For grieving parents, future and living earthside children, and pregnancy after loss.
Books were the first things I turned to after Nathaniel died. Likely because they were familiar sources of support. As I scoured Amazon looking for recommendations, I found some true gems that in those early weeks were a true saving grace. I ended up reading dozens of books on pregnancy, infant, and child loss in those first few weeks, all in the hopes that I would find some answers and have it lessen the grieving process. It didn't but it did help give me a better sense of what to expect.
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Books for Grieving Parents
By Brianne Edwards - A Memoir of grief after life-changing loss. A Companion to those in the trenches of grief. A Journey to authentic integration, peace, and hope. Crushed by the weight of life-changing loss, how do we find the strength to carry unbearable grief with peace? This is a book that will pierce your heart and leave you changed. It is a journey from debilitating grief to a new depth of healing and hope.
**Samuel James Recommended** By Elle Wright - What do you do when the unthinkable happens? Elle Wright had an admittedly easy pregnancy - her scans went well, she and her baby were healthy throughout, and in May 2016, she and her husband welcomed their son, Teddy, into the world. Just a few hours after giving birth, they woke to find a nurse holding a cold and unresponsive Teddy, who had stopped breathing during the night. The happiest day of Elle's life had turned into every parent's worst nightmare, and she had to let her beautiful baby boy go. Three days after delivering him into the world, Elle sat with Teddy in her arms as he took his last breaths, and tucked him in for the final time. Ask Me His Name is a moving account of Elle's pregnancy, Teddy's life, and what happens when a mother leaves a hospital with empty arms.
By Donna Rothert - If you’ve experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, termination of pregnancy due to health risk or abnormality, or death in the first year of your baby’s life, you’re not alone. Life after these losses can be heartbreaking, confusing, and lonely. Family, friends, and medical professionals may minimize your loss or say “You can always try again.” Written by a psychologist who experienced two pregnancy losses herself, At a Loss offers thirty essays on the thoughts, feelings, and struggles that come along with losing a pregnancy or baby. Whether you are early in a crisis of grief or exploring the loss years afterward, you will find self-compassion, healing, and new ways to make meaning of your loss.Donna Rothert, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who specializes in perinatal issues, including pregnancy and infant loss. She is in practice in Oakland and Walnut Creek, California. Visit her online at www.donnarothert.com.
By Joanne Cacciatore and Jeffrey Rubin - When a loved one dies, the pain of loss can feel unbearable—especially in the case of a traumatizing death that leaves us shouting, “NO!” with every fiber of our body. The process of grieving can feel wild and nonlinear—and often lasts for much longer than other people, the nonbereaved, tell us it should.
By Sherokee Ilse -
Empty Arms is written for Surviving the First Hours and Beyond
Revised and updated! This classic book is one of the first given to newly bereaved parents to offer guidance in decision-making after their baby's death and to assist caregivers as they support families. Empty Arms encourages families to meet their babies and say hello before rushing to say goodbye. With compassion that comes from Sherokee and David's experience of having lived through the death of their son Brennan, the book offers guidance and practical suggestions for the decision-making at the time (including why and how one might see, hold, and memorialize one's baby) and over time (such as how to handle such times as anniversaries, holidays and the birth of other babies in the parents' close circle.)
**Nathaniel Recommended** By Deborah L. Davis Ph.D. - The heartache of miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death affects thousands of U.S. families every year. Empty Cradle, Broken Heart, Third Edition offers reassurance to parents who struggle with anger, guilt, and despair during and after such a tragedy. In this new and updated edition, Deborah Davis encourages grieving and strives to cover many different kinds of loss, including information on issues such as the death of one or more babies from a multiple birth, pregnancy interruption, and the questioning of aggressive medical intervention. There is also a special chapter for fathers as well as a chapter on "protective parenting" to help anxious parents enjoy their precious living children. Doctors, nurses, relatives, friends, and other support persons can gain special insight. Most importantly, parents facing the death of a baby will find necessary support in this gentle guide.
**Samuel James Recommended** By Elizabeth McCracken - "This is the happiest story in the world with the saddest ending," writes Elizabeth McCracken in her powerful, inspiring memoir. A prize-winning, successful novelist in her 30s, McCracken was happy to be an itinerant writer and self-proclaimed spinster. But suddenly she fell in love, got married, and two years ago was living in a remote part of France, working on her novel, and waiting for the birth of her first child.
