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Giving birth to the unborn: Processing the experience of sibling abortion in groups

Officially implemented in 1980 and abolished in 2016, China’s One-Child Policy was a national policy that intended to improve China’s living standards and promote modernisation by limiting China’s population growth particularly in urban areas. With some exceptions, under the One-Child Policy the number of children each family could have was limited to one, which led many families to terminate a second pregnancy. In both literature and daily life, it is seldom discussed how abortions due to One-Child Policy can affect the family and the surviving only child. The impact of such loss is often silenced and forgotten. In this seminar, I will present a personal journey of grieving for the loss of a younger brother due to abortion under the One-Child Policy and my process of making sense of this loss and grief. Groups have been recognised as an ideal medium to enact, channel and process sibling issues and dynamics. Transferential relationships in groups can be conceptualised as a form of sibling relationships. Drawing on group analysis literature, my presentation will reflect on and analyse how groups helped me to claim the identity as a mourner, allowing both the presence and absence of my unborn brother to become real, and offering me reparative family relationships when I dealt with my grief.

This seminar itself can be seen as a group experience with each member of the audience a group member who witnesses a personal story and allows themselves to be impacted by it. The audience will be invited to reflect on and share their own responses to the presentation and their experience of being in the seminar.

Listen to the the seminar (link to icloud recording) 

Ying Liu, DPsychotherapy, is a BACP accredited counsellor and psychotherapist and a lecturer in (counselling) psychology at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK. Her doctoral thesis uses writing as a method of inquiry to explore the experience of narrative incoherence. Her current research interests include the experience of sibling abortion under China’s One-Child Policy, Chinese women’s attitude towards and experience of abortion.