Mourning Unlived Lives

Reviewed Title: 
Mourning Unlived Lives
Reviewed Author: 

This book is an excellent applied theoretical treatise for mental health professionals on the factors influencing bereavement as relates to the impact and dynamics their clients/patients experience with reproductive perinatal loss (miscarriage, still births, neonatal death). As a person who has also sustained many losses in her life, including a perinatal loss, Ms. Savage sensitively presents the intrapsychic conflicts couples (especially mothers) experience, as well as the difficulty they encounter, in resolving such a loss because of the lack of history Qength of time) and a concretized relationship between the parent(s) and prenate/neonate. She also clearly elucidates how this type of loss more intricately and profoundly affects those who experience such a loss for a prolonged period of time when not grieved to resolution.

As a Jungian analyst, she uses this frame of reference to show the influence of the symbolic images common to all humankind on attachment and separation/loss in contrast to the limited perspective of the traditional Freudian psychoanalytical interpretation of grieving lost relationships. She also compares and contrasts the Jungian model with the more current models of Bowlby, Parkes, Lindemann, Kavanaugh, Kubler-Ross, Marris, and other thanatological psychologists for understanding bereavement and grief dynamics and the uniqueness of a reproductive perinatal loss.

The flow of the text can become "bogged down" for those who are not acquainted with the Jungian model and terminology. Being a theoretical treatise, the book uses an intellectual style rather than enbodying a more fluid reading style which incorporates emotional interaction with the content. For this reason it is not recommended for someone who is in the midst of grieving a reproductive perinatal loss. It is primarily for the professional audience and for parents of reproductive perinatal loss who have resolved and integrated their loss (deceased child), and are ready for a more cognitive context in which to understand in greater depth the journey they went through.

Publication Date: 
12/1990