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"Losing a child is a parentís worse nightmare. In our fantasies about our lives and how they will play out, we never envision that we will lose a child. In fact we have the most beautiful baby (or babies) in the world and everyone lives happily ever after. The truth is, that sometimes parents lose their baby. There may be no discernable rhyme nor reason to the loss, making the loss much worse as we blame ourselves, our bodies, the world.

Getting pregnant after a loss has additional issues: Will we lose another pregnancy? What are my chances of losing another pregnancy? When is the optimum time to try again? When another pregnancy does occur, time lines can be emotionally depleting, especially if they mirror those of the unsuccessful pregnancy. Such fears and questions are normal.

Journeys: Stories of Pregnancy After Loss, edited by Amy L. Abbey, chronicles stories of loss by parents whom have suffered the worst kind of loss. This touching and caring book speaks to the pain of losing a much-wanted and loved baby, through miscarriage, stillbirth or just after birth. One by one parents recount how their pregnancy progressed, some knowing ahead of time that their precious child would not live to feel the sun. Parents speak to their innocence about their pregnancy, their joys, and about the journey of the distress of their loss. Some share their disbelief with the news of their childís prognosis and of processing that knowledge. They share how they coped through their loving relationships with each other, family and friends. Some had other children but the emptiness remains in spite of the subsequent joy of the birth of a healthy child.

I think it is important not only to tell the stories of precious lives lost, but also in letting us know that we are not alone in our grief. By sharing their stories, these courageous parents have honoured the short lives of their babies while at the same time extending a hand and loving spirit to other grieving families experiencing the same situation. Together we are so much stronger and the path, while still bumpy and often uphill, is somehow made a little better."

†-Lynda Haddon, Multiple Births Families


"Pregnancy after loss is a harrowing and nerve-wracking experience. Once you have lost a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, or as an infant, the world of pregnancy takes on a completely different look. The blinders that we wore are stripped away and the innocence that we enjoyed is gone. In the past, we might have been able to face the anticipation of a pregnancy with such hope for the future. But when a pregnancy or a birth ends with the death of our child, those happy and blissful images of pregnancy disappear forever.

In her new book, Journeys: Stories of Pregnancy After Loss, Amy L. Abbey has brought together emotional and heart-felt experiences of miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death as told by the parents who have lived it. These tales are then coupled with the joyous stories of that same family's successful subsequent pregnancy and child. The result is a beautiful book that brings into focus the strength and hope that can follow the loss of a child.

Journeys is a must-read for anyone who has experienced pregnancy and infant loss, but especially for those who are looking fearfully ahead into their own future, trying to find hope in another pregnancy. Families and friends of the bereaved parents might also find this book helpful in illustrating, in very stark and plain terms, the realities that so many families unfortunately have to face.

Pregnancy after loss is a tender and emotional thing. So often, everyone around us wants to be so cheerful and exuberant about the wonderful news of a new beginning. For everyone on the outside, pregnancy after loss is doubly happy and doubly exciting. But what many fail to recognize is that for the parents who are now expecting another child, it is terrifying. The joy does not come easily, and the fears that everyone will soon forget that special child who died are overwhelming. Now that these parents have experienced life as that minority statistic whose pregnancy ended with a death, the idea that the odds are with them for a good outcome is meaningless.

There are few things more powerful than knowing there are others who have been there. Reading these stories of loss and trying again, I was brought back into the pain as well as the joy of my own experiences. So many of my own thoughts and feelings are mirrored in the stories told in this book. There is tremendous value in having my own feelings validated and knowing that I am not alone. For anyone who has experienced a loss and is seeking avenues toward hope, this book is for you."

-Corinne O'Flynn, Director, Rowan Tree Foundation

 
Read a Review from the The Long Island Press February 19-February 25, 2009 edition.
 



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