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‘Now I’m a weird mother who doesn’t care’: Women’s experiences of pregnancy remains disposal following miscarriage in England

Kilshaw, Susie; (2024) ‘Now I’m a weird mother who doesn’t care’: Women’s experiences of pregnancy remains disposal following miscarriage in England. Mortality 10.1080/13576275.2024.2319748. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Pregnancy ends and its materials are framed differently depending on the social and historical context. Engaging with scholarship on the plasticity of meaning around pregnancy materials, this paper illustrates how the approach to pregnancy remains has changed in England since the 1980s, with remains progressively being treated as human remains with associated assumption of mourning. The paper revisits interview data collected between 2014–2016 with women who had recently miscarried, revealing diversity in approaches to miscarriage and pregnancy remains. The women’s experiences preceded the issuance of guidance by the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) in 2015, which informed revising of clinical approaches to pregnancy remains disposal. The data is important in documenting practices around pregnancy remains and the way such approaches were formalised in activities of care. During the unfamiliar experience of miscarriage, the clinic was a key site of prescription and exploration, having a defining role in the meaning of pregnancy materials. Drawing on ethnographic research the paper provides examples of how women navigate these practices and possible frictions that emerge when approaches differ. The paper argues that clinical practices do not provide sufficient flexibility to respond to the diversity of women’s approaches to their pregnancy material.

Type: Article
Title: ‘Now I’m a weird mother who doesn’t care’: Women’s experiences of pregnancy remains disposal following miscarriage in England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/13576275.2024.2319748
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13576275.2024.2319748
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third-party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Pregnancy loss; miscarriage; disposal; bereavement; hospital practices; England
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10187687
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