“Things change, things aren’t always a given”: Exploring the Experiences of Miscarriage: A Narrative Analysis.

Prof Doc Thesis


Rogers, M. 2020. “Things change, things aren’t always a given”: Exploring the Experiences of Miscarriage: A Narrative Analysis. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.89496
AuthorsRogers, M.
TypeProf Doc Thesis
Abstract

Introduction: Miscarriage continues to be a prevalent experience; one in four pregnancies will end in miscarriage and is the most common adverse outcome of pregnancy. It can be both emotionally and physically impactful, yet often goes unrecognised and rarely discussed. Literature reviewed highlighted the societal and medical discourses that surround pregnancy and motherhood, yet how such socio-political discourses influence a miscarriage experience have been seldomly explored. This alongside a lack of discussion on embodied experiences prompted an exploration of the ways individuals narrate and share their stories of miscarriage.
Methods: Eight women who had experiences of miscarriage were interviewed to collect data that related to the ways participants constructed narratives and how these influenced their sense-of-self. An interest in embodiment theory and socio-political discourse developed from the literature review, led to the application of visual methods as part of interviews, to help generate narratives. A critical narrative analysis was then utilised to explore the data collected.
Findings: Participants drew from ‘medical’, ‘natural instinct’ and ‘social expectation’ discourses, which generated narratives of failure, self-blame and guilt. Discourses which adhere to linear notions of progress, led participants to feel disempowered with limited agency over their bodies and subjective experience. In the absence of societal norms and public discussion around miscarriage, participants often felt unaware and unprepared and attempted to make sense of their experience in isolation using a range of frameworks and perspectives.

Discussion: Findings emphasise the ways in which individuals felt disempowered with limited self-agency, and viewed their subjective experiences as neglected. Due to the lack of available discourse and prevailing assumptions which link pregnancy and motherhood to female identity, miscarriage remains a stigmatised and marginalised experience. Implications of the findings are to support a social justice agenda in clinical practice, in order to reduce the silence and taboo associated with miscarriage. Furthermore, it is highlighted that working with the body in therapy may counter a mind/body dualism, which can facilitate raising awareness of subjective experience.

Keywordsmiscarriage; pregnancy loss; narrative analysis; visual methods
Year2020
PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.89496
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Publication dates
Online28 Apr 2021
Publication process dates
Submitted12 Nov 2020
Deposited28 Apr 2021
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