Suggested Books, from our Parents

Below are a few titles that parents have repeatedly recommended. Some have a review from an MIS parent.
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Empty Cradle, Broken Heart

Revised Edition: Surviving the Death of Your Baby
By: Deborah L. Davis

MIS Review:
If a "textbook" for baby loss exists, this may be it, for this is an extraordinarily-comprehensive guide to pregnancy and infant loss. It has been in existence for decades yet is still 100% relevant.

Like any other reference text, this book can be read in sections as needed. It is not a "story," so skipping around in the book will not have any negative impact. Instead, readers can pick and choose what they need and when.

The book is organized as follows:
Chapter 1-- Why is this so hard?
Chapter 2-- Grief and mourning
Chapter 3-- How your brain is affected
Chapter 4-- Mindfulness-based coping strategies
Chapter 5-- The early days and months
Chapter 6-- Affirming your baby
Chapter 7-- Painful feelings
Chapter 8-- The journey of healing
Chapter 9-- Making peace with agonizing decisions
Chapter 10-- Especially for fathers
Chapter 11-- You and your partner
Chapter 12-- Your Family
Chapter 13-- Support Networks
Chapter 14-- Trying Again
Chapter 15-- Subsequent pregnancy
Chapter 16-- Bonding, birth, and beyond
Chapter 17-- Living in remembrance

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An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination

A Memoir by: Elizabeth McCracken

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Bearing the Unbearable: Love, Loss, and the Heartbreaking Path of Grief

Joanne Cacciatore (Author)

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Every Day Spirit: A Daybook of Wisdom, Joy and Peace

Mary Davis (Author)

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The Baby Loss Guide

Practical and Compassionate Support with a Day-to-Day Resource to Navigate the path of grief
By Clark-Coates, Zoe

MIS Review:
No one EVER expects to face the worst loss of all-- the loss of a child-- so when it happens, most parents are woefully unprepared and feel lost themselves. Because our society so rarely discusses these losses, especially if they occurred prior to the child's birth, the parents are often left feeling isolated, confused, and extraordinarily alone as they grieve the loss of their dream, their precious baby. Rarely in life is there a "guide" to help us navigate what lies in front of us, but this book is a treasure because it is just that-- a guide to help parents stay afloat in the dark, violent waters of parental grief.

This book is broken up into two parts. --Part I contains 31 chapters on topics including: What is Normal, Miscarriage, Stillbirth, Ectopic Pregnancy, SIDS, Termination for Medical Purposes, Planning a Funeral. Intimacy Post-Loss, Returning to Work, Social Media, Pregnancy After Loss, Advice for Family and Friends, and Healing. -- Part II is 60 days of journaling and support, a step-by-step guide to walk parents through the first 60 days of their healing (though it doesn't have to be the FIRST 60 days; I used this guide more than a year after my daughter died.)

I have read well over 40 books about pregnancy and infant loss or about grief in general, and I would say this book has been one of the most helpful. It addresses topics few other books address, and its clear organization makes it easy to find the information I need when I need it. I've referred back to this book over and over again as I learn to live with my losses. I've also purchased several