“When Pregnancy Fails”

When Pregnancy Fails

In 1978, my first child died during childbirth. And only a few months later, my best friend, Susan Borg, had a similarly horrible experience. In our many conversations to help each other heal, we realized that we had both looked for something helpful to read and found nothing. We decided that we would try to fill that gap, and we began researching the literature and interviewing bereaved parents, family members, and professionals who had worked with bereaved families. The result was When Pregnancy Fails, Families Coping with Miscarriage, Ectopic Pregnancy, Stillbirth, and Infant Death, published by Beacon Press in 1981 and revised and published by Bantam Books in 1988.

The revised edition of When Pregnancy Fails: Families Coping with Miscarriage, Ectopic Pregnancy, Stillbirth, and Infant Death is available below for downloading. Subsequent research on pregnancy loss and the creation of the Perinatal Grief Scale are described here.

Cover page, TOC, Acknowledgments, Forward


Chapter 1 – The Parents’ Grief

Chapter 2 – Miscarriage

Chapter 3 – Ectopic Pregnancy

Chapter 4 – Prenatal Diagnosis and the Unwanted Abortion

Chapter 5 – Stillbirth

Chapter 6 – Infant Death

Chapter 7 – The Couple – Impact on the Relationship

Chapter 8 – Single Women – Teenagers and Adults

Chapter 9 – Children at Home – Understanding Their Needs

Chapter 10 – Grandparents – A Special Grief

Chapter 11 – Friends and Relatives – Helping the Bereaved

Chapter 12 – Medical Care – The Families’ Needs and Experiences

Chapter 13 – Religion – Baptism, Funerals, and the Role of the Clergy

Chapter 14 – Law – Considering a Malpractice Suit

Chapter 15 – Possible Causes – Is Progress Killing Our Babies?

Chapter 16 – Recovering – Changes, Activities, and Support Groups

Chapter 17 – Another Baby? – Feelings and Opinions


Report of New Research on Pregnancy Loss

Organizations and Resources