Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Supervisor

Dr Susan Ash


This thesis argues that cultural and discursive attitudes towards miscarriage, stillbirth and abortion attribute maternal blame to these losses and silence the expression of grief over them. It further argues that, following pregnancy loss, this silence and blame, coupled with the veneration and discursive production of motherhood as a woman's biological and psychical destiny, produce 'symptoms' that, according to Freud, are a sign of a pathological melancholia. I suggest, however, that these symptoms - self-reproach and impoverishment of the ego as responses to pregnancy loss, do not necessarily indicate a woman's pathological failure to resolve loss but reflect the social context in which pregnancy loss occurs and the discursive production of miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion and motherhood.

Included in

Poetry Commons