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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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2. Honoring Stories of Miscarriage in the Medical Context:A Plea to Health Care Providers


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I was eight weeks into my first pregnancy when I started spotting. No gushing blood, no pain or cramping, but I was spotting nonetheless. I knew other people who had spotted during pregnancy and had gone on to delivery beautiful, healthy babies, but I was still panicked. My midwife ordered an ultrasound, and hearing the heartbeat of our first child in the darkened ultrasound room is a moment my husband and I will never forget. We breathed an enormous sigh of relief and braced ourselves for the possibility that I might bleed throughout my entire pregnancy with no other complications.

Two weeks later, I was cleaning the house and planning a romantic evening of dinner and a movie while my husband attended commencement ceremonies for our university. It was a smoldering June day, and I had opted out of participating just to err on the side of caution. Early that afternoon, I felt a sharp pain in my left side and a wave of nausea. I immediately called the nurse’s line at my midwife’s office. The nurse who answered told me, in a very matter-of-fact-I-hear-this-every-day tone of voice, to drink lots of water and rest lying on my left side. I asked whether I should go to the hospital, and she said, “Only if you see bright red blood.” “Which hospital?” I inquired. I was living in a small, rural town at the time, and the local hospital did...

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