In a patriarchal culture, pregnancy is celebrated and valorised, while miscarriage is made invisible and tabooed. A conspicuous silence is evidently linked to miscarriages even though it is the most prevalent pregnancy-related health issue. In a close reading of two memoirs of miscarriage: Elizabeth McCracken’s An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination (2008), and Ariel Levy’s The Rules Do Not Apply (2017), this paper examines how the authors use their narratives to foreground their plight. Drawing theoretical insights from Alison Reiheld, Ann Cahill, and William Ruddick, among others, the paper argues that these memoirs not only narrate the typically repressed episodes of miscarriage but also endeavour to assign a cultural legitimacy to the representation and the intimate articulations of miscarriage thereby de-stigmatising it.
Keywords: Motherhood, Miscarriage, Memoir, Infertility, Destigmatisation, Pregnancy
“Your absence is inconspicuous;
Nobody can tell what I lack….
None of them seem to notice.
Their shrill, gravelly gossip’s funneled off.
Now silence after silence offers itself.”
Excerpt from Sylvia Plath’s “Parliament Hill Fields”
Through these lines Sylvia Plath captures the unutterable silence around pregnancy loss. Written just a week after her miscarriage, the poem is a rendition of the seemingly invisible pain that surrounds the loss. The phenomenon of miscarriage is very common which affects one in four pregnancies.1 Clinically, miscarriage is defined as “the spontaneous loss of a foetus before the 20th week of pregnancy” (US National Library of Medicine). However, this determined period of gestation to be considered a miscarriage differs among countries.2
Michelle Obama in her memoir Becoming (2018) speaks about her miscarriage and the intense agony that she undergoes. She shares her uncertainty about the loss, as she “didn’t know how common miscarriages were because we don’t talk about them”, as a result, she blamed herself and felt lost (Obama 138). But it turns out that it “happens all the time, to more women than you’d ever guess, given the relative silence around it” (ibid). She laments the lack of expression about this particular issue among women showcasing her critique for the conspicuous silence surrounding miscarriage. Though almost 10 to 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage while the sufferers experience grief in silence.3 Sarah Miller in her essay “The Moral Meanings of Miscarriage” (2015), states that the silence shrouding miscarriage can be cultural, interpersonal, and historical silences (Miller 142). An intricate nexus of the loss of agency and a loss of control, miscarriage usually lacks an external causal agent.4 This lack creates a sense of guilt and self-betrayal, which Miller links to the moral aspect of miscarriage.
This silence is expressed distinctly in the various graphic pathographies of miscarriage, for instance Phoebe Potts’ Good Eggs (2010), Paula Knight’s The Facts of Life (2017), Chari Pere’s Miscarried (2017) to name a few, illustrates the experiences of miscarriage through verbal-visual medium allowing them to recreate the complex emotional state of their mind. However, the taboo and shame surrounding miscarriage is reflected only in a few autobiographical narratives. This paper takes into account two memoirs of miscarriage: Elizabeth McCracken’s An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination (2008), and Ariel Levy’s The Rules Do Not Apply (2017). The rationale behind choosing these two texts, published almost a decade apart from each other, is to reflect on the experiences of miscarriage and the reiterated silence around it which has not changed even after so many years. What these two texts justify is that the plight of someone undergoing this loss has remained the same with miscarriage still seen as a tabooed female health quandary. McCracken’s book is a series of parallel narratives of how she deals with the loss, and at the same time she prepares to embrace a new life with uncertainty. Her narrative alternates between the past pregnancy and the present. She presents two contrasting pictures of a woman and her partner about to have a baby for the first time, and also that of a woman who had already lost one. She delineates the way she attempts to recover from the loss and the discourses around her thereby illustrating the anxieties about her second pregnancy. The readers can feel the skepticism and the fear of losing a child again. Similarly, Levy shares the experiences of her miscarriage and the guilt that she carried along for many years, unable to start anew. In Levy’s book, she describes how her life takes a different turn with the expectation of the baby’s arrival but which is eventually shattered by the loss of her baby. It is a very gloomy account of Levy’s life with the loss of her baby, spouse, and her home all at the same time. Levy’s memoir addresses the twin agony of pregnancy loss and the lack of support from her partner. Being married to a woman, she has to conceive with a male friend. She lacks the support of a partner who would share her grief. Hence, the narrative repletes with Levy’s lonely attempts to cope with her loss. Both the narratives foreground the deeply intimate nature of a miscarriage.
