Grief Unseen: Healing Pregnancy Loss through the Arts

By Laura Seftel | Go to book overview

Foreword

Grief Unseen: Healing Pregnancy Loss Through the Arts is a genuine gift – one that can be especially understood and appreciated because the author, Laura Seftel, has personally lived through the loss of her own baby in miscarriage and over time has discovered some of the resulting gifts. Thankfully, she shares them with all of us through this new book.

The club that no one wants to join: The Secret Club. These are words I have used for years when speaking to families who have had a baby die in miscarriage, stillbirth or other infant death. I joined this club unwillingly in 1979 after our miscarriage and again in 1981 after the full-term stillbirth of our son. Sadly, the silence following each was deafening. The world, my family, my friends, and colleagues felt terrible for us but they had no words or experience to know how to talk with my husband David and me. Nor did we, at the time.

Our little treasures were gone. Poof. Outwardly we looked much the same; inwardly we were a mess, a disaster with no sense of how to cope or even begin to heal. First we had to feel it and grieve it: something foreign to both of us.

Over the many months that followed, I did discover the need to remember both Brennan, our stillborn son and Marama, our newly named miscarried baby. The process of remembering, expressing my feelings, and reaching out to others came out in the art form of writing. I had not found a book to read at the time, nor did I find one piece of expressive artwork that gave voice to my feelings. So I wrote my own.

As I look back, it is now clear that the early 1980s were the transition period from the “dark ages of perinatal bereavement” when little or no words were spoken beyond, “I’m so very sorry,” if one was lucky enough to hear that. Miscarriage, stillbirth, and even the death of a baby who lived briefly were considered by most people as “non-events.”

Thankfully, things began to change around that time and I was fortunate to be one of the handful of people who were inspired to be a part of that change. With Susan Erling and six other bereaved parents, we created a national nonprofit organization – the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Center in Minneapolis.

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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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