NCSR 2008 - Urban Diversity and Religious Traditions
13-15 August 2008, Åbo Akademi University

Ritualization of a stillborn child

Anna Davidsson Bremborg

Care and practice after a stillborn’s birth has changed dramatically during the last twenty years. Today, parents usually see and hold their child, and a name giving ritual and a funeral service often take place.
Ritualization does however not end with this. In the home, at the grave and at other places connected with the child parents light candles, talk to their child and perform memoralization rituals. Some of these are not very well known, as the ritual of blowing soap bubbles. The spread of these rituals often seems to go via memorial web pages and web communities, and become part of new tradition making.
In a project performed by Professor Ingela Rådestad, Mälardalens högskola and me, we are studying the rituals of memorialization, among other things. In April 2008, a questionnaire was launched on the Web, aiming to find parents who want to reveal their experiences. During the first month, over 200 persons answered the questionnaire. Data will be collected during one year. At NCSR, I will present results from the first quarter, combined with an analysis of memorial web pages of stillborn.