“Speckles of self-blame? Steadfast stigma?”: Miscarriage and Guilt
Jessica Zucker raises a series of questions regarding the absence of narratives on the experience of miscarriage. In her memoir I had a Miscarriage: A Memoir, a Movement (2021), she embarks on a journey to dispel the silence, shame, and stigma around miscarriage. In her column Motherlode, she writes about the enervating experience when she saw her “baby slid out. She dangled from me mere centimetres from the toilet-bowl water. My window-clad house should have shattered from the pitch of my prolonged primordial howl. It didn’t. I did.” (“Saying it Loudly” 2014). Zucker questions the “self-blame” or “stigma” or “cultural shame” that a miscarriage brings along (ibid.). She accepts that this is a hard topic for people to discuss, but the talk about miscarriage is the only way to lessen the grief that comes with it.
In her graphic novel The Pregnancy ≠ Childbearing Project: A Phenomenology of Miscarriage, Jennifer Scuro argues that many facets of pregnancy become inconspicuous when childbirth is the exclusively sanctioned denouement of the process5. The childbearing teleology creates the belief in the moral purpose of the female body and the discourse of ‘failure’ if pregnancies do not end with a child. The whole process of the ‘failure’ takes over the experience of the person, and she is simply ‘advised’ to move on and ‘try again’. The ‘product’ (child) is the most important element of this process, thus erasing the other aspects of pregnancy which might include a failed pregnancy, the labour pain that she might have to undergo, or the whole idea of a woman not wanting to bear a child. Thus, according to Scuro, the romanticised perception of the childbearing teleology seeks to “validate the productive womanhood, naturalised ideas of maternity, and functional femininity” (Scuro 192). The agony of the one losing their child even before it is fully formed is irreparable which they have to deal with in secret. The birth of a child is only one of the so many possibilities of pregnancy. By discussing this hushed experience, Scuro attempts to dissipate the shame surrounding miscarriage. She states that the typical experience of all pregnancies is “expellation, a-death-within-the-self—the phenomenal expulsion of expectation” (Scuro xii). To elucidate this, she refers to the phenomenon of “emptying out” which is supposedly linked to every pregnancy, but this process may not be the end after all (ibid.). The process of being pregnant is transformative, whatever the end is. Being pregnant creates a process of expropriation of her body, denying intimacy, with “the demand to satisfy a need to touch her belly” (199). LaChance Adams equates this process of expropriation to “guiltedness”, and differentiates the notion with Martin Heidegger’s belief of anxiety as the most genuine disposition6.
Scuro reiterates the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas in that she priorities the Other over oneself. The process of one’s subjectivity is always subverted with the constant sense of the centrality for the Other. This centrality determines the way subjectivity is shaped and speaks of the inability of subjectivity to be self-possessed. One fails to go back to being their former self after the Other’s death. The death in a miscarriage shapes this subjectivity even more because of the proximity of the dead, the death of a part of the body, as Scuro writes: “death, even though it is not my own, undoes me, interrogates me, and puts ‘me’ in question” (201). This very guiltedness leads to grief, and it “sticks to the body in the loss and survivability of what has come to pass” (233). The grief in this case moves beyond the guilt of a survivor; it is the grief of the loss of someone from the body itself, which alters the person experiencing it indelibly.
