Conceptualizing the Miscarriage Experience Through the Lens of Ghosts in the Nursery

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Laura Meyer

First Committee Member

Hale Martin

Second Committee Member

Shawna Roberts


Ghosts in the nursery, Miscarriage, Fetal loss, Pregnancy after loss

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


The purpose of this doctoral paper was to use the “Ghosts in the Nursery” theory (Fraiberg, Adelson, & Shapiro, 1975) as a framework for understanding clinicians’ perceptions of women’s experience of miscarriage. Specific attention was paid to the experience of becoming pregnant with a subsequent child. Professionals who work in the field of infant mental health were asked to explore the theory’s utility in conceptualizing the experience of becoming pregnant after a miscarriage. Results indicated that the perceptions of women’s experiences of miscarriage and subsequent pregnancy are congruent with previous research findings. Further elaboration and information are provided to illustrate the experience of having a child and being a parent after experiencing a loss, and to explore the idea of understanding miscarriage as a “ghost”. This study applies a new perspective to the theory of “Ghosts in the Nursery” (Fraiberg et al., 1975) to children born after a loss.


28 pages

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