When Birth and Death Entwine: Rituals around Pregnancy Losses at the Royal Victoria Birthing Center Celebrated by Spiritual Care Professionals


In a society characterized by a pluralism of cultures and religions, spiritual care professionals are since a few decades, the new figure in Quebec hospitals to organize and celebrate rituals. In a situation where birth entwine with death, one of the main objectives of spiritual interventions is to mark the life of this child, the parents’ dreams and hopes they had to this child to be. Working in a multicultural and multiconfessional contexts, this paper explores spiritual care functions within the interdisciplinary team at the Royal Victoria birthing center affiliated to McGill University, in a context where the infant won’t survive. Specifically, it discusses two different profiles: people from first nations and families who have refugee status or permanent residency. The case studies serve to illustrate integration of maternal and paternal knowledge and background into an end-of-life ritual in an institution defined by two opposite postures: the neutral culture of the institution and deserving families from different cultural/religious backgrounds. Participants will be invited to discuss how those cases could be used to nourish further teaching development to increase awareness of cultural/religious differences in interdisciplinary teams in birthing centers and other units.


Nathalie Tremblay
Spiritual Care Professional, Psychosocial Service, Montreal Children Hospital - affiliated to McGill University, Quebec, Canada


Presentation Type

Workshop Presentation


Religious Foundations



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