Books on stillbirth and miscarriage

November 6, 2008 at 12:22 am 22 comments

I just finished reading Cookie Magazine’s article highlighting two books about stillbirth and miscarriage.

The first book is titled An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken. I believe this is an autobiographical memoir of her experience with stillbirth. I just ordered it. I’ll let you know what I think.

The other book is an anthology of writings titled About What Was Lost: 20 Writers on Miscarriage, Healing, and Hope by Jessica Berger Gross.

So many women feel isolated in their experiences of losing their child. I believe that reading about the experiences of others gives freedom in your own pain. I’ve had the fortunate blessing of many people knowing about our loss and therefore sharing their stories of loss with me. I’ve been helped by that.

I still remember the first letter I received from another mother who had experienced a late-term stillbirth. I can’t tell you how much it helped me just to hear that this had happened to someone else—that I hadn’t just been stupid or negligent or irresponsible.

Our stories provide solidarity. And most all of the women I’ve come into contact with after losing their children need that.

My favorite line from the article when talking about consolation was this: “What these women consistently yearned for was genuine and brave emotion.”

Our stories—and our genuine and brave emotions in them—console.


Entry filed under: Felicity, Grief.

Language Lessons on Election Night From under the covers I emerge

22 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Crystal  |  November 6, 2008 at 7:22 am

    I think it helped me to hear the stories of other women because it showed me that there was someone out there who knew what I was going through. At times I felt like no one around me could truly identify with what I was feeling. That can be difficult with miscarriages because often few people know about them. But, since my first one, I’ve met many people who have shared their stories with me, and there is courage that comes from knowing you’re not alone.

    A somewhat related book that was very encouraging to me is From Grief to Glory. My trust was strengthened to see that God had brought others through the grief of losing a child, and that gave me hope that He will be faithful to do the same for me.

  • 2. jennapants  |  November 6, 2008 at 9:39 am

    Wow. Just the title of that first one (An Exact Replica…) makes me want to read it.

    And the one Crystal recommended also sounds really good.

    I’m so glad you posted these, Molly. This blog is a resource for many who are suffering.

  • 3. Ashley  |  November 6, 2008 at 10:16 am

    I read the articles this past weekend too and wrote about how much they struck me on my blog too. Even though the experience of stillbirth and miscarriage are unfortunately more common than we know, I certainly had that feeling of being “the only one” wondering “why us?” Reading the articles and your words are wonderful and terrible reminders that I’m not the only one and the same feelings run like a common thread through these experiences. Thanks for sharing.

  • 4. Lisa  |  November 6, 2008 at 10:56 am

    I came across your blog from “Waiting for Happy”. I was reading through and believe we went to high school together. I am going to try and find the book you mentioned above About What Was Lost. I recently experienced a miscarriage and don’t really know how to feel or act. Everybody else just seems to forget or pretend it never happened. Maybe they are just afraid to approach the subject! Thanks.

  • 5. MrsMK  |  November 6, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    I can’t wait to hear what you think of these books!

    I know that reading blogs (like yours) and blogging myself has been so helpful during this time. It has really cut down on the feeling of isolation and lonliness.

  • 6. Rooney  |  November 6, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    I’m almost done reading, An Exact Replica… and she has a way of expressing the way I have felt, and do feel with such clarity and simplicity, when the words to express myself are hard to find.

    While she doesn’t discuss reliance on God, which I feel has been my greatest life-line, I really appreciated the honesty of emotion from her. The knowing, just in reading, that I am not crazy, or alone.

  • 7. Katrina  |  November 6, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Amen, Molly, Amen.

  • 8. Amanda  |  November 6, 2008 at 11:09 pm


    Thank you so much for sharing this tonight. One of the things I have felt most over the past 7 months has been isolation. My friends and family have been wonderfully supportive, but no one really gets it. Thank you for reminding me tonight that I am not alone.


  • 9. Donna (WayMoreHomemade)  |  November 7, 2008 at 10:44 am

    A book I loved I think is no longer in print. Written like a children’s book. “Mommy please don’t cry.”

    There was another one I read at the time, also.

    It also helped me that our church does a grief and loss class each November. I went through that and while the only other person in there who had experienced miscarriage was the pastor who was leading the group, it was just comforting to be around those who understood grief.

  • 10. April  |  November 7, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Hi Molly,
    Thanks for sharing those books, I am excited to read them. Books are sometimes the best therapy. I don’t know if you have read this one or not, but I read it after I lost our son. The book is Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss, and while fiction, it somewhat mirrors Mrs. Prentiss’s real life of happiness, loss, and reliance on God. It is an excellent book and really helped me through some of the grief I felt.

  • 11. melissa mailly  |  November 7, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Thank you, Molly.

