I've read several books about miscarriage since my loss. (After I finish the ones I currently have on loan from the library, I will have read nine.) Some were more helpful than others and they represented different types of helpful - medical information, memoir, coping strategies, etc. I had planned to share some brief thoughts about each in a single post, however, my "brief thoughts" on After Miscarriage turned out to be not quite so brief, so this book at least will get an entire post. My reviews of other books will probably be much shorter and will appear several to a post in the coming weeks. After Miscarriage was my favorite book on the topic (so far) and I find it fitting that it has a post to itself and that it appears first.
After Miscarriage: A Catholic Woman's Companion to Healing & Hope by Karen Edmisten
The most helpful book I've read since my miscarriage, Karen Edmisten's After Miscarriage is a hodge-podge of short contributions from various people who have lost a child, poems, quotes, bible passages, and pieces from the author's journal. Many of the poems, quotes, and scripture passages did not deal directly with miscarriage or even death (though some certainly did), which helped me understand the universality of the emotions I felt. I also appreciated the shortness of it all - no single piece within the book is more than a few pages long, so I could pick it up, read a short passage or a single quote and put it back down if it were too much all at once. That said, I read it all in just a few days, though I feel like I will continue to refer back to it often during the difficult times in the coming months and years (especially if we experience a future loss).
After having five miscarriages, Edmisten herself has experienced a range of emotions and put these into a short but thorough resource for Catholic women after pregnancy loss. It is a blessing to read others' experiences and realize that the strange new emotions I was feeling are actually "normal" for the context. Reading through the various pieces by women (and a man) who have "been there" made me feel much less alone, especially since I have very few people in my daily life who have had a miscarriage. I found myself relating to most of the passages, and even those I did not personally find connection with helped me understand how others' grieving processes may differ from my own. I found the book to be very nurturing and uplifting, free of platitudes and generalizations.
My only critique of this book is of a poem it contains that referred to a baby having a "pair of wings". Many of the resources I've encounter talk about "angel babies", a concept that is not consistent with my Catholic faith (angels and humans are separate beings, one cannot become the other), and I was very much looking forward to reading a specifically Catholic resource that would not include that reference. Obviously, that one poem can be easily overlooked.
Though written specifically for Catholics, most of the books should be helpful to Christians of all denominations and I would recommend it as a gift to give a friend who has recently experienced a loss. I have, in fact, have sent it to three women in the past two months since reading it myself and thought about starting a ministry to send it to women for free. It turns out there already is one: A Magnolia Sweet Healing. Click over to see how you can get a copy for free or how you can donate to help women receive copies of this book.