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.
11. The Healing Journey
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This is the story of a voyage, a journey not only across the continents toward the Aegean, but across a sea of loss toward happiness and healing. This narrative is nestled within other larger narratives, like nesting bowls. It is a layering of cultural values and assumptions on top of relational needs and expectations. As with any story, its beginning is an arbitrary selection and the ending a momentary pause in the stream of life’s experience and perceptions.
My journey begins in 1998. I was a successful career woman in my late thirties, never married, but in a loving relationship with a man I hoped would someday be my husband. At the same time I was trying desperately to squelch a strong desire for children, a desire that had nagged me since my late twenties. In the book Women’s Ways of Knowing Belenky et al. (1986) write, “Many women … experience giving birth to their children as a major turning point in their lives” (p. 35). I found out that there are other turning points lurking in the shadows of women’s lives. I was about to experience one of them firsthand.
When I try to remember the early events of the journey some things are strikingly clear and others are vague. I remember having what I referred to as a “month-long period” of heavy bleeding. In retrospect, I also recall a trip to New York City during which I...
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