Grief Unseen: Healing Pregnancy Loss through the Arts

By Laura Seftel | Go to book overview

Introduction: A Grief
Without a Shape

A grief without a shape
is imageless.
Like a hidden fish it swims
under the sea, surfacing
at will,
or like a dark moon peers
through the window of any season
or any mood.
A grief without a shape
is endless…

P. Petrie, from “Lost Child” (1984)

Pregnancy loss is an invisible loss and so, for many, becomes an invisible grief. At least one in five pregnancies ends in loss, and yet miscarriage and other reproductive crises remain almost taboo. Surprisingly, an open and in-depth discussion of pregnancy loss is still culturally forbidden. A Canadian radio production, Mothers of Miscarriage, referred to this “dark little corner of women’s fertility” as the “reluctant underground” (Burke 1999). Others have called the silence surrounding pregnancy loss the “hush syndrome.” Following my own miscarriage, I found an all but hidden network of women who had endured miscarriages. Why hadn’t I heard these stories before? British artist Simon Robertshaw, who explores pregnancy loss in his work, describes this wall of silence. “It was not until my wife had a miscarriage,” he explains, “that my mother spoke of her experience of miscarriage. I can remember thinking at the time that an unspoken code of conduct seemed to dictate that you only spoke or heard about it when it happened to you or someone close to you.”

-15-

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Grief Unseen: Healing Pregnancy Loss through the Arts
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 7
  • Foreword 9
  • Acknowledgments 13
  • Introduction- a Grief without a Shape 15
  • 1- My Story 21
  • 2- Losing a Dream 27
  • 3- Griefwork 57
  • 4- Singing the Silence 69
  • 5- Art in Therapy 95
  • 6- Art in the Studio 109
  • 7- Lost Traditions - Butter, Toads, and Miracles 125
  • 8- New Rituals - The Creative Response to Loss 139
  • 9- Creating Your Own Healing Practice through the Arts 149
  • 10- Creative Activities 155
  • Conclusion 173
  • References 175
  • Further Reading 181
  • Useful Organizations 183
  • Subject Index 187
  • Author Index 191
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