Published by Bethany House Publishers on August 10, 2021
Genres: Non-Fiction, Parenting
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What to Expect When You're No Longer Expecting
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, such as:
· Coping with a postpartum body without a baby in your arms.
· Facing social isolation and grief invalidation.
· Wrestling with faith when you feel let down by God.
· Dealing with the overwhelming process of making everyday decisions.
· Learning to move forward after loss.
· Creating a legacy for your child.
In Unexpecting, bereaved mom Rachel Lewis is the friend you never knew you'd need, walking you through the unique grief of baby loss. When nothing about life after loss makes sense... this book will.
This book is full of compassionate wisdom for mothers and fathers dealing with pregnancy loss, stillbirth, and early infant death. The author, Rachel Lewis, writes with raw emotion and tender compassion, sharing about her own experiences, what she has learned from research, and what she and other bereaved parents have learned through their grief journeys. Regardless of the details of someone’s loss, they will find elements of this book helpful and reassuring, and in addition to sharing her own story, Lewis includes regular testimonials from other parents about the specifics of their journeys. Unexpecting: Real Talk on Pregnancy Loss isn’t about just one type of loss, or one way of dealing with a child’s death, but covers a wide range of reactions, emotions, life situations, and specific struggles.
Content and Audience
Near the beginning, Lewis explains that when she first faced pregnancy loss, she couldn’t find an adequate book to help her. She planned to someday fill that gap, and in addition to building a successful blog that has reached other loss parents, she has now written this book, sensitively addressing a variety of issues that grieving parents face. Throughout the book, she writes about many different topics, including making medical decisions after loss, dealing with grief triggers, brain fog, and ongoing emotional upheaval, helping other children grieve, considering future pregnancy, and dealing with the unique dynamics of expecting again after loss, if parents choose to and are able to conceive again. She writes about a wide range of different concerns, which I have never seen represented so well within one book, and she also addresses common issues related to enduring other people’s hurtful comments and advice.
Lewis specifically addresses hurtful platitudes that are common in Christian circles, but she does not presume that the reader is a Christian. Throughout the book, she writes in a gracious, open-handed way to people with different backgrounds, and even though one chapter specifically focuses on faith, the majority of the book does not use spiritual language, encourage people to rely on God, or focus on dynamics specific to believers. This keeps the book accessible and helpful to people from any background, but because this book is from a Christian publisher, some readers may be disappointed that Lewis does not delve in deeper with faith-related content. If someone is looking for a Christian perspective on miscarriage, I would encourage them to read this book alongside others, such as the Abby Wedgeworth devotional Held: 31 Biblical Reflections on God’s Comfort and Care in the Sorrow of Miscarriage.
For Moms and Dads
Rachel Lewis divided this book’s content under the four themes of loss, lament, love, and legacy. The chapters are all short and easy to read, with lots of headings in bold above different paragraphs. This makes it easy for someone to flip through and spot sections that are especially relevant to them, and the simple organization and short sections work well for grieving people with limited time and mental and emotional bandwidth to read. This book is very well-written and carefully organized, and is exceptional in its inclusion of fathers with mothers, both in terms of the book’s content and the testimonials Lewis shares. Like many other books, Unexpecting includes a chapter specific to dads, but it also mentions and addresses them throughout the course of the whole book.
Unexpecting: Real Talk on Pregnancy Loss is a wonderful resource for grieving parents. I would highly recommend it to moms and dads, and to loved ones and helpers who want to understand what bereaved parents are going through. Even though this book deals with heavy topics, Lewis wrote it in a way that is easy to read, with short, well-organized sections, and her deeply compassionate writing can help and encourage people no matter where they are in their grief journey. This is one of the best and most comprehensive books about pregnancy loss that I know of, and I would highly recommend it.