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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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17. Barren and Abandoned: Our Representations Left Unsharedand Uncharted


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I didn’t get pregnant and my husband left me. I am bereft of family.2

Health and Fertility/Infertility

The World Health Organization (1946) defines health as “the total state of physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease” (p. 694). Our journey through infertility and health care intersects with dedicated professionals and eight years of treatments that narrowly target my physical well-being; nothing explains our problem (thus, there is an absence of disease), yet failed treatment after failed treatment is recorded in the medical chart. Without the dreamed of pregnancy, I am physically unwell. Even more, I am mentally and socially unwell. I am in a total state of unwell-being. Our doctors leave me physically unwell and are guilty bystanders as my mental and social well-being—and to some degree Eduardo’s—disintegrate. I am unable to fathom how deeply bereft I am. It is/was unimaginable, yet we lived this experience.

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