In The Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination (2008), the guilt is evident in McCracken’s choice of doctors. Time and again, she revisits those days in Bordeaux when she was expecting Pudding (their stillborn) and trying to figure out the mistakes that she might have committed: “Of course it occurs to me that Pudding might have lived if I’d stuck with either Dr. Bergerac or Dr. Baltimore” (McCracken 34). The guilt is evident in almost every section of the book:
This was all my fault. I still believe that, a conviction so awful and unshakable…I could not put my finger on what I had done wrong. Eaten something. Failed to eat something. Rested too much or exercised too much. Got pregnant too old. Was smug. He died inside of me: of course it was my fault. It happened on my watch. (McCracken 112)
When the autopsy report of Pudding’s death arrived, McCracken was confident that it would state “maternal oblivion” as the cause of death. And she wondered if she did something wrong or could have “done exactly that differently” (73). This constant blame inflicted upon the self creates a series of guilt hindering the normal flow of life. Similarly, in The Rules Do Not Apply (2017), Levy succumbs to this guilt after her first pregnancy loss, as she felt that it was her decision to go to Mongolia that has changed everything: “I had boarded a plane out of vanity and selfishness, and the dark Mongolian sky had punished me” (Levy 115). Comments from people like “you’ll have another one” do not help. The effort to get rid of the guilt is evident in the series of trips to doctors just to make sure that the miscarriage had happened on its own right and not because of her trip to Mongolia: “I WENT TO SEE DOCTORS, specialists, to get vial after vial of blood taken and tested” (119). She went to the best of doctors to assure herself of the placental abruption as the cause of her miscarriage. She was determined to “pay anything” to undo the situation that has led to her misery (120). The sense of guilt creeps in even after she somehow gets over the loss: “You don’t fly to Mongolia pregnant” (128). This self-blame is so much pertinent that the narrator accepts her trip to Mongolia as the sole reason of her loss despite the assurance by her doctors that the miscarriage would have happened even if she stayed where she was. Her guilt was further aggravated by the fact that the baby’s father has donated his sperm and expects her to take care as she constantly worries about his reaction that “the baby’s father…would never be able to forgive me, would never give me his sperm or his love or his money ever again” (Levy 115). She is constantly poked by a sense of guilt not only for the father, but also for cheating her partner Lucy. This guilt along with the grief pulls her down the spiral.
The constant sense of self-blame is evident in these narratives which makes the readers question about the lack of awareness and expression surrounding pregnancy loss. This is further aggravated by the people’s responses around them. A series of discourses about the carelessness or irresponsibility on the part of the narrator is created by the people around her: “They want to know what they have to eat to keep from being me” (Levy 152). People tell her not to “get on any planes” the next time she is pregnant (ibid.). They do not want to believe that it is not her fault that the miscarriage has happened (emphasis added). There is a pervading sense of gloom and hopelessness in the eyes of people who blames her for her situation. They are concerned more about the ‘mistakes’ that she might have committed, rather than her grief for the loss. Scuro’s assertion that this guilt leads to grief is intensified by the discourses around them. The narrators experience constant interrogation and denial of their existence in the face of their loss.
The phenomenological reading of the texts offers an understanding of the deeply unnerving psyche of the sufferers. These texts not only “visibilises the author’s struggles with miscarriage but also foregrounds the issues involved in the autobiographical representations of miscarriage as a tabooed female health quandary” (Venkatesan and Murali 2020). The physical pain, along with the psychological pain is significantly portrayed in these texts. A study conducted by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine states that almost 47 percent of women were haunted by guilt following their miscarriage (Venkatesan and Murali 2020). This is due to the fact that failure to give birth is also linked to a perceived sense of failure to fulfil obligations towards the family in continuing the lineage.
“People don’t like to hear it”: Reading the silence around miscarriage
Ann J. Cahill in her essay “Miscarriage and Intercorporeality” examines the various ways in which successful pregnancy and miscarriage varies. According to Cahill, this is due to the socially constructed phenomenon of a successful pregnancy. They differ in the one being a “noisy” lived experience, and the other being culturally “silent” (Cahill 45). In the case of a miscarriage, the sufferer “does not see her experience analysed, visually represented, or discussed; there is no barrage of advice…they find themselves, and the broad spectrum of their emotional responses, absent from cultural conversations regarding pregnancy and childbirth” (ibid.). The experience of miscarriage is usually misunderstood, difficult to articulate, and isolating. As a result of the silence, the information regarding miscarriage can be under-informed, causing severe psychic harm to the ones experiencing it (Cahill 01). Jessica Zucker in her blog for The Guardian explains this nexus of silence and shame thus:
This strident trifecta of silence, stigma and shame that shroud the topic of pregnancy loss prevent open dialogue and emotional support about these physical changes. This can complicate often already fraught relationships with our bodies, as women burrow their reactions, which can mutate into guilt, embarrassment and self-blame. (Zucker 2019)
Lisa Hanasono in a heart-wrenching TEDx BGSU talk entitled “The M-Word: Shattering the Silence on Miscarriage” (2018) speaks about the tumult of feelings and the sense of betrayal by her body after her miscarriage. This feeling of betrayal is manifested in the ineffectiveness of the agency, the loss of trust in one’s own body, as it supposedly failed to perform what it is biologically determined to do. She speaks about this whole community or a secret society who had been affected by pregnancy loss, suffering in silence. Hanasono states that the media has been misrepresenting stories of pregnancy loss. They trivialise the portrayal of grief following a miscarriage, depicting a woman grieving for a few seconds and moving on with her life the next day. Pushing such an intense experience to the background helps nurture a casual attitude towards pregnancy loss. Hence, these personal narratives of miscarriage is crucial as it breaks the silence around the topic. It creates a sense of community by articulating the lived realities following pregnancy loss, and foregrounds the state of helplessness that miscarriage engenders which is compounded by the indifference of the people.
