre Erfahrungen von Fehl- und Stillgeburt mit mir geteilt haben. Lea Gscheidel verdanke ich inhaltliche Hinweise. Janna Vogl sowie den beiden Gutachter*innen danke ich für die wertvolle Kritik am Manuskript, Alexander Leistner einmal mehr für seinen Blick auf das große Ganze und die geteilte Freude am Feinschliff.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).