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What Was Lost: A Christian Journey through Miscarriage Paperback

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Frequently Bought Together

What Was Lost: A Christian Journey through Miscarriage + Grieving the Child I Never Knew + I'll Hold You In Heaven: Healing and Hope for the Parent Who has Lost a Child through Miscarriage, Stillbirth, Abortion or Early Infant Death
Price for all three: $31.04

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press (September 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664235204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664235208
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"What Was Lost is practical, informative, and spiritually wise, tackling the big questions of the spiritual life...Given how common miscarriage is...everyone should read this stirring book."
Lauren Winner

With the sensitivity of a caring pastor, [Barrett]...offers helpful reflection...to aid the reader's journey from hurt to healing and hope."
--Karen B. Westerfield Tucker, Professor of Worship, Boston University

"Although one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage, spiritual resources for those who miscarry are shockingly hard to find. Barrett, a United Methodist pastor who has herself had a miscarriage, has written a useful book to fill the void she, and so many others, discover when miscarriage claims their unborn children and their expectations. Barrett shares not only her own story but also the comments of other mothers-to-be who have experienced grief and loss. The author brings uniquely Christian pastoral and theological perspectives that will help not only mothers but also spouses/partners, clergy, and friends. Christian clergy will find especially useful a chapter of resources, but everyone touched by miscarriage can learn from this reflective book. Mothers can take comfort that they are hardly alone and that God is not cruel; others can learn to replace the well-intentioned but too frequently painful bromides of consolation with more sensitive balm." --Publishers Weekly, July 12, 2010

"In writing What Was Lost, Elise Barrett [is] electing not only to claim her grief, but also to record it without self-indulgence and with the kind of grace that, in the hands of the skilled writer, turns personal narrative into communal solace." Phyllis Tickle, from the foreword

"Barrett's book is a great gift to those of us who must minister in time of loss." Will Willimon, author and Bishop, the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church

About the Author

Elise Erikson Barrett has worked in a variety of ministry settings, including youth work, hospital and college chaplaincy, and church ministry. A native of Indiana, she now makes her home in South Carolina, where she is the mother of three small children.

More About the Author

A United Methodist pastor married to a United Methodist pastor, Elise is a native of Indianapolis who has been happily transplanted to South Carolina. She holds degrees from Hanover College and Duke Divinity School, and spends most of her time caring for her three children. While on family leave from full-time ministry, Elise continues to speak and lead retreats and other special events around the state, and has been grateful for the opportunity to write her first book. She hopes that people who have suffered through pregnancy losses will find it helpful and healing.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 16 customer reviews
I only wish I had found this book sooner!
I would highly recommend this book to anyone (Christian or otherwise) that has lost a child.
The Forgiven Former Feminist
I am very grateful for this book and I hope many women are able to appreciate it as well.
mrs hummel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C. Scott on November 11, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Reading through this book was like reading thoughts taken from my own mind. Miscarriage is the most isolating and lonely experience, and this book brought me so much comfort knowing I was not alone, and what I was thinking/feeling was completely normal. I have tried many resources in an attempt to heal, and this book is the only one I can honestly say helped. The reflective questions were wonderful and helped me write out what I couldn't say out loud. I would recommend it to anyone suffering from a current/previous miscarriage or anyone seeking to understand what a loved one experiencing miscarriage is going through.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By mrs hummel on March 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
I miscarried a baby this fall. It was almost surreal - the experience was so much like Elise's first pregnancy. He was a little surprise due to some nfp miscalculations, but entirely beloved during his short eight weeks of life. I was devastated when was gone. In the past six months, I think I've looked for everything the internet and the Bible have to offer. I told my husband I was going to find the comfort and answers I needed, and that I might have to write my own book if I didn't find something excellent soon. Now I found what I was looking for. Elise discusses miscarriage and pregnancy loss with grace, strength and honesty. She does not shy away from the difficult questions like "Where was God when my baby died? Why did He make my baby and then allow it to die? Why did I lose my baby when others are born to moms who abuse them?", sharing her insights with compassion and encouragement. There is no "snapping out" of the grief of miscarriage, but Elise proposes that the same God who brings redemption out of a crucifixion can create beauty springing up out of the ashes of our mourning. This is the reminder I continually need in the waves of grief.

This book would be excellent for a grieving mom from any Christian tradition, especially if she has an academic or intellectual bent. I am very grateful for this book and I hope many women are able to appreciate it as well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By EPom on June 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I appreciated this book. I spent a long time searching for the "right" book for me following my 4th miscarriage (and no children)... this spoke to me. It does contain strong theological themes, which was fine for me as a Christian, but may be tough for others to follow or accept if they do not share the author's faith. Even with that, however, her story would likely resonate with most any woman who has experienced the devastation of pregnancy loss. There were some details of experiences shared in the books (for example, one of the dreams/premonitions that was shared) that were eerily similar to my own experiences. I was thankful to find that kind of connection throughout the book. I definitely experienced a sense of healing as I released some tears throughout. I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because I felt there were some parts that were a bit dramatized. I know every person's experience is different, but some of it just really rubbed me the wrong way. Overall, however, this is a book I would definitely share with any woman walking through this kind of grief, especially if she was also a Christian.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Delphine on May 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book was alright, although not quite what I expected. I was really looking for a resource that discussed some of the the questions posed in this book, i.e. Why did God let my baby die, but I didn't love the execution. I found some of these chapters to be very dense and hard to get through (and I'm a medical student so I'm used to getting through dense material). I also found her discussions to contain lengthly scriptural passages and I honestly just didn't really buy all of her arguments. Of course, this may not be the case for all readers and probably has a lot to do with that place you're at in your spiritual life, the denomination you worship in, and your willingness to separate faith from medicine/science. (For example, a component of one of her arguments is that mother and child share the Eucharist together. However, a baby is nourished off the yolk sac until the placenta forms and there is not a blood supply between mother and child until this occurs so the baby really doesn't see the Eucharist. I had trouble getting past some of this.) I did like hearing the author's story; however, I think she underwent her grieving process in a very unique community as she was training to be a pastor at the time. It does limit the applicability of her experience to some degree. My favorite part of this book were the prayers and example sermons at the end, and I found it helpful to read through these. I would have loved if this book contained some additional examples of prayers or guidance on how to approach prayer after miscarriage. This chapter will be the part of the book that I look at again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By rbk lambert on October 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is the first I've read since my recent miscarriage. It is very geared towards Christians, so I wouldn't recommend it to women who are not interested in the "God aspect" of loss. For me, the book has played a huge role in my healing process. I shed tears pretty much the entire time I was reading it, but there more tears of healing than there were tears of pain. The author has personal understanding of the emotions and grief that follow a miscarriage and does an amazing job of helping to explain that those feelings are normal and actually healthy.

The author includes ways to deal with hurtful comments from other people after a loss as well as prayers, sermons, and ways to remember the baby who has died.
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