Narrative as a Method for Change
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.
3. Looking for Their Light: Advancing Knowledge andSupporting Women by Listening to Pregnancy Loss Narratives
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JENNIFER L. FAIRCHILD AND MICHAEL IRVIN ARRINGTON
This chapter details the process whereby we developed research interests in women’s experiences of pregnancy loss. First, Jennifer explains the origins of her interest in the topic. Then Michael, who served as a mentor to Jennifer, recounts interactions that heightened his interest in the topic. Connections between us emerge through reflections on relevant past conversations. Our personal and research experiences were influenced by knowing women who experienced miscarriage firsthand. We sensed their pain but felt powerless to help them. Hence, their experiences served as points of origin for our own stories of inadequate support.
The chapter illustrates encounters that motivate scholars to investigate pregnancy loss and its attendant challenges. Any of our experiences might prompt us to consider our potential to reduce the suffering of others through our scholarship and other actions. The role of the scholar extends beyond the classroom, into our larger social worlds.
Our lived experiences often provide motivations for research. These stories present memorable events that motivated us to try to assist women and their support providers through a traumatic experience. In addition, vis-à-vis pregnancy loss accounts, we highlight the potential utility of the narratives of relative outsiders—a relative, a friend, or even a stranger with a willing ear.
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