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Motherhood Lost: A Feminist Account of Pregnancy Loss in America

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ISBN-13: 978-0415911481
ISBN-10: 0415911486
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Editorial Reviews


Motherhood Lost is a beautiful and passionate book. In this insightful ethnographic investigation, Linda Layne weaves together the intersecting religious, biomedical, consumerist and familial practices that surround and construct pregnancy loss in contemporary America. This moving book enables us to understand the cultural construction of silence and forgetting that has too long accompanied the grief of miscarriage and stillbirth, beckoning us to recognize and remake a world in which women's losses can be remembered. -- Rayna Rapp, author of Testing Women, Testing the Fetus: The Social Impact of Amniocentesis in America and Professor of Anthropology, New York University
This is what happens when the best of anthropological insight is informed by personal experience: Linda Layne's motherhood Lost is thoughtful and thought-provoking, a contribution to both the social science literature and to the growing literature of pregnancy loss. -- Barbara Katz Rothman, author of The Book of Life; co-author, Centuries of Solace: Expressions of Maternal Grief in Popular Literature
Linda Layne's voice here is lucid and engaging, sophisticated without being jargon-ridden, and exceptionally convincing. Grounded in a magisterial survey of relevant literatures and in a striking sense of the lives of families and individuals in very difficult circumstances - as well as in often painful long-term relationships with a range of complex and consequential institutions - Motherhood Lost maps new and provocative scholarly territory. It is an example of anthropology at its best, addressing a cluster of significant contemporary issues with empathy, insight, and a very powerful array of interpretive strategies. -- Donald Brenneis, Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz
Motherhood Lost gets right to the heart of the matter in describing the tragedy of pregnancy loss. From her personal experience, as well as the indepth study of other parents' experiences, Dr. Layne writes with both scholarship and passion, bringing understanding to sorrow. Her voice adds significantly to the field of perinatal loss. -- Janis L. Keyser, Ph.D., Director, UNITE Grief Support; Director, The Center for Grieving Children, Teens and Families, Philadelphia, PA
Pregnancy loss may not be everybody's cup of tea, but don't miss Layne's concoction: a brimming potful of interviews and insights, mixed with a pinch of piquant memoir and a splash of feminist manifesto. The result is a smart, sensible explanation of the cultural narratives that impede our ability to deal humanely with pregnancy loss. Compassionate, sensitive, and pragmatic, Motherhood Lost offers us a compelling recipe for social change. -- Lynn M. Morgan is co-editor of Fetal Subjects, Feminist Positions
Linda Layne has authored an unparalleled and scholarly work, giving light and voice to the silent despair suffered through the ages by countless parents whose children have died before birth. Dr. Layne has embraced through her personal journey and her in-depth study, the very core of the complexity of understanding what mothers feel when they endure a pregnancy loss, how society has ignored these feelings and why we must now, remove our estrangement from these 'unspeakable losses,' acknowledge them, strive to understand them and above all comfort those who suffer them. It is my hope and expectation that those who read Motherhood Lost will hear and come to know the silent voice in the butterfly's breath-and understand. -- Michael R. Berman, M.D. Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Yale University School of Medicine, author of Parenthood Lost: Healing the Pain after Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Death
I read Linda's work to the wee hours of the morning and was awestruck by her in-depth historical account of the pregnancy loss movement in our country. I was touched how the time line of perinatal loss growth was richly discerned by the stories of those who walked the journey of grief. By sharing the personal accounts she provided validation to the women who often grieve silently plus educated those whose lives are entrusted to their care. Motherhood Lost not only provided an eye-opening explanation of the past and present issues but also in essence will open new doors for tomorrows by escalating the awareness of this very important issue for all women, not just the bereaved. -- Cathi Lammert, Executive Director, SHARE Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support, Inc.

About the Author

Linda L. Layne is Hale Professor of Anthropology and Director of Graduate Studies on the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (November 24, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415911486
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415911481
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,841,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Susan Henderson on October 20, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Finally, a book about miscarriage that goes beyond the medical facts! I appreciated Dr. Layne's critical analysis of how American culture, medical technology, and support groups affect and deal with pregnancy loss. I often wondered how pro-choice women experienced and understood miscarriage and why it was downplayed or overlooked in the women's health movement and literature- this was the first book I found in which these subjects were addressed.
The last chapter is an inspiring research and socio-political agenda for raising awareness of pregnancy loss and increasing support to those affected by it. There is an extensive bibliography to refer to for further reading and the entire book is well-referenced.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in exploring the complex issues related to pregnancy loss in more depth.
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Motherhood Lost: A Feminist Account of Pregnancy Loss in America
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