Almost one in three women has suffered the loss of a child due to miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death (i.e., what we refer to collectively as “baby loss”). Bereaved mothers who experience such loss face great stigma in their personal lives and in the marketplace as baby loss is a taboo topic that violates the natural order of life, and societal norms imply that this topic should not be discussed. This leads bereaved mothers to feel that their mother identity is stigmatized and devalued, thereby contributing to maternal health issues outside of purely the physical health outcomes of loss. Marketers routinely incorporate child-related messages in advertising tactics, such as asking questions about the number of children someone has on forms, asking parents to share a photo of their child, or posting advertisements depicting happy people in pregnancy. These actions can trigger feelings of grief and devastation for bereaved mothers.
Elizabeth A. Minton is an associate professor of marketing at the University of Wyoming (UW) who conducts research on pro-social consumption (i.e., how to help consumers make better decisions). She has publications in the Journal of Advertising, Journal of Business Research, Psychology & Marketing, Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, among others, as well as a coauthored book. Notably, she is a bereaved mom herself after losing her first and only child shortly after birth in January of 2021.
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