Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Catholic Company Review: After Miscarriage


After Miscarriage: A Catholic Woman's Companion to Healing and Hope by Karen Edmisten

Let me begin by saying I have never knowingly experienced a miscarriage. I have lost nephews and nieces to miscarriage and stillbirth and a few months ago, it seemed we were inundated with loved ones and friends who were grieving babies who would never be born. When I saw this book offered for review, I requested it, hoping I would learn a little about how to best respond to my dear friends and sisters in Christ.

In this book, Karen Edmisten provides excerpts from her own journals, sharing her own thoughts and grief through multiple miscarriages. She also quotes many other women as well as a father from letters or blogs, showing the reader difference responses to the loss and sorrow. She quotes authors, poems, prayers, and Scripture. Each chapter also includes a "Did You Know?" section highlighting different resources or information that might be hard to find. There's also a helpful appendix at the end of the book of resources and organizations as well as an index of the "Did You Know?" topics.

The introduction is beautiful:
If tears are the means, moving forward in love is the end toward which we work. It is agonizing work indeed. But the torment of the cross eventually leads us to a resurrection: an ability to thank God for the gifts that are our children, whom we had to let go of much too soon, and to release them to our good and loving Lord.
Flipping through the book the day it arrived, I was surprised to find a good friend listed in the resources. She courageously agreed to share her experiences through her blog with Ms. Edmisten for the book. 
Sometimes I am surprised when I realize that I feel lonely, even in the midst of my children. I miss my little baby, and I miss that bonding I always feel in pregnancy. I had started praying for her even before I knew that I was pregnant. I prayed for her and bonded with her even before conception. Then gradually I began to notice the changes in my body because of her. Life within me. And I rejoiced in her.
This book is heart-breaking, but I think it holds great hope and solace for someone who may be suffering the loss of miscarriage or infertility. It is a small beautiful book, perfect for someone who can only bear to read a bit at a time. It is not full of promises of other children or other vocations, but an encouragement to mourn, to love, and to learn to praise God despite not understanding His plan. I am certain the author and all of her contributors are praying that it might be a blessing to many woman and families who are mourning.

This book is written for Catholics but I do think it might be comforting for non-Catholic Christians as well. I also found it helpful for myself in my desire to better understand how I might be a faithful friend to families who experience miscarriage or stillbirth.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an objective review. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on After Miscarriage. They are also a great source for a baptism gifts or first communion gifts.

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for such a lovely and thoughtful review!

    Janet was indeed kind and gracious to let me use her story.

    And, by the way, those are some beautiful kids in your sidebar. :)

    Blessings to you!

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  2. Karen, thank you for coming by!

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  3. What a beautiful and caring thing to do. I saw that book come across for review, but alas, I STILL haven't reviewed "Walking With God" (because I have yet to finish it entirely) so I couldn't sign up for it. Perhaps I could borrow it sometime. It sounds like the author did a wonderful job.

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  4. Michelle, I plan to send my copy to my sister-in-law with a note that she doesn't have to return it if she finds it helpful (as I hope she does), but I do hope you have the chance to read it. I know it's still available for review if you have time to finish your book soon.

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  5. I haven't been able to write a review of this book yet, so I am glad you did. It was really neat to see my name and writing in it!

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  6. H of B, I read the book pretty quickly as it is short, but I could imagine it taking me a lot longer - months and months - to read through it if I had my own memories of miscarriage or stillbirth.

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