By Kelly Farley - Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back is a collection of candid stories from grieving dads that were interviewed over a two year period. The book offers insight from fellow members of, in the haunting words of one dad, “this terrible, terrible club,” which consists of men who have experienced the death of a child. This book is a collection of survival stories by men who have survived the worst possible loss and lived to tell the tale. They are real stories that pull no punches and are told with brutal honesty. Men that have shared their deepest and darkest moments. Moments that included thoughts of suicide, self-medication and homelessness. Some of these men have found their way back from the brink while others are still standing there, stuck in their pain.
By Joanne Cacciatore - This book is comprised of quotations from Bearing the Unbearable, and other sources as well, plus an enormous amount of new material from Dr. Jo. Especially well-suited for the grieving mind that may struggle with concentration, just 30 seconds on any page will empower, hearten, and validate any bereaved person—helping give strength and courage to bear life’s most painful losses.
By Angie Smith - I Will Carry You tells the powerful story of a parent losing her child, interwoven with the biblical story of Lazarus to help those who mourn to still have hope—to find grace and peace in the sacred dance of grief and joy.
By Megan Divine - In It’s OK That You’re Not OK, Megan Devine offers a profound new approach to both the experience of grief and the way we try to help others who have endured tragedy. Having experienced grief from both sides―as both a therapist and as a woman who witnessed the accidental drowning of her beloved partner―Megan writes with deep insight about the unspoken truths of loss, love, and healing. She debunks the culturally prescribed goal of returning to a normal, "happy" life, replacing it with a far healthier middle path, one that invites us to build a life alongside grief rather than seeking to overcome it.
By Jihan Williams - Lifting the Weight of Miscarriage is an emotional and raw recount of one woman’s journey in the six months following her second trimester miscarriage. By exploring her physical, emotional and spiritual experiences in that time, she offers insight into the often hidden world of pregnancy loss while providing suggestions to encourage healing that can be useful to other sufferers and the people in their lives.
By Zoe Clark-Coates - Losing a baby, whether through miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death, leaves so many parents lost in grief and full of unanswered questions.
Zoë Clark-Coates, and her husband Andy, have personally faced the loss of five babies. Out of their experiences came the charity The Mariposa Trust (more often known by its leading division Saying Goodbye), offering support to thousands of grieving parents and relatives around the world each week. Now, Zoë writes a moving account of their experiences and how they found a way through to provide help and support for others.
By Gary Roe - In Shattered, you will discover how to…Manage the massive changes that are occurring in your life, take care of yourself during this process, honor your child with your grief, love those around you, even with a broken heart, live life as well as possible while in the midst of great pain, make your child's life count in deep and powerful ways. Shattered is not a magic pill. The death of a child cannot be fixed. But comfort, compassion, guidance, and hope can be found in these pages.
By Aisha Anderson - Did you or someone you know and love suffer from baby loss via stillbirth – miscarriage, neonatal death or infant loss?If so, this is the book for you! Still Here is the memoir of grieving parents navigating the joys of pregnancy and the extreme lows of (baby) loss. Still Here is a personal testimony of how love, faith, and support can bring you back from the abyss after the loss of your precious baby, into a life of purpose. Alishia wrote this book in hopes to remove the shield of shame, and isolated suffering as well as shed light onto the cloak of secrecy wrapped inside of baby loss. Most importantly, Alishia wrote Still Here as a personal tool to heal her broken heart after suffering the devastating loss of her twenty-eight-week old son, in hopes that her pain and restoration would be the jumpstart to someone else’s recovery after loss. She also delved into the untapped and often forgotten perspective of a grieving father after baby loss from her husband Derrek.It is Alishia’s prayer that Still Here reaches your heart no matter where you are in your grief journey.
By Zoe Clark-Coates - Written by one of the world's leading baby loss support experts, The Baby Loss Guide is designed to help you navigate this complex issue. Whether you have personally encountered loss, or are supporting people through this harrowing time, this book provides practical and compassionate advice.
If you, or someone you know has experienced stillbirth, miscarriage or have a baby die shortly after birth, we offer books to help you through this journey. We have memory books, paperbacks, just for fathers, grandparents, siblings, and more.
By Sunita Osborn - Miscarriage: It can devastate an individual, a couple, and family to their very core. And yet, this painfully common human experience is so rarely talked about. How do we continue functioning? How do we tell our partner what we need? How do we deal with emotional dumpster fire that is the aftermath of a miscarriage? How do we not kill the fifth person who tells us “You can always have another baby.”
By Nisha Zenoff - Nisha Zenoff lost her son in a tragic accident when he was just seventeen years old. Now, with decades of experience as a grief counselor and psychotherapist, she offers support and guidance from her own journey and from others who have experienced the death of a child. The Unspeakable Loss helps those who mourn to face the urgent questions that accompany loss: "Will my tears ever stop?" "Who am I now without my child?" "How can I help my other children cope?" "I lost my only child, how do I live?" "Will my marriage survive?" "Will life ever feel worth living again?"
