Although there are far more opportunities for LGBTQ people to become parents than there were before the 1990s, attention to the reproductive challenges LGBTQ families face has not kept pace.
Reproductive Losses considers LGBTQ people’s experiences with miscarriage, stillbirth, failed adoptions, infertility, and sterility. Drawing on Craven’s training as a feminist anthropologist and her experiences as a queer parent who has experienced loss, Reproductive Losses includes detailed stories drawn from over fifty interviews with LGBTQ people (including those who carried pregnancies, non-gestational and adoptive parents, and families from a broad range of racial/ethnic, socio-economic, and religious backgrounds) to consider how they experience loss, grief, and mourning. The book includes productive suggestions and personal narratives of resiliency, commemorative strategies, and communal support, while also acknowledging the adversity many LGBTQ people face as they attempt to form families and the heteronormativity of support resources for those who have experienced reproductive loss.
This is essential reading for scholars and professionals interested in LGBTQ health and family, and for individuals in LGBTQ communities who have experienced loss and those who support them.
Table of Contents
1. A Political and Personal Commitment
2. Troubling the "Progressive" Narrative
3. Methodological Considerations
4. LGBTQ Stories of Reproductive Losses
5. Encountering Adversity
6. Deafening Heteronormativity
7. Economic Precarity
8. Malleable Losses
9. Queer Resiliancy
10. Moving Forward
Appendix A: Invitation to Participate
Appendix B: Interview Questions References
"Craven brings forth seldom told narratives of struggle and loss in LGBTQ family building, bringing to light the totality of our experiences, providing validation, affirming our humanity, and giving our care providers a road map to support us—a must read for anyone who works with queer and transgender parents, and a vital resource for any LGBTQ parent-to-be experiencing reproductive loss."
—Kristin Kali, owner and Licensed Midwife at MAIA Midwifery & Fertility, professional trainer and consultant specializing in LGBTQ family building and gender inclusivity
"Craven’s insightful examination of the layered issues of institutionalized homophobia, racism, and sexism provides a captivating exposure to the challenges LGBTQ people face in pursuit of family making…Written in a style which is relatable for an audience wider than the LGTBQ community, it is certain to advance awareness for anyone interested in reproductive health and promote needed change in the health care system."
—Lisa Paisley-Cleveland, PhD, LCSW, Sociology, Hunter College, author of Black Middle-Class Women and Pregnancy Loss
"Shining a light on the invisible, Christa Craven gives voice to the painful experience of pregnancy loss by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people. A beautiful book!"
—Laura Mamo, PhD, Health Equity Institute, San Francisco State University, author of Queering Reproduction
"I strongly recommend Christa Craven’s Reproductive Losses: Challenges to LGBTQ Family Making to parents, practitioners, and academics interested in understanding the complex and poignant dimensions of love, loss, and hope in queer parenting and family making. Craven eloquently and simultaneously weaves powerful first-hand accounts with incisive interdisciplinary analyses in this pioneering book. I especially appreciate the relevance of this book for multiple areas of clinical and educational practice and the inclusion of a rich array of LGBTQ parents from diverse racial, economic, sexual, and gender experiences."
—Katherine R. Allen, PhD, Human Development and Family Science, Virginia Tech, co-editor of Handbook of Feminist Family Studies and LGBT-Parent Families
"It isn’t often that academic texts hold the potential to move the reader in the ways that Reproductive Losses does. Given the topic, the book is moving in expected ways: the narratives included are those of loss, trauma, and discrimination. Yet the book is also moving for the sensitive and heartfelt attention that Craven gives to the narratives. Further, the book is moving for the commitment that Craven displays to honouring diversity, for holding loss and growth in tension, and for a commitment to social change. Reproductive Losses is thus a book that should sit on the shelves of everyone working in the fields of gender, sexuality, and reproduction."
—Damien W. Riggs, PhD, Psychology, Flinders University, psychotherapist, author (with Clemence Due) of A Critical Approach to Surrogacy
"Christa Craven’s book on reproductive loss among LGBTQ parents encourages critical and fresh examination of questions such as "What is a parent?" and "What is loss?", and nuances and personalizes political debates surrounding reproductive rights and LGBTQ parenthood. It is a highly readable, engaging text that effectively engages multiple audiences, including LGBTQ parents, professionals, and researchers. Craven connects diverse strands of research (e.g., on adoption, infertility, reproduction, and LGBTQ parenthood), all of which involve loss in some way and yet are rarely conceptualized or discussed together. Her book, and her interviews with participants, spotlight heteronormativity as a heavy blanket that cloaks and nuances the experience of reproductive loss—but also, on a hopeful note, points to personal and collective possibilities for resilience, growth, and empowerment. Craven’s commitment to public scholarship is evident in her inclusion of practical resources, such as the inclusion of digital, interactive content which accompanies the book."
—Abbie E. Goldberg, PhD, Psychology, Clark University and author of Gay Dads: Transitions to Adoptive Fatherhood and co-editor of LGBT-Parent Families
"The challenges of going through reproductive loss by expectant parents often vary depending on the context in which the pregnancy was conceived. This book presents a clear case for knowledgeable, skillful, and unconditional care and support for members of LGBTQ community going through reproductive loss. It should be a required text for medical, nursing, midwifery, and psychology practitioners and students."
—Danuta M. Wojnar, PhD, RN, College of Nursing, Seattle University, author of The Experience of Lesbian Miscarriage
"In anthropologist Christa Craven’s new book, previously invisible and silenced queer experiences of reproductive loss are meticulously researched and thoughtfully presented. Craven’s work is a significant step forward in the conversation on reproductive justice and LGBTQ rights. This book and its companion website should be required reading for anyone who wishes to explore the complexities of mourning, grief, reproductive loss, and queer resiliency."
—Cara Bergstrom-Lynch, PhD, Sociology, Eastern Connecticut University, author of Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals Becoming Parents or Remaining Childfree
About the Author
Christa Craven is a cultural and medical anthropologist based at the College of Wooster in the US. Her research centers around reproductive health politics, practice, and activism. She is the former co-chair of the Association for Queer Anthropology.