Bereavement and Religion Online: Stillbirth, Neonatal Loss, and Parental Religiosity

Document Type


Publication Date



Stillbirth and neonatal death often trigger immense and long‐lasting grief in parents. These life‐altering losses both call upon and call into question parents’ religious beliefs and practices. This qualitative research examines the impact of stillbirth and neonatal death on parental religiosity, broadly conceived to include personal spirituality and any religious affiliation, including atheism. It examines religion online, a nontraditional but important social context for grief, especially regarding statistically rare tragedies such as stillbirth and neonatal death. Content analysis of postings on a hub website for “babyloss” parents yields four major themes: religious disorientation, religious reorientation, changed relationships with others, and a quest for meaning.


Originally published as:

Bakker, J. K., & Paris, J. (2013). Bereavement and religion online: Stillbirth, neonatal loss, and parental religiosity: bereavement and religion online. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 52(4), 657–674. https://doi.org/10.1111/jssr.12066