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About What Was Lost: Twenty Writers on Miscarriage, Healing, and Hope Paperback – 26 Dec 2006


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In this intimate anthology, twenty writers explore the grief and sadness--and hope--that living through a miscarriage can bring. Featuring such notable writers as Pam Houston, Joyce Maynard, Caroline Leavitt, Susanna Sonnenberg, and Julianna Baggott, among many others, "About What Was Lost" is the only book that uses honest, eloquent, and deeply moving narrative to provide much-needed solace and support on the subject of pregnancy loss. Today, as many as one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage. And yet, many women are surprised to find that instead of simply grieving the end of a pregnancy, they feel as if they are mourning the loss of a child. Taken aback by their sorrow, they seek solace in similar perspectives--only to find that a silence and lingering stigma surrounds the topic. Revealing a wide spectrum of experiences and perspectives, this powerful collection offers comfort and community for the millions of women (and their loved ones) who experience this all-too-common kind of loss every year.

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I like to think my pregnancy began in Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 15 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Powerful and Personal 4 Feb. 2007
By K. Brennan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This anthology is a powerful read for all women, those who have experienced miscarriage themselves and for those who have not. It is a celebration of women, their strength, and their common experience. Having suffered two miscarriages myself, this was the first time I have read something that put so many of my feelings into words and validated them for me. In an experience that can often make you feel all too alone, this book can help you to realize that you are not. Thank you for writing so beautifully on such an important topic.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Not a good choice initially after a miscarriage expect in certain circumstances 16 May 2012
By Delphine - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I was suprised how little I liked this given that most personal accounts of miscarriage are very helpful to me these days after recently miscarrying at 13 weeks. I wanted to write my thoughts here given that some of these stories contain issues/comments that some may find upsetting as I did. The following are a few of the things that I really didn't like about this book:

1) Dismissal of miscarriage in comparison to stillbirth - Be aware that this book contains stories involving pregnancy losses after 20 weeks which should not truly be classified as miscarriage. One of these stories contains a comment that I found very upsetting. The author had stillbirth and commented that she wasn't helped by the stories and comforting words of people whom she knew in real life who had had miscarriages because that wasn't the same as what she experienced. She stated that these other women had not seen their babies little hands or stroked their hair, so they didn't understand what she was going through. I understand that this book is a compilation of various women's personal experiences, and it's not as if the entire book undermines the significance of miscarriage. However, mothers and fathers who have miscarriages often struggle in part because people fail to recognize their loss as significant. Everyone understands that a woman and her partner need time to grieve if a child is stillborn or if an infant suddenly dies, however, people seem to have more difficulty realizing that miscarriage is also a real loss. In fact, I learned in some of my other eading that past studies indicate that women who lose babies in all these various ways grieve similarly. I had contemplated going to a support group in my area that is for parents of miscarried babies, stillborn babies, and desceased infants; however, reading this particular story made me question how I would be perceived by these other two groups of parents. I additionally found this story upsetting because I, like many other parents of babies who were lost to miscarriage, feel immense loss at the fact that I don't have an ultrasound picture that really looks like a baby, that I never got to feel my baby move, and that I never got to hold my baby. There are different regrets and types of grief associated with each of these losses. Grief is not a competition, and I felt like my loss was brushed off as insignificant by this particular author.

2) Emphasis on abortion - The other reviewer who commented that this book places a lot of emphasis on abortion is correct. I estimate that almost a half of the stories focus heavily on abortion. Some women write of miscarriages after previous abortions and several others write of miscarrying a pregnancy they had intended to abort. I think that this book could be really helpful for women who have been in either of these situations. Though I'm politically pro-choice, I'm a little more uncertain from a moral perspective and this uncertainty is only more pronounced after losing a very loved first trimester baby. Personally, it was painful to read again and again about abortion while grieving my deeply wanted baby who was not easily conceived. I don't mean to diminish the grief experienced by women who feel they can't keep their pregnancies for various reasons, I just personally had trouble hearing about it during this period of my life.

3) Easily conceived babies - Most of the authors in this book write about easily conceived babies, many of them accidental. Again, this will not bother every potential reader of this book, but for women who do not get pregnant particularly easily, it can be torture to hear about accidental or effortless conception. It becomes even more painful after a miscarriage.

This is not necessarily a bad book. The writing itself is, as expected, strong. I think it is important to realize that this is a collection of stories of women in a variety of situations with a variety of different responses to their miscarriages. It is important to note that not all of the authors are particularly sad about their miscarriages. Some experience relief and don't go on to have children. Some don't view their miscarriage as losing a baby. If your primary responses to your miscarriage are grief and devastation, then you may have a hard time reading it. If you are in one of the sitatutions described, it may be helpful. I wanted people to know my own issues this this book because it is expensive and because it may be conterproductive for some readers at a very sad, upsetting time. I found Miscarriage: Women Sharing from the Heart to be much more helpful.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful! 10 Jan. 2007
By K. Lewis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
About What Was Lost begins a discussion that is long overdue. So many women suffer in silence after a miscarriage...How wonderful that we can now turn to the pages of Jessica's anthology for much needed support. These stories a varied and provide different perspectives but all speak to the sacredness of womanhood. Excellent!
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Couldn't even finish it 16 Mar. 2010
By K. Welch - Published on Amazon.com
I lost my first child at 10weeks 3 days just about 2 months ago. I have bought at least 10 different books now on the topic of pregnancy loss and found this one to be the only one that I just couldn't relate to at all. There was too much talk of abortion in the book. I fought for my baby every step of the way and just don't feel like the topic of abortion has its place at all in a book on pregnancy loss. I can't completely explain what it was about this book that upset me so much other than the abortion topic being brought up every time I turned the page. Now I did only read half the book so I admit by review may not be very reliable. It just felt to me like most of the writers were trying to diminish the fact that miscarried babies are still babies and we grieve just the same as if we'd lost our 2 year old. It just seemed like all the women that I read about got over their losses very quickly and I don't think that is the case 9 times out of 10. I came out feeling worse every time I picked up this book so I finally put it down for good. Maybe it gets better later on.

As for a book I do recommend (and one that I felt I could relate to every single woman in the book) was called Miscarriage: Women Sharing from the Heart by Allen and Marks.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is the book I've been looking for 16 July 2013
By Jamie Goldenberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The experience of losing a pregnancy is painful and very confusing. This book helped put words to so much of that confusion and shared hope about how to move on with life. It did not diminish the pain or sadness or any of the strange complicated feelings that arise. I really appreciated the variety of experiences related, even though not all were like my own. This is the only book I've found on the topic that really gets to the core of what it is really like. It helps too that the stories are written by such great women writers.
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