Narrative as a Method for Change
Edited By Rachel Silverman and Jay Baglia
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.
Foreword: The Sacred Number Four
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I was married for seven years the first time and there were no children. My resistance to having children was most certainly one of the many reasons we divorced. The second time around, in a marriage that has lasted twenty-six years, my husband J.C. and I told each other from the beginning “no children.” After much debate, we reconsidered. But it wasn’t easy. There were months we couldn’t broach the topic, others when J.C. spoke to my expressionless face about a potential cousin for his sister’s child, and still others when I coaxed J.C. into tales of adventures we would take with a child. Somehow, we found ourselves in agreement, bracing for the ride, wherever it took us.
Nature stepped in, and left us powerless to carry any of our pregnancies to term. J.C. and I are true believers in things happening for a reason—and for us that reason is nature taking its course. Maybe our spirits were not ready; maybe our bodies were moving in another direction, maybe we were connected to some other responsibility on this earth. But for us, nature spoke. The first pregnancy ended after eight weeks, the second, ten weeks, and the third time seemed like a charm when we made it to thirteen weeks, one week into what people told us was the “safe zone” of the second trimester. Each loss felt like both devastation and relief, sort of like getting the wind...
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