Unexpecting: Real Talk On Pregnancy Loss, by Rachel Lewis
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Bethany House Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Although this book is about a heartbreaking subject, the loss of a beloved unborn child to a miscarriage or stillbirth, there was something about this book that deeply bothered me. One could write a deeply affecting book by talking about the personal loss and grief suffered when one has hoped for a child and it dies before drawing breath in our troubled world and the repercussions that loss carries with it over the years. One can write a book that is written dispassionately and grimly scientifically about the biological realities relating to miscarriages and their results for the mother. This book, uncomfortably, tries both approaches, and it is the combination of the two that accounts for my own less than pleasant feelings about this book. It is as if the author wants to simultaneously write as a form of therapy while also presenting herself as some sort of objective authority to a painful and unpleasant subject, and both the subjective emotional and “objective” scientific sides of this book are presented in an rather heavy-handed manner that alienates readers who might have been prone to be more sympathetic if the right tone had been struck.
This book is about 250 pages and is divided into four parts that express different parts of the author’s journey through dealing with miscarriage. The first part deals with the loss itself and how it affects various aspects of the mother’s life, ending with some journal prompts for those in this position. After that come several chapters that deal with lament, with the triggers and struggle with faith and complicated feelings that follow a loss as one comes to terms with not having the chance for one’s child to live as one had hoped and planned. The third part, probably the part of the book I appreciated the most, looks at the love that fathers and mothers have for the lost child and how this is to be expressed by both parents. After that the fourth part looks at the legacy of a lost child, including the question of whether one is to try again to bear another a child as well as deal with parenting after a loss and seeking a legacy for a child that did not live in life but which still lives on in one’s mind. After that there are appendices that deal with questions with rights (i) and suggested reading (ii) as well as support resources (iii), followed by acknowledgements and endnotes.