By Bex Gunn and Laura Buckingham -
Following pregnancy loss, it can feel like you’ve forgotten how to speak and need to learn a new language. You can tell your story to a room full of people but if no-one speaks this new language, they won’t understand. They will try but ultimately, they won’t fully grasp what you are saying. This is us. This is our new language. It is a language built from pain, and it is a language we need to teach others. Welcome to our gang.
**Samuel James Recommended** By Janel C. Atlas - In 2006, Janel Atlas became one of those mothers who left the hospital with empty arms; her second daughter, Beatrice Dianne, was stillborn at 36 weeks. Reaching out for comfort, she realized a dire need shared by so many others like her, and so was born a collection of new essays by writers each sharing their firsthand experiences with stillbirth. Atlas includes selections not only from mothers but also fathers and grandparents, all of whom have intimate stories to share with readers. In addition, there are selections that answer many of the medical questions families have in the wake of a stillbirth and that offer the latest research on this devastating loss and how it might be prevented. Grieving parents will find in these pages the comfort of knowing they are not alone on this painful path, validation of their babies' lives, and guidance from those who have suffered this tragedy. In addition, They Were Still Born both inspires and shows readers how to honor and remember their own babies and stories of loss. No parent- or grandparent-to-be sets out planning to purchase They Were Still Born. Unfortunately, there will always be readers-devastated, grieving, and searching for voices to help them through-who need it.
By Brooke Taylor - "There is no way to begin without telling you the saddest part of the story. It’s a love story, and it begins with a positive pregnancy test. But, it doesn’t end with a baby." After 34 weeks of a textbook, uneventful pregnancy, Brooke and her husband David were shocked when she went into labor weeks before her due date—and then absolutely blindsided when they arrived at the hospital only to be told that their beloved “Baby Duck” no longer had a heartbeat. This book tells the story of what came next: learning to live with a broken heart that keeps on beating, picking up the pieces amidst the devastation of earth-shattering grief, and finding a way to love life again—even when it looks nothing like they had imagined. This is the story of surviving the death of a child, navigating the complexities of life after pregnancy loss, and discovering that grief can somehow become a part of our life without overtaking it completely. Unimaginable: Life after baby loss examines what it means to be a parent bereaved through stillbirth, and traces one mother's path back to a hopeful life.
By Rachel Lewis - When your baby dies, you find yourself in a life you never expected. And even though pregnancy and infant loss are common, they're not common to you. Instead, you feel like a stranger in your own body, surrounded by well-meaning people who often don't know how to support you. What you need during this time is not a book offering easy answers. You need a safe place to help you navigate what comes next.
Weave of Destiny is a memoir relating the tortuous journey over a jagged road that the author and his wife traveled to have a family of their own. It can provide guidance and hope for those who are struggling to have children while fostering a sense of appreciation, gratitude, and thankfulness for those who have not encountered difficulties.
By Shannon Gibney and Kao Kalia Yang - What God Is Honored Here? is the first book of its kind—and urgently necessary. This is a literary collection of voices of Indigenous women and women of color who have undergone miscarriage and infant loss, experiences that disproportionately affect women who have often been cast toward the margins in the United States of America.
By Shelby Forsythia - Everyone experiences grief differently after the loss of a loved one. Some people find solace in comforting quotes and warm words, while others feel a need to take action--to do something to memorialize their loss. And some benefit from both approaches. Here's a path forward for you, no matter how you process your grief.
Nathalie has written three wonderfully moving, inspiring, and helpful books for those navigating grief, trauma, as well as PAIL and child loss. Also, check out her Grief Parents Support Network - the link in is the community page.
Books for Future and Living Earthside Siblings
**Abigail Recommended** By Katelyn Clarke, Melanie Lopata, Denny Poliquit
By Margaret Scofield
By Irma Prosser and Emma Arrellano
By Jamala Murray Arland
By Megan Lacourrage and Joshua Wichterich
By Allie Sheehan and Alana Magdalene
By Polly Zielonka
By Holly Ann Abel and Ally Chundak
By Kara Mangum and Sandy Sanders
**Abigail Recommended** By Patrice Karst and Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
By Laura Camerona
By Rachel Devereux and Charlotte Gower
By Irene Teague
By Pat Schwiebert and Taylor Bills
Books for Pregnancy After Loss
By Zoe Clark-Coates
By Jenny Albers
By Joey Miller
By Joann O'Leary and Lynnda Parker
By Emily Long and Lindsey Henke
By Ann Douglas and John R. Sussman
**Samuel James Recommended** By Elle Wright