A frank, touching joint memoir.
Twelve weeks and three days into a second pregnancy, the Irish authors were faced with the brutal finality of miscarriage. This slim yet illuminating volume records their struggle to cope with it. In the wake of such an intimate tragedy, O’Neill-White writes in the introduction, she searched the shelves for books on the topic to see if her feelings of profound loss were “normal,” but discovered only one statistically based study that failed to address the variety of horrors she and her husband were experiencing—the reason, she explains, why they decided to tell their story. Their alternating narrations spare no detail in recounting the physical and emotional duress endured, from the paralyzing discovery of a first drop of blood and the doctor’s callous pronouncement that miscarriage was imminent, to the painful, gory delivery that followed and its aftermath. In the most gripping passage, O’Neill-White describes the horrible juxtaposition that followed her arrival at the emergency ward of a maternity hospital, where she tried not to wail over her soon-to-be miscarried fetus so as not to disturb the women in labor around her. To compound the couple’s distress, at the moment when each needed the other most, White was barred from attending to his wife—husbands were only allowed in the ER if a baby was “actually being born.” Along with its openness, this account excels in providing the perspectives of both partners. Each, at times, serves as witness to and participant in the other’s grief, and their separate recollections of the same event underscore both the magnitude of its effect on their relationship and the vital importance of communication when coping with loss.
A balm for any whose lives have been touched by miscarriage.