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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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Afterword: How to Do Things With Stories

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JAY BAGLIA AND RACHEL E. SILVERMAN

The stories in this collection give voice to those who have lost a pregnancy. Nowhere does there exist such a collection, one that gives each contributor the space to tell her or his own story with this level of intensity and vibrancy. The women and men who suffer pregnancy loss are rarely given the opportunity to speak and to tell their stories. They are often silenced by the medical community, by their well-meaning peers and families, and even sometimes by books intending to help people cope with loss. Narratives of pregnancy loss (whether those found here or those shared among close friends) are easily read through the lens of the personal and yet feminists have good reasons to identify connections between contemporary political moments and the significance of sharing or silencing personal narratives of pregnancy loss. In today’s political climate, those who have experienced losses may also be silenced by the elected officials meant to protect them.

Famous for giving voice to women, Gloria Steinem embarked on a speaking tour in advance of the November 2012 elections, and on October 19, 2012, she spoke at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando to a modest crowd of approximately one hundred people. During the next few days, she traveled throughout the state of Florida, speaking at a variety of venues and stressing the importance of each person’s vote. While at UCF, she told the crowd that...

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