Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Lori Roscoe, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Mariaelana Bartesaghi, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Keith Berry, Ph.D.


culture, feminism, miscarriage, spirituality


This thesis examines how young, married, heterosexual Christian couples talk about and make sense of pregnancy loss, specifically loss before the twentieth week. Studies of pregnancy loss often focus on individual differences in response to pregnancy loss, but this research engages a shared, relational notion of pregnancy loss. Furthermore, this project focuses on Christianity as a tool for making sense of pregnancy loss, not simply a demographic characteristic. I conducted six open-ended interviews with two couples, with one interview together and an individual follow-up interview with each spouse. Following the interviews, I analyzed and interpreted the interview transcripts for symbols of identity and forms, which are communicative practices described by Carbaugh (1996) that construct social identity and cultural scenes, to examine how pregnancy loss is characterized as a "me," "you" and "we" experience. Through this analysis I observed how multiple agents (God, the couple, the community, family members and clinicians) continually construct what pregnancy loss means for the couple, but also for this cultural scene. This is a transformative experience for all entities as they continually interact with this notion of loss. Significantly, these couples see this experience continuing on past death and know that they will see their baby "in heaven."

Included in

Communication Commons