This thesis is comprised of ten Mormon women's miscarriage stories and it is their stories that are used as the text for my analysis. The purpose of the study is to provide a space for these women to share their experiences and to reveal their cultural values and beliefs. Because the women are all Mormon, there are some distinctive cultural and religious values that are shared within their stories and it is these aspects that are analyzed and discussed within the text.
Women need to be able to share their miscarriage stories so as to alleviate feelings of isolation and grief. Many of the women in the interviews agreed that talking to others about their miscarriage helped them to feel less isolated and that they were not alone in their experience. Because there is no specific ritual in our society for miscarriage, women struggle to know how to deal with their grief. Again, being able to talk about their experience provides a "marker" to remember the pregnancy--to animate the invisible.
A common response found with women who miscarry is a sense of guilt--guilt that they somehow caused the demise of the pregnancy by strenuous physical exercise, feelings of uncertainty about wanting the pregnancy or taking medications that could affect the baby. These feelings of guilt extended into religious issues as some of the women questioned whether the miscarriage was a result of their spiritual state or their relationship with God.
The women also talk in detail about the actual physical occurrence of the miscarriage. Many described how they felt about their bodies during and after the miscarriage. There were feelings of embarrassment or weakness and they questioned why their body had reacted the way it did. Enabling the women to talk about their bodies in such an intimate and personal way can be empowering as well as an excellent means to educate the women's societies about the real physical and emotional effects of miscarriage.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Ballif, Kristin Leifson, "Oral Performances as Ritual: Animating the invisible in Mormon Women's Miscarriage Stories" (1998). Theses and Dissertations. 4497.
Miscarriage, Consolation, Mormon women, Women in the Mormon Church