Women's Narratives of Miscarriage and their Role in Identity Construction
Wallis, Emma Louise Gwendoline
Rationale and Aims: Literature surrounding miscarriage is broad in scope, yet existing research into women’s narrative identity constructions following miscarriage is significantly under-explored. Few studies have utilised narrative methodology to gain insight into how women story their experience of miscarriage and how sense-making processes influence identity construction. Consequently, the complexities and nuances of these processes have not been adequately explored. The current study aimed to address these gaps and limitations to enrich understanding of how women construct their experience of miscarriage, and to offer recommendations for clinical psychology and broader healthcare practices. Methods: This qualitative study utilised narrative inquiry to explore how six women between the ages of 25-50 who are involuntarily childless storied their lived experience of miscarriage. A cross-sectional design was employed using retrospective individual interviews. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed according to thematic, structural, interactional, performative and discursive aspects of storytelling. Discussion: Summaries of individual accounts are presented, followed by collective storylines which represent stories of change, challenge, and growth. The ways in which participants appeared to draw on and resist wider social narratives are presented, which offers insight into the aspects of self that were invited forward and silenced. Implications: This research produced new knowledge about how women construct experience of miscarriage. Important recommendations for clinical practice are offered, which has the potential to influence developments in NHS maternal mental health services across England, as well as to raise awareness and inspire action at the community and individual level.
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