Dealing with pregnancy loss can be terrifying, as those experiencing this loss seek answers and reasons. And if they do not find answers, it is in a way self-satisfying as there is no one to blame for, but there is a looming sense of fear associated with the next pregnancy. But those who did find out the reason (medical or external event or accident) for their loss, they often turn inwards and are overwhelmed by feelings of shame and guilt, which again sustains that silence around pregnancy loss. In her memoir, McCracken enumerates the series of dilemmas that she had to undergo before trying to have a baby for the second time. The sense of fear pervades and she decides to remain silent about her second pregnancy. This time, she decides not to share the news of her pregnancy with anyone or to try and find out the baby’s gender. She resorts to phrases like “I hope we can have another child” instead of “we will have another child” (McCracken 28). Her second pregnancy is haunted by the death of the first. She “creeps toward that time” when she had her first pregnancy loss (38). She hopes for a child but also expects the worst: “We wanted another child. We wanted to fill those clothes. And so, without even looking, we packed them away, three boxes full. We could throw them out later, if we had to” (43). She starts to hate the place associated with the death of her child. This is evident in her narrative as she describes her hatred for the place and the people for nearly two pages.
Similarly, Levy depicts this fear as she is not prepared to conceive once again. She attempts to find reasons for her loss, she questions her decisions of the past. Somewhere deep-down she feels that her trip to Mongolia had brought about that doom in her life. Seeking answers, she juggles between her place of work and her trips to doctors. The readers witness a beautiful bond with one of her doctors in Mongolia. This relationship is due to the fact that the doctor understands her pain. He has seen her at her most vulnerable moment but it may also be due to the fact that he is a total stranger, different from the people around her.
Hilde Lindemann in her article “Miscarriage and the Stories We Live By” (2015) states that “any miscarriage can be epistemically opaque” (Lindemann 88). Rather than trying hard to console with stock responses, Lindemann suggests that “it’s often wisest for others not to assume they know how to understand a given one, much less how to respond to it. Here as elsewhere, the best thing the third party might do is to ask the woman, “What are you going through?” The question is both an invitation to the woman to tell her story and a promise that the person asking will listen to the story” (ibid). It is crucial to note how Lindemann emphasises on the importance of being a listener on the part of the people which might soothe the person going through the trauma of miscarriage. They do not seek attention, rather they want us to know their pain, their conflicts. This pain is different from the pain of death. The difference is that it is a pain which other people somehow fail to understand because they have not seen the dead baby. But for the mother, it is a part of her body. She felt the breath, the touch and the life that was forming within her. This feeling that someone is there to listen to their suffering is purgative and speaks volume of the sense of relief that accompanies the narrative. The trauma of miscarriage can be palliated in the form of attentive listening: “I want to hear about every dead baby, everywhere in the world. I want to know their names, Christopher, Strick, Jonathan. I want their mothers to know about Pudding” (McCracken 90). It can be a balm for the woman grieving someone who does not exist for the people around her. McCracken depicts the joy she experiences when she receives consolation from her friends through email, and at the same time states her annoyance for some of the mails. She talks about one friend in particular, who mails her after a month of her loss, lacking empathy.
Usually, the woman undergoing miscarriage experiences disenfranchised grief, to borrow Kenneth Dosa’s term, where they cannot express their grief openly and as a result cannot be mourned or acknowledged. The paradox evident in the experience is when the inability to articulate her grief kills the woman from the inside, and at the same time, her failure to capture her grief in words so that people can understand what she is going through. For instance, in her memoir, McCracken expresses her husband’s concern that the photo of their dead child would turn into a fetish, as the photo was not of their child, but of his body. But at the same time, she does not want to repress the death of that child, she wanted his death to be what it is, something that people would know without having to explain it to them. A similar concern is echoed when Levy expresses that she “wanted people to know…[p]eople don’t like to hear it” (Levy 49).
