Men’s Use of Metaphors to Make Sense of Their Spouse’s Miscarriage: Expanding the Communicated Sense-Making Model

Haley Kranstuber Horstman, Amanda Holman, M. Chad McBride

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


With approximately 20 % of pregnancies ending in loss, miscarriage is a relatively common and stressful occurrence. Because romantic partners’ coping efforts are intimately connected, the way one partner copes with the other’s miscarriage has important implications for individual and relational well-being. Grounded in the communicated sense-making (CSM) model, the current study investigated how cis-gender men in heterosexual marriages (n = 45) communicatively constructed the meaning of their wife’s miscarriage through metaphors. Analysis of interview data revealed two supra-themes—metaphors of miscarriage and metaphors of men’s role as a husband. Metaphors of lost gift, cataclysm, death of a loved one, emptiness, and chaotic movement animated husbands’ CSM about their wife’s miscarriage. Men drew upon discourses of masculinity to make sense of their role as a husband in the miscarriage process as a rock, guard, repair man, and secondary character. We explore these findings in light of the master narrative of birth and propose an expansion of the CSM model to include metaphors as a key CSM device.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHealth Communication
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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