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.
4. Unscripted Loss: A Hesitant Narrativeof a Reconstructed Family
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JULIE L. G. WALKER AND BENJAMIN M. WALKER
In November 2011 we lost our first child to miscarriage. Navigating this loss required reconstructing our family identity. We had to decide how being childless parents impacted us as individuals and as a couple. We had to determine with whom we would share our miscarriage story. When we shared our story, we had to choose which details to reveal. That is what this chapter is about: rediscovering ourselves through sharing our story.
Writing this thrust us both (particularly Ben) into reflective positions about how we experienced the event. Sharing our story together meant we had to negotiate our tandem writing. Several examples of tandem writing exist. Fasset and Warren (2006) used a single narrative voice with no clear distinction between which author’s life included the events described. Ellis and Bochner (1992) used separate voices to write a play. hooks (1994) “interviewed” herself to convey a nuanced understanding of her experiences. We decided to separate our voices into short, interchanging segments to simultaneously share our experiences. Specifically we wanted Ben’s voice to be distinct because male voices are neither invited nor included in the majority of miscarriage narratives. Below is our story: JW represents Julie in roman font, while BW represents Ben in italics.
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