It is the reactions from others that can leave a deep imprint on the minds of the one undergoing such a loss. The narrators enumerate the stock responses from people which aggravates their pain. One of the most common responses seen in both the narratives, “you can still get pregnant” traumatises the narrators as it seems to trivialise their grief. This grief cannot be expressed and people fail to discern it, in turn, creating a distance between them. The failure to express can be linked to the self-blame that the narrators experienced after their loss. This creates a nexus of guilt and blame on their part culminating in a state of mental instability.
The instability can be caused because of the involvement of the woman with the foetus or the postpartum changes in her body. As William Ruddick terms it, getting involved with the foetus and having imaginary conversation is a phenomenon of Proleptic relationship (Ruddick 97). This is the process when the mother treats the foetus as an individual, as a human being.7 This phenomenon of giving the foetus personhood leads to a severe psychic harm if a miscarriage happens. Byron J Stoyles observes that “even before birth, a foetus can occupy a place in our social world insofar as we come to think and act as though the foetus is already a baby or child” (94). This in turn is “shaped by social and cultural norms surrounding pregnancy and parenthood” (95), and as such, the very notion of a miscarriage is linked to the would-be mother’s carelessness and irresponsibility. Women are held responsible if anything happens to the unborn child, as child-bearing becomes a cultural phenomenon. McCracken here seems to form a proleptic relationship with Pudding when she gossips with him, or tells him what is on the menu whenever she visits a restaurant.
Bodies change after pregnancy, but the grief that accompanies a miscarriage is something that even the bodies fail to hide. The body acts as an agency in making the woman realise that she has lost her child even before it could see the world: “[t]hese bodies are still changed, and they continue to change, but they are now also imprinted with a life lost” (Zucker 2014). The moment when breast produces milk with no baby to feed seems futile and adds to the already existing sadness. This is evident when Levy experiences that her breasts were still producing milk like “sadness was leaking out of me from every orifice” (Levy 118). The body behaves as a postpartum body does, but with no baby. These changes, both psychological and physical, acts as a barrier for the woman to move on, to adapt to her new circumstances. Hence, there is an urgent need for the pain to be recognised. Support from the partner (who bears the same amount of grief) is not enough. She needs to be empathised by the people who should try and treat this death like any other. She should be allowed a space to mourn her loss and acknowledged for the same.
“Stuck in a chronological bubble”: End of an old life or start of a new?
Alison Reiheld in her phenomenal essay on miscarriage calls it a “liminal event”, which places the once-pregnant woman in “a space between not being a parent and being a parent with respect to that particular child who might have been” (11). This is a process between childlessness and motherhood filled with a sense of hope in case of women having fertility issues. But miscarriage pushes her into a liminal state. The future is already decided when we expect to bring another human being into our life. Things are planned accordingly. The hope for a new life shatters when that child never comes into being.
The narrators are left trying to figure out how to live without that child, around whom they have planned their existence. They are trapped, as McCracken says, “in a chronological bubble” (112). There is a sense of nostalgia in almost every passage. The narrators could not help, but link their present to the times when they were pregnant. For instance, Levy describes her intense agony when certain objects and memories takes her back to the moments when she was still expecting to be a mother. The blue whale towel, for instance which she had bought in one of her trips, acts as a constant reminder to the fact that she once carried a child, who is no longer with her; or the photo that she took of her son during the ten minutes of his life, of her life as a mother. In an interview with Terry Gross, Levy accepts that she was obsessed with the photo as she “looked at it obsessively, and I tried to get other people to look at it, because I just felt insane” (“Reflections on the Guilt and Grief of Miscarriage” 2017). The one object associated with the dead child can become a fetish, which is why McCracken’s husband did not allow her to take any picture of their stillborn. However, despite their efforts to move forward, McCracken could not escape the pain of going back to the past when three boxes filled with Pudding’s clothes arrived. These clothes which she bought for the child when she was in Bordeaux brings in a sense of nostalgia and longing for that child. For Levy, the process of coping with the grief proved to be a daunting task due to her ‘unconventional’ pregnancy. Sharing her life with Lucy, and her womb with Acropolis made things more difficult for her. With Lucy being an alcoholic, and the baby’s father being away, Levy struggles to bring her life together after the loss. It is only the solace of Dr. John and his emails and the baby’s photo that kept her sanity. The relationship with Lucy further deteriorates as Levy has to explain the former’s role in the entire process:
“Lucy resented my gratitude for the baby’s father. She worried about her role in our family: “he’s the father, you’re the mother, what the hell am I?” I told her, to the baby, she’d be the real parent —that at present, biology seemed like a big deal, but once our son was among us he would be closest to the people he lived with, his parents.” (Levy 107)
But after the miscarriage, Levy was “alone and unmoored”, she had no one to share her grief with as Lucy is sent to rehab for her addiction, and the child’s father is away and contacted her only through email (131). She falls apart and is unable to move on with the grief. Reading these texts, one of the major themes that is evident is the social construction of femininity and motherhood enforced through various discourses. In The Second Sex (1953), Simone De Beauvoir argues that the whole idea of “feminine” is a social construct. In her famous lines: “One is not born, but rather becomes a woman…It is civilisation as a whole that produces this creature…which is described as feminine”, Beauvoir delineates how it is only through cultural conditioning that being “feminine” equates to “becoming” through the various discourses (273). Their gender becomes a performance, as women have to mould themselves to the gender expectations by patriarchy. The authors discussed, give voice to the various women who ‘fail’ to internalise the gender roles and to the gender expectations demanded of them. The whole idea of motherhood as the end of being a woman has been extolled through histories, religion, media. As Hanasono has discussed, the role played by the media is crucial in that it shapes the mindsets of the people in such a way that they are blind-sighted by any other prospect besides having a child in case of pregnancies.
