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Keywords:

  • adoption;
  • disenfranchised;
  • grief;
  • mothers;
  • relinquishment

Grief that occurs as a result of relinquishing an infant for adoption is explored. Traditional grief models are cited as ineffectual for the satisfactory resolution of grief resulting from the relinquishment of a child for adoption. The reasons for disenfranchised grief are described and narratives of personal interviews provide insight into the grief process of birthmothers and evidence of their disenfranchisement. The role of psychiatric-mental health nurse is discussed and interventions aimed at assisting the birthmother to grieve are suggested.