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


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 266 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; 1 edition (December 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452287995
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452287990
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #866,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

While "20 to 25 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage," this heartbreaking loss is rarely discussed at length in pregnancy handbooks. Editor Gross decided to break this silence by assembling an anthology of essays by women who'd experienced miscarriages and were willing to write about it. Most of her contributors are freelance writers, academics or wives of academics. Even if they hadn't planned or wanted their pregnancies, all experienced their miscarriages as the death of a loved one. Demolished with grief, they found little usable sympathy, even from those who meant well. Some had understanding spouses; most only got real support from other women who'd also miscarried. Most went on to bear another child; some, like editor Gross, decided to adopt; a rare few decided their future did not include children (or more children). One contributor, Miranda Field, mentions positive rituals for grieving mothers in Japan, but aside from that there are few voices outside of the white, middle-class. Readers in search of something broader in scope might find it in Peggy Orenstein's Waiting for Daisy. Still, Gross's anthology fills a void and may open the door for more varied ones. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"A chance to read narratives that offer a sense of kinship for all shapes of grief (stillbirth, early miscarriage, multiple miscarriages). ....A vivid glimpse of what these experiences feel like and of how one might reach through their suffering to console." -- Nell Casey, Cookie Magazine

"These stories help family members and friends understand the would-be mother's feelings of pain and loss." -- USA Weekend

As many as one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage, yet often women find themselves alone in their grief because of the silence surrounding the subject. Editor Berger Gross (creative nonfiction, Harvard Extension Sch.) hopes this collection of personal narratives by such writers as Joyce Maynard and Susanna Sonnenberg will "serve as a starting point for more conversations, both private and public, about miscarriage, so that women and their partners won't have to go on grieving in silence." These women's stories, divided into three sections-"Searching for Meaning," "In the Thick of It," and "Mourning and Moving On"-are intimate and often heart-wrenching. Several of the authors grieved pregnancies for which they had planned and hoped, while others were surprised at the intensity of their grief at the loss of an unplanned pregnancy. One woman found that suffering a miscarriage just days before her already scheduled appointment for an abortion did not alleviate her grief. Others speak of the potential contradiction of grieving the loss of a fetus while maintaining their prochoice stance. A powerful collection of personal stories recommended for all public libraries. -- Mindy Rhiger, Library Journal

More About the Author

Jessica Berger Gross is the editor of About What Was Lost: 20 Writers on Miscarriage, Healing, and Hope, and author of enLIGHTened: How I Lost 40 Pounds with a Yoga Mat, Fresh Pineapples, and a Beagle Pointer. She is a frequent contributor to Yoga Journal, and her essays and articles have appeared in Salon, The Globe and Mail, and The New York Times Magazine. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and young son.

Customer Reviews

Excellent variety of lifestyles and personal sharings.
Ruth Wheadon
I have read this book after both if my miscarriages and gifted it to my friends when they have lost their babies.
Rachel E
I think that this book could be really helpful for women who have been in either of these situations.
Delphine

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By K. Brennan on February 4, 2007
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.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Delphine on May 16, 2012
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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By K. Lewis on January 9, 2007
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!
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By K. Welch on March 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By a digital man on January 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
I am thoroughly enchanted with this book. Every single story teller has made unique choices, has a unique perspective on the topic, and really has a handle on life. Very strong women authors in here, no fluff.

I wish there was a sequel to this one, perhaps one where more women chose not to have more kids or to stop trying. The only thing that got to me a little was how many of the authors chose to go on and try again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jamie Goldenberg on July 16, 2013
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jessicasmp on October 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
Pregnancy loss is unbelievably painful, and no two losses are exactly alike. This book helped me through my grieving process and I suspect it has the potential to help many others. Whether you are in the mist of your own grief, or are trying to understand someone else going through it, this book provides vast insight and hope.
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