These exalted notions of motherhood and pregnancy are further intensified by the language used with regard to pregnancy loss. Language about pregnancy loss also implies a notion of failure, a blame on the part of the mother carrying the child. Words like “miscarriage” itself suggests the failure to carry, somehow implying that it is the negligence that leads to the loss. Medical terminologies like 'blighted ovum’ —translated as ‘rotten egg’ — or ‘incompetent cervix’, ‘failed pregnancy’ carry negative connotations used in relation to pregnancy loss.
McCracken’s An Exact Replica of a Figment of my Imagination (2008) and Ariel Levy’s The Rules Do Not Apply (2017) investigates the diverse aspects of miscarriage. Though published almost a decade apart, these texts reiterate sufferings faced by someone undergoing pregnancy loss, and justify how the situation has not changed. The narrators project their experiences and render a voice to this oft unheard and unsaid dimension of pregnancy. These narratives portray the psychosomatic tumult of pregnancy loss with a new vigour and tenacity. A raw honesty is evident in the narration of their experiences inscribing the psychological and medical dimensions of pregnancy loss, thereby deconstructing the myth of motherhood and destigmatizing miscarriage. Despite being personal narratives, these texts are crucial in the understanding of the often silenced aspect of pregnancy and the grief that accompanies a miscarriage. Their experience helps in giving voice to the secret community of parents who have experienced this loss and have no one to share their grief with. These narratives have paved ways for a series of responses and empathy for those experiencing the unseen loss. As Robert J. Lifton asserts, the pathographies are mediums to project the traumatic experiences of the patients by outwardly expressing it through their writings8. Therefore, the narratives do not only help the one suffering, but help others experiencing the same to form an emotional bond, thereby creating a sort of community.
 The American Pregnancy Association estimates that approximately one in four pregnancies ends in a miscarriage which means that each year millions of people are affected by pregnancy loss.
 Hochchild, et. al. in the revised glossary on ART Terminology stressed the need of a common nomenclature of the ever expanding definitions of infertility and miscarriages.
 A study conducted by the Mayo Clinic has concluded that nearly 10 to 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriages, and it is one of the most prevalent pregnancy-related health issues in the world.
 According to Sarah Miller, miscarriage is intricately linked to bear the responsibility of loss on the part of the woman. But she opines that it is not correct to blame oneself just because someone else is not responsible. This is a complicated process of loss of agency as it “seem[s] like it is both you and not you who acts” (145).
 Sarah LaChance Adams states how Scuro critiques the childbearing teleology of the tree that bears fruit containing the seed for the next tree, and argues that in case of human-female bodies, this whole concept of the ‘natural end’ is fused together to the ‘healthy’ female body.
 Heidegger’s belief that anxiety is the most genuine temper is based on the fact that it divulge our perception of our own inescapable end. But guiltedness tells us how we do not own even ourselves in this very life.
 Hilde Lindemann states that prolepsis as a literary device is “the treating of a future state of affairs as if it already existed”(89).
 Pathographies are writings about illness and the experiences which in way is a psychological reconstruction that involves the search for meanings and patterns. Hence, these narratives not only seek to be testimonies of how appalling it is to be ill, but also are documents which helps to alter that appalling experience into something that can be healed.
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