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June 14, 1985

Ended Beginnings: Healing Childbearing Losses

Author Affiliations

Bluefield, WVa

JAMA. 1985;253(22):3324. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03350460126042

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After reading this book, I am convinced that the authors care about people. They render comfort and help to many women who have suffered childbearing losses. However, the authors and I view the process of labor and delivery from alien standpoints. We do not even agree on definitions. The authors say: "We define childbearing loss as not only miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death (including sudden infant death syndrome), but also infertility, release to adoption, the birth of handicapped children, and abortion. We include as well losses inherent in surgical deliveries, traumatic birth, and the post-partum period" (p xiv). Reading the book, one realizes that their definition of childbearing losses includes deliveries resulting in perfectly normal healthy children when the labor did not meet the prenatal fantasies of the mother; that is, it could not be conducted without some assistance by medical or nursing personnel. On page 35 the authors say: