Because a not insignificant number of women experience at least one miscarriage in life, Dutch researchers sought out 54 candidates to interview in a qualitative analysis of what challenges one going through this process faces. Of the 54 contacted, only 24 were receptive to answering the questions (the reasons participants cited declination varied). From here, researchers identified three periods in which participants experienced depression or coped with anxiety (due to miscarriage): miscarriage, conception and pregnancy (Ockhuijsen, et al. 2014). Because each of those interviewed had a history with miscarriages, the aim of the study was to address what might be done to reduce feelings of depression in the future, based on the results gathered from the transcriptions.
This study was solely qualitative, in that it did not necessarily rely on hard numbers to argue its results. While it did attempt to quantify where it could (such as with the total number of participants who experienced some form of depression throughout their miscarriage), the majority of the answers came from answers to the interview questions. What this means is that while the answers provided to give a good basis for the future, it does not present any true solution to the how miscarriage experiencers deal with their issue.
The process has thus far been alluded to, but exactly what was done to garner results has not yet been described. After getting the participants, a single researcher compiled questions then asked each individual the same list (Ockhuijsen, et al. 2014). The length of interview largely varied (from 40-76 minutes) and all were conducted in Dutch (Ockhuijsen, et al. 2014). After transcription, the interviews were run through a language processor and analyzed for commonalities (Ockhuijsen, et al. 2014). The most common response, regarding what the participants felt after having a miscarriage, was that they were looking for control, or felt as though they had lost control (Ockhuijsen, et al. 2014).
In solving this problem, researchers had to take certain ethical precautions in order to protect those who were interviewed as well as to ensure accuracy in their findings. For the interviewees, all identities were nondisclosed, and, in regards to their responses, no indication of who gave what answer were allowed (Ockhuijsen, et al. 2014). As for the matter of accuracy in analysis, the most important point was with organizing and compiling all language data. As was referenced before, this was done with a language processor, called MAXQDA 10 (Ockhuijsen, et al. 2014). What it did was maintained a database of all common answers, and it determined the primary issue in the matter was that of control (and the loss thereof).
This, then, gave the driving theme of the entire project. After recognizing “loss” as the prevailing mention of all participants, researchers re-evaluated the responses from interview questions and ordered them based on what period the interviewee experienced the feelings (Ockhuijsen, et al. 2014). For example, certain participants who had early miscarriages may not have felt attached to their pregnancy (if it was early enough), but for those who had it occur later, it became “disappointment”, and every time after just got “more difficult” (Ockhuijsen, et al. 2014). As for searching for control in the face of loss, this was quantified in much of the same way, and participants’ actions were rather varied.
For the participants who had experienced miscarriages before, the conception period (that is, the stage wherein a woman has decided to conceive and the conception itself) becomes just a lot of tortured waiting, which causes more intense feelings when another conception actually occurs (Ockhuijsen, et al. 2014). What it comes down to is that the longer the interviewee had to wait to learn they were having a miscarriage, the more intense the feelings became, the more painful the loss. In each of the three periods, the loss of control superseded the search for control, but the search always occurred at some point after, wherein participants felt the need to learn more about their situation and why miscarriages continually happened with them.
The end result of the study is rather basic, given the gravity of the situation. By the researchers’ own admission, this study simplifies the results of past studies that may have convoluted matters into one issue: the balance between loss of control and finding it (Ockhuijsen, et al. 2014). As the case has been made through each stage of the miscarriage process, the findings do indeed reflect the problem in question, but there is not necessarily an application for the results. That is, while they do answer what the interviewed people felt while experiencing miscarriages, they do not necessarily apply to other miscarriage suffers (Ockhuijsen, et al. 2014). The study used predominantly highly-educated women, which may skew results (Ockhuijsen, et al. 2014). (The problem here is that, apparently, attempts to recruit women with lower education levels were made, but none of the queried responded positively (Ockhuijsen, et al. 2014).) As the article on the study concludes, the researchers acknowledge that the primary application of such results is that intervention may provide solace to some sufferers, but, being qualitative, it must be taken on a case-by-case basis (Ockhuijsen, et al. 2014).
Andersson, I. M., Nilsson, S., & Adolfsson, A. (2012). How women who have experienced one
or more miscarriages manage their feelings and emotions when they become pregnant again—A qualitative interview study. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 26, 262–270. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6712.2011.00927
Ockhuijsen, H. D. L., et al. (2014). Pregnancy After Miscarriage: Balancing Between Loss of
Control and Searching for Control. Research in Nursing & Health, 37, 267–275. doi: 10.1002/nur.21610