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Communicating Pregnancy Loss

Narrative as a Method for Change

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Edited By 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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19. Turning Tragedy Into Triumph: A Hero&’s JourneyFrom Bereaved Parent to International Advocate

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SHEROKEE ILSE AND KARA L.C. JONES

Kara: In this chapter, I offer guidance to Sherokee through the Hero’s Journey (Rebillot, 1993) as she explores her story of love and death. Together we explore Homeground, the Call to Adventure, the Guides, Hero’s Initiation, Discovering Our Shield, Council of Heroes, Instruments of Power, Confronting and Summiting With the Shadow, Confronting Obstacles and Blocks, and Rewards and Re-Newed Homeground.

The Hero’s Journey reveals itself like a spiral staircase. We come round and round to explore and re-explore, from a flight or two up or down, from a different perspective, always with new insights to our experiences. After a death, we can get caught up in the concepts of getting better, getting over it, “working” grief, or finding closure. But there is no cutoff. No end to the relationship with a child who died. No hard work to be done. Rather, there is a cycle, a way of walking through the post-death world through remembering and re-membering. Re-membering. As in repairing dismembered parts of expectations, dreams, heart, self, and identity that have shattered. A way of finding peace from the pieces. As well as remembering the child we love.

We all have the ability to re-make meaning and come into relationships with our loves and losses in ways that let our hearts be—not just broken—but rather broken open to making new meaning, to rediscovering or redefining our lives and identities. I hope...

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