Friday, July 8, 2011

Book Review: About What Was Lost


"About What Was Lost: 20 Writers on Miscarriage, Healing, and Hope" is a compilation of essays edited by Jessica Berger Gross. The writings cast light on a topic our society tends to keep hidden. It is much easier to focus on all the happy pregnancies that end with cuddly babies and all the cute accessories that go with them. But the grief is real for all the couples who have had trouble conceiving or lost a baby. This collection attempts to put words to that lost.

The essays are beautifully written, and the emotions are raw and unfiltered. The circumstances of the authors vary, making it easy for a reader to find material to which she can relate.

The collection accomplishes its objective of letting those who have suffered this loss know they are not alone. The philosophies and and take-aways provide ideas for helping others cope.

A few of the women healed from their losses in ways other than having another child. In many of the essays, however, the writer's grief only diminished once she had carried a baby to term. I have three years of Class C drugs ahead of me before that venue for healing might be available. Also, with my grief so fresh, it was hard reading about others' losses.

There is no true cure for this type of loss or missed opportunity, but the collection did serve as a salve for me. It helped me to realize that these women used the writing of their essays as a healing mechanism, a way to sort through their emotions. If it helped them, the same exercise also might help those who read their stories.

This book is a worthwhile read for anyone who has experienced this sense of loss, whether a few weeks ago or 20 years ago. Since Lily died, I have been surprised by how many women (and men) have shared their painful stories with me. It is a sad topic for a summer Friday. Society might deem it "inappropriate." Yet that doesn't make it hurt less. "About What Was Lost" provides a needed dialogue on the topic.

The stories also offer hope, which is the right way to end a summer Friday. My next entry will be a very sunny one, about a happy ending that is only the beginning.