Unspeakable Losses: Healing From Miscarriage, Abortion, And Other Pregnancy Loss

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Overview

This comforting and healing book is a must—not only for women who have at one time experienced pregnancy loss but also for their parents, sisters, daughters, brothers, and friends. Kim Kluger-Bell's extensive fieldwork as a therapist specializing in the psychodynamics of reproductive crises strips away the shrouds of silence surrounding pregnancy losses and abortions, giving new voice to these "unspeakable losses."

Filled with in-depth stories of those who have experienced ...

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Overview

This comforting and healing book is a must—not only for women who have at one time experienced pregnancy loss but also for their parents, sisters, daughters, brothers, and friends. Kim Kluger-Bell's extensive fieldwork as a therapist specializing in the psychodynamics of reproductive crises strips away the shrouds of silence surrounding pregnancy losses and abortions, giving new voice to these "unspeakable losses."

Filled with in-depth stories of those who have experienced losses and solid, practical advice with mourning rituals and services, Unspeakable Losses is a necessary companion to all those who have experienced pregnancy loss and those who care about them.

This soothing book is a must—not simply for women who have experienced pregnancy loss, but also for their partners and those who care about them. Kim Kluger-Bell, a therapist specializing in the psychodynamics of losing a child before birth—whether to abortion, miscarriage, or other loss—strips away the shrouds of silence surrounding this unique pain. She gives new voice to these "unspeakable losses," in a culture that has rendered its discussion taboo.

Combining in-depth stories with solid, practical advice, Unspeakable Losses articulates the myriad emotional stages that arise from pregnancy loss and validates what can otherwise be a terribly lonely experience. This book is a vital companion for women and men in comprehending—and recovering from—their own experience with reproductive crisis.This soothing book is a must—not simply for women who have experienced pregnancy loss, but also for their partners and those who care about them. Kim Kluger-Bell, a therapist specializing in the psychodynamics of losing a child before birth—whether to abortion, miscarriage, or other loss—strips away the shrouds of silence surrounding this unique pain. She gives new voice to these "unspeakable losses," in a culture that has rendered its discussion taboo.

Combining in-depth stories with solid, practical advice, Unspeakable Losses articulates the myriad emotional stages that arise from pregnancy loss and validates what can otherwise be a terribly lonely experience. This book is a vital companion for women and men in comprehending—and recovering from—their own experience with reproductive crisis.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688173906
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/28/2000
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 180
  • Sales rank: 340,582
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Kim Kluger-Bell is a psychotherapist and marriage and family therapist in private practice in Berkeley, California. She specializes in helping individuals and couples heal from such reproductive crises as infertility, pregnancy loss, and abortion. She lives in Albany, California, with her husband and son.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Silent Suffering

I have a dreamlike image of waiting, terrified, outside my mother's bathroom door knowing only that she is sitting on the toilet and bleeding. I think she is calling to me to get her some sanitary napkins and I can't find them and she is panicky and I don't know what is happening.

I must have been about ten years old at the time. My mother ended up in the hospital. My father told me later that she'd had a miscarriage. Id never heard the word before but the way he said it made me think that I shouldn't ask too many questions. He told me, though, that it meant she had been pregnant and that she had lost the baby. I think he said it had been a boy and that I shouldn't tell anyone else, even my younger sisters, because they were too little and they wouldn't understand.

I remember being astounded that I might have had a little brother—that he was there and now he was gone. But not another word was ever spoken about the incident and my memory of it receded into that hazy half-known place where things might just as well be dreams as actual events.



Many years later, a married college friend of mine had a miscarriage. I remember going to visit her not long after it happened and being surprised by how upset she was. Her tears were incomprehensible to me. I had spent most of my adult life being convinced that I could become pregnant in a heartbeat, and I was trying conscientiously to avoid that dreaded state. Though I muttered some sympathetic words to her, secretly I condemned her for her exaggerated reaction. My god, she was behaving as thoughsomeone close to her had died!

Fifteen years after my friend had her miscarriage I was sitting in a class, having recently found out that I was pregnant with my second, badly wanted child. Suddenly, I felt a rush of warm blood come gushing out of me. With it came the long-buried terror surrounding my mother's miscarriage, but I was convinced that if I could hold on tightly enough I could save the baby we had been trying more than two years to conceive.



Every few hours I had been checking myself for signs of blood: whether it was brown or red, how much there was of it. My doctor had been monitoring my hormone levels with sensitive blood tests every few days too. If the numbers didn't go up quickly enough I was in for either a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. Nothing was definitive until I saw the blood: bright red and flowing freely. I tried to stop it up with toilet paper. I tried to sit very, very still. I tried to cross my legs and hold it in. But still it came. I could feel it flowing out of me, my lifeblood, my baby.

On the way to the hospital I felt as though I were observing this scene from a distance, as if it were happening to someone else, a long time ago.



These are the echoes of ancient losses, pebbles tossed carelessly into the pond, reverberating with past and future significance. There is hardly a life untouched by a pregnancy loss, and yet each one seems so unknowable and unknown. We seem to have no words to name our experiences of these losses. Or perhaps we turn away in an attempt to avoid a confrontation with one of life's darkest and cruelest twists, a life ended before it begins.

These are the facts: Every year 890,000 of the 6.5 million pregnancies in the United States end in some form of miscarriage or stillbirth and another 1.5 million end in abortion. In the space of one short year almost 2.5 million people are affected by pregnancy losses of one kind or another.