  • 12. Claire  |  November 7, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Hi Molly,
    I happened upon you and your husband’s blogs and have been moved reading about your grief at the stillbirth of your daughter Felicity. What a tragic loss and yet your faith and trust in our Father has remained steadfast. Thanks for sharing your story. You are in my prayers.
    I sometimes read the webzine Boundless put out by Focus on the Family and noticed in the bio of one of the contributing authors, Jenny Schrodel, that she is looking for stories for a book she is writing called Naming the Child: Stories of Infant Loss. It said, “If you’ve lost a baby through miscarriage or stillbirth, or within the first few months of life, Jenny would like to hear your story. Feel free to e-mail it to her for possible inclusion in the book at“. Reading that reminded me of you, so I thought I would let you know, although I have no idea if sharing your story in such a public way would be something you are interested in. May God bless you and your family!

  • 13. Chris  |  November 8, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    Molly, you are always so kind and thoughtful of others to share with them/us what you have found encouraging

  • 14. stacey  |  November 9, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    “that I hadn’t just been stupid or negligent or irresponsible.”

    WOW, I never thought about you even having those feelings……….good eye opener! But of course you would….that would only be natural.

  • 15. Susan in Virginia  |  November 14, 2008 at 10:42 am

    I really can’t even imagine going through a late term stillbirth. But I’ve had three miscarriages (each at around 12 weeks) in 16 months. It seems that almost everyone around me assumes that it takes about a week to “get over” it. After that, you’re pretty much on your own if you’re still grieving. I’m so glad you’ve had so much support. And God IS good.

  • 16. nmwally  |  November 21, 2008 at 12:32 am

    April, I have to agree with you on “Stepping Heavenward”. Wonderful gem of a book. My sister in law gave it to me a few years ago and wrote in the inscription that it was “pure worship”. I even named my blog after it! (though it’s not nearly as, uh, eloquent as the book :)). I agree that it is a wonderful read for someone dealing with any kind of loss.

    We have a 1 year old, but lost our 2nd baby to miscarriage at 5 weeks this past July, and though it was so early, it was devastating. I praise God I am now 19 weeks pregnant again, but I still cringe whenever someone asks if this is my 2nd baby. I don’t know how to answer – I will never forget that little one we lost. I usually just say “this will be our 2nd born”. It truly is a grief unlike any other.

  • 17. Karli  |  December 2, 2008 at 2:28 am

    Another really moving, encouraging book about stillbirth is called:

    “Grief and Grace” by Amanda Axelby

    I would recommend it to everyone, as it also has a section dedicated to helping friends and family of the bereaved to grieve and cope with their loss.

    Thank you for posting about this subject, Molly…it is such an area of great need. Especially since our culture is so accepting of abortion.

    God bless you.

  • 18. Amanda  |  December 6, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    We don’t know each other. I found your blog through Cyndia’s blog (she’s a friend of my brother’s and she linked to your post about election night).

    Anyway, I thought I’d offer up another great book. “Turn My Mourning into Dancing” by Henri J.M. Nouwen helped me immensely after miscarrying my son, Nathan, at 16-weeks. It’s a short book that deals death, loss, and otherwise difficult circumstances, not miscarriage or stillbirth in particular. I loved it in part because it was short, but mostly because it taught me the very valuable lesson to choose joy in Christ no matter what your circumstances.

    If you’re interested in reading about Nathan, his story is on my blog.

  • 19. Kelsey  |  December 29, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Thank you for posting a link to those books. Thinking I will purchase the “About what was lost” book. Over this past week, and today especially I have noticed how isolating and lonely miscarriage can be. Thank you for sharing with us.

  • 20. Jennifer  |  January 22, 2009 at 4:34 am

    I am reading this late, but wanted to say I have read About What Was Loss and it is one of the two best books I’ve read on miscarriage. We lost our second child to a miscarriage at 10 weeks. I had no idea what kind of grief could accompany an “early” miscarriage. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  • 21. audra vrzheshch  |  March 28, 2009 at 7:16 am

    I found your blog through the Desiring God website. I live in Ukraine, recently turned 40, got pregnant after unsuccessfully trying for 5 years with my husband and miscarried at 8 weeks. I never thought about what a miscarriage means. I have really appreciated reading your blog and would like to share a poem I wrote about what I have been through the last week. I assume the title isn’t extremely original but it is what keeps going through my mind. Also, writing poems is not something I ever do but it was so therapeutic.

    When the Womb becomes a Tomb

    What can one say when…
    the womb becomes a tomb
    That’s not the way its suppose to be

    What can one say when…
    A mother, not yet a mother,
    has the life that began in her
    come to a premature end
    That’s not the way its suppose to be

    What can one say when…
    One has to pass and wait and pass
    what remains of what should have become your child
    That’s not the way its suppose to be

    What can one say when…
    You endure physical pain
    but there is no baby to hold
    That’s not the way its suppose to be

    What can one say when…
    God answers your longing
    only to immediately take it away
    That’s the way He works sometimes

    What can one say when…
    You realize He has given you
    the greatest human lover and best friend
    That’s not something I deserve

    What can one say when …
    You realize His mysterious plan and
    incomprehensible ways are above your understanding
    That is the way it is and I will trust Him.


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