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Communicating Pregnancy Loss

Narrative as a Method for Change


Rachel Silverman and Jay Baglia

This book is the Winner of the OSCLG Outstanding Book Award

The loss of a desired pregnancy or the inability to experience pregnancy are intensely personal phenomena; these losses are also, in our culture at least, extremely private. Communicating Pregnancy Loss is a collection of first-person narratives about the experience of pregnancy loss. Although there is no shortage of books that help prospective parents cope with an unintended pregnancy loss or ‘survive’ infertility, most of these books are authored by physicians or therapists and address pregnancy loss through the language of guidance. This book is different. It is the first of its kind because the contributors (primarily communication scholars but also healthcare personnel and other scholars from the social sciences) tell their story of loss in their own words, offering a diverse collection of narratives that span experience and identity. The authors employ various feminist theories, narrative theories, and performance theories as well as other well-known communication theories and concepts. The book’s narrative approach to writing about and thereby understanding pregnancy loss offers readers a method for changing the way pregnancy loss is understood personally, culturally, and politically.


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Foreword: The Sacred Number Four ix Patricia Geist-Martin Acknowledgments xv Introduction: The Politics of Pregnancy Loss 1 rachel e. silverMan and Jay BaGlia Section 1: Pregnancy Loss and Social Support 17 1. Nine Years Later and Still Waiting: When Health Care Providers’ Social Support Never Arrives 19 Maria Brann 2. Honoring Stories of Miscarriage in the Medical Context: A Plea to Health Care Providers 33 Jennifer J. Bute 3. Looking for Their Light: Advancing Knowledge and Supporting Women by Listening to Pregnancy Loss Narratives 45 Jennifer l. fairchild and Michael irvin arrinGton 4. Unscripted Loss: A Hesitant Narrative of a Reconstructed Family 59 Julie l. G. Walker and BenJaMin M. Walker Section 2: When the Personal Is Professional 73 5. A Story We Can Live With: The Role of the Medical Sonographer in the Diagnosis of Fetal Demise 75 elissa foster and Jodi McGivern vi contents 6. Searching for Grace 89 kristann heinz and elissa foster 7. When the Professional Is Personal: Case Studies of Pregnancy Loss, My Story of Pregnancy Loss 97 lisa Jo schillinG and rachel e. silverMan 8. Infertility, Professional Identity, and Consciousness-Raising 103 caryn e. Medved 9. Hidden in Plain Sight: Mystoriography, Melancholic Mourning, and the Poetics of [My Pregnancy] Loss 117 reBecca kennerly Section 3: Space, Time, and Pregnancy Loss 133 10. On the Identity Politics of Pregnancy: An Autoethnographic Journey Through/In Reproductive Time 135 Michaela d. e. Meyer 11. The Healing Journey 151 deleasa randall-Griffiths 12. Once Upon a Time: A Tale of Infertility,...

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