It is hard to imagine a statistic related to life and death that is more prevalent, yet at the same time less widely known. A woman in her early forties who had three miscarriages in a little over two years puts it this way:

I had never really realized how many miscarriages there were until I had one. That's when people would "come out" about it, and talk about their own miscarriages. Like they were coming out of the closet! But when it happened the first time I was really unprepared ... it made me feel like there was something really wrong with me because I had never heard of anybody having them.



How is it that we have not heard? That we do not know? Another woman describes her lack of preparation for the emotional impact of her abortion:

I wasn't prepared for the crisis I went through when I got pregnant accidentally after my fourth child. I grew up in the sixties. I had always thought about abortions as being a pretty straightforward medical procedure. I was-and still am-strongly in favor of a parent's right to choose whether to bear a child. But I wasn't at all prepared for my reaction when I was faced with that choice. I knew that for a lot of reasons we couldn't have another child but I couldn't bring myself to make that appointment. I postponed it for a really long time, until it was almost too late. I did finally go through with...


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 11
Preface 13
Chapter 1 Silent Suffering 17
Chapter 2 The Broken Promise: Early Losses 29
Chapter 3 A Grief Delayed: Later Losses 51
Chapter 4 The Dilemma of Choice: Abortion--Elective, Genetic, and Multifetal Reductions 69
Chapter 5 Lost Fathers: Men's Experience of Pregnancy Loss and Abortion 99
Chapter 6 Living with Loss 119
Appendix A Common Experiences Shared by Those Coping with a Reproductive Crisis 135
Appendix B For Family and Friends Whose Loved Ones Are Dealing with a Reproductive Crisis 141
Appendix C Special Notes for Mental Health and Medical Professionals 144
Resources
Pregnancy Loss 148
Abortion and Genetics 151
Infertility 153
Internet 154
Notes 156
Bibliography 161
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2013

    As someone whom experienced this on a personal level and is, wha

    As someone whom experienced this on a personal level and is, what would have been, a father. This was one of the only books that had anything on the unspoken truth that, yes, men suffer too. That acknowledgement that any loss of associated with a pregnancy can be or is equally as painful for the father as it is for the expecting mother. I was of the latter. The lack of studies done, on grieving father's and the societal pressures that they feel obliged to uphold, these false expectations that are placed upon men is a major contributor to the lack of attention which should be brought into light for not all men are unempathetic Neanderthals. Society doesn't reflect much on the topic of men and how they have absolutely no say so in the matter; Leading some men towards a sense of helplessness and that it is beyond their control simply because it is. We are expected to suck it up, to be the strong one, to be detached, but this can not be disguised for all one has to do is to dig a little bit into the ice-berg filled with hidden remorse, pain, the feeling that you paid hard-earned money just to terminate the child I never had. Yes, once one reflects on this, from a differing perspective, its like puncturing a damn the and this levee is about to breach with unspoken years and societal taboos like unspoken tears on men's behalf. I highly recommend this book for I could not understand why, the woman I was going to have a family and child with, all of a sudden felt the impulsive reaction to vilify me. This book made it absolutely clear that in order for her to go through with was our first unwanted, unplanned, abortion that, in her mind, she, first, had to vilify my character in order to justify her actions, even though I did nothing but keep true to my word which was, "I will support you, no matter what your decision is.". That this may occur with some women, this book also helped unravel and understand many behaviors she had towards me prior and post abortion. We planned on having the child, I was 21 and she was 19, I remember meeting her father for the first time, whom is a prominent attorney in the town that I live in, that I was pleased to meet him, his daughter was pregnant with our child, and that I was asking for his blessing to marry her. That I would do whatever it took to make this work out. It was my final semester of undergraduate school and I took up three jobs in anticipation. That was a tremendous "gulp" I had to take. I remember the sonograms where I could see the little hands and feet for the first time. Once I honored my word after she changed her mind during the last week that was legally possible, she decided to have an abortion, and I paid for it in full. I had reoccurring nightmares of a daughter in tears asking me, "Daddy, why did you do this to me?" and for that, to this day, I still have no answers. After all this had happened, I was absolutely shunned by her, she almost acted like she hated me, and I had no answers as to why. This book provided me with those reasons. Buy it, especially if you are a man finding themselves in a grieving situation such as I did fifteen years ago.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2009

    WONDERFUL BOOK FOR SOMEONE GOING THROUGH A RECENT LOSS OF A BABY/FETUS/

    I ORDERED THREE BOOKS AFTER A RECENT LOSS OF SOMEONE VERY CLOSE TO ME. HAVING NOT LOST A CHILD/FETUS MYSELF, IT WAS DIFFICULT TO WITNESS AND THE ONGOING GRIEF WAS ALSO HARD TO SEE. SOMEHOW OUR SOCIETY DOES NOT TALK MUCH ABOUT MISCARRIAGE/LOSS......YET, LOSING A CHILD AT ANY STAGE OF PREGNANCY IS DIFFICULT AND THE LOSS VERY HARD TO DEAL WITH. IT IS A DASHING OF SO MANY HOPES AND DREAMS...
    THIS BOOK GAVE COMFORT AND ANSWERS AND HOPE. I WOULD RECOMMEND IT TO ANYONE WITH A LOSS AT ANY POINT IN PREGNANCY AND ALSO THOSE HAVING TO MAKE AN INFORMED CHOICE, SOMETHING ELSE OUR SOCIETY HAS NOT YET COME TO TERMS WITH......

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2009

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    Posted August 18, 2010

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