19 Helpful Books to Read After a Miscarriage
Suffering a pregnancy loss can be an emotionally difficult and isolating experience. But no matter how alone you feel, know you are not: About one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage, and while everyone copes with loss differently, there are commonalities, and comfort, to be found in share experiences…
Along with loneliness, when dealing with loss, you may also experience waves of sadness, anger, denial and resentment, says fertility wellness expert Josephine Alturi. “Unlike the loss of a loved one you have known for years, pregnancy loss is unique because there’s an added loss of expectations, hopes and dreams,” she explains. “Since the person never got to interact face-to-face with their child, their emotions are tied up in their dreams of the child.”
It can be challenging to parse the jumble of emotions that can follow in the wake of a miscarriage, and difficult to share your feelings with family or friends who haven’t experienced loss of their own. Which is where books about grappling with miscarriage can come in handy. “Books can take the place of the understanding and empathy that we all crave from people when we are grieving,” Alturi says. “They can offer a different lens of perspective on how to process your grief than you may have thought to do. Also, books can give you support when you are ready to try again, which can be a very scary process.”
If you have older children who were anticipating the arrival of a new sibling, a pregnancy loss can be just as confusing and emotionally fraught for them. Books can help guide your conversations with them, frame the turn of events in age-appropriate ways and validate their feelings.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best books to steer you through those darkest hours, help you move forward and remind you that you’re definitely not alone in this.
Knowing there are others who walked a similar path can often help ease your pain. Below, some books that share stories from other parents and experts who’ve been through the grief you’re experiencing and how they came out the other side.
Our Stories of Miscarriage: Healing With Words
The book offers a collection of experiences from 50 contributors, both men and women, who’ve suffered miscarriages and dealt with the aftermath. Through essays, poems and journal entries, the book aims to provide words of comfort and validation to anyone who might be struggling with loss. It also includes a helpful list of resources for further reading.
About What Was Lost: Twenty Writers on Miscarriage, Healing, and Hope
The anthology includes 20 writers who discuss the emotions a miscarriage can bring, such as grief, sadness and hope. It includes a wide spectrum of experiences and perspectives to encapsulate the many pathways grief can take. Written to spark a more open and honest dialogue about pregnancy loss, this book will encourage you to talk about your experience with others, rather than keeping it secret.
You Are Not Alone: Love Letters From Loss Mom to Loss Mom
This special book is a compilation of love letters from moms who have experienced pregnancy loss. Their hope? To help you walk through the darkest days of your grief, offer comfort and help you feel less alone. Through its pages, You Are Not Alone offers grieving moms a sense of community and acceptance.
What God Is Honored Here?
What God Is Honored Here? specifically serves Indigenous women and women of color—communities that are disproportionately affected by pregnancy loss and adverse maternal care outcomes. Sharing voices from women within these groups, the book touches on loss across generations, experiences with misdiagnoses, miscarriages, still births and other traumas of pregnancy loss. But the goal is simple: to unite the women within these communities, so they can become the fiercest advocates for themselves and each other.
Trying Again: A Guide to Pregnancy After Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss
Trying Again tackles the emotional subject of trying to conceive after a pregnancy loss. Author Ann Douglas shares her own journey through grief and a subsequent pregnancy, and shares advice from other women who’ve been through it. She also enlists the expertise of ob-gyn John R. Sussman to help you navigate the uncertain time between loss and how to know if you’re ready to try again.
Waiting for Daisy
Peggy Orenstein’s memoir runs through her journey to parenthood, spanning six years. She details how she overcame breast cancer, infertility and several miscarriages before finally welcoming her daughter, Daisy, into the world. She also delves into how the journey affected her marriage. Written with wry humor, you’ll laugh and cry while reading her account, but most importantly, you’ll connect with her amazing path to motherhood.
A Guide for Fathers: When a Baby Dies
This book focuses on how to help fathers through the grieving process when it comes to pregnancy loss. Though they may not have been carrying baby, their loss runs just as deep. The guide shows fathers how they can get through the days following a loss, while still being a source of strength for their partner. With all the resources out there for moms, this book is a must for dads.
I Had a Miscarriage: A Memoir, a Movement
In her memoir, psychologist Jessica Zucker shares her miscarriage story and how it changed the way she viewed her work in maternal mental health. Through her words and the stories of other women, she simultaneously validates all the emotions that come with a pregnancy loss while sparking a mission to break the stigma and shame that surrounds it.
The Miscarriage Map: What to Expect When You Are No Longer Expecting
Using both her personal miscarriage experience and her expertise, psychologist Sunita Osborn offers an unflinchingly honest look at the aftermath of miscarriage. She tackles topics such as how to communicate with your partner, how to navigate the difficult emotions, how your relationship with your body might be affected and how to move forward from the insensitive comments of others.
Empty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby
Author Deboarah Davis helps parents wrestle with all the emotions that come after a loss and offers methods of coping with the tragedy. She also dedicates chapters to providing resources specific to fathers, as well as parents who might worry about their living children.
Not Broken: An Approachable Guide to Miscarriage and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
Written by reproductive endocrinologist Lora Shahine, Not Broken serves as a comprehensive guide for parents struggling with miscarriage or recurrent pregnancy loss. She compares common practices surrounding miscarriage in Western and Eastern medicine, and empowers parents to be their own advocate.
Author Zoë Clark-Coates and her husband have suffered five pregnancy losses. To turn their devastating experiences into ones of hope, the couple founded The Mariposa Trust, a charity that works to support grieving parents. In Saying Goodbye, Zoë details how the couple moved forward and the coping mechanisms they found. She also offers 90 days of daily support for anyone who might be suffering following a pregnancy loss.
Kid Gloves: Nine Months of Careful Chaos
Lucy Knisley manages to infuse heartbreak with humor in this memoir as she talks about her struggles with infertility, multiple miscarriages and a near-death experience during her eventual full-term pregnancy. The book offers not only Knisley’s journey to motherhood, but also includes scientific facts related to reproductive health, as well as important figures in medicine and midwifery.
Explaining to a young child why their sibling isn’t coming home is an incredibly difficult task—and one that can feel overwhelming when you’re trying to work through your own grief. Loss is a concept that can be challenging for little ones to understand. To ease your journey, these authors have created the following books to help teach little ones about loss and eternal love.
This illustrated children’s book is written in a simple but clear way to help young children understand the loss that’s occurred in their family. Author Cathy Blanford, an expert in early childhood development, helps children understand and cope with the emotions they might be feeling, such as sadness, fear, guilt and confusion. She also walks through ways to move forward; how the family can take steps to honor the lost child; and how parents can reassure surviving little ones they’re loved and will be okay.
We Had To Say Goodbye Before We Even Met
We Had To Say Goodbye Before We Even Met is written from the perspective of Erin-Rose, who’s looking forward to soon meeting her little sister or brother. However, as the family experiences a tragic loss, Erin-Rose must contend with and process her grief. The book is based on author and clinical psychologist Irene Teague’s own experience. It aims to help normalize these emotions for young kids and offers tips for how parents can support their little ones (along with themselves) as they process their grief.
My Sibling Still
My Sibling Still is written as a love letter from the sibling who was lost to their surviving siblings. It helps little ones understand their feelings while reminding them that their lost sibling will continue to live on through their loving family. It offers a beautiful way to honor any child that was lost and carries a message of love that transcends life and death.
We Were Gonna Have A Baby, But We Had An Angel Instead
Author Pat Schwiebert has over three decades of experience helping people through their grief. With this illustrated children’s book, she helps children understand the heartbreak of their parents and cope with any emotions they themselves might be feeling. Little ones, especially toddlers, may not always understand the loss that’s occurred, but this book can help them find the images and words to describe what they might be experiencing at home.
Perfectly Imperfect Family
Unlike some of the other books on this list, Perfectly Imperfect Family focuses on helping rainbow babies understand any siblings that came before them. Perfectly Imperfect Family tells the story of a little boy and how he honors and includes his older sister’s memory in the family’s daily life.
Mommy Says I Have a Brother
Author Stephany Resendes experienced a heartbreaking loss in 2016 and created this book to help other families like hers. The children’s book helps grieving parents talk about what it’s like to have a sibling they may or may not have met and allows them the space to ask questions.
About the expert:
Josephine Alturi is a fertility and parenting coach and an expert in meditation and mindfulness. She’s a mom to seven and created her family through in-vitro fertilization, international adoption and surrogacy. She uses this personal experience to inform her work. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Alturi is also the host of the podcast “Responding to Life: Talking Health, Fertility, & Parenthood,” as well as the author of Mindfulness Journal for Parents and 5 Minute Mindfulness for Pregnancy.
Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.