A profound collection reflecting the contributors’ “claim on [their] lives as indigenous women and women of color who have experienced infant and fetal loss, in its many forms.”
Though each piece of this collection—edited by Gibney (See No Color, 2015) and Yang (The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father, 2016, etc.)—shares the common theme of infant mortality, each woman’s story grips readers with its individuality and its gut-wrenching pain and sorrow. These tales of loss—from miscarriage, stillbirth, misdiagnosis, ectopic pregnancies, and sudden infant death—all carry the weight of the woman’s heartbreak. They also show abundant love and the honor they felt to be pregnant, regardless of the outcome. Some tales are straightforward and read like a medical history while others ponder the spirituality of life and death. Some women still sense the movement of their child inside them, even after having other children. “According to the Center for Disease Control, in the general population of the United States, 15 to 20 percent of pregnant women will experience a miscarriage in their lifetime,” write the editors in the introduction. The numbers grow disproportionately higher for women of color, which means that many women will readily empathize with the thoughts and feelings of these talented writers and poets who effectively transform their significant internal pain into inspiring art. The narratives are complex and can produce feelings of tension and anxiety, but that only speaks to the quality of the writing. Their trauma will affect each reader differently, but it’s guaranteed that no one will walk away unmoved. “Grief and total desperation joined me to so many women,” writes Sarah Agaton Howes, and continues, “they surround me with their stories, their hands, their laughter, their bitterness, and their sheer determination to not die. I came from this legacy of sadness. But I also came from their legacy of survival.”
A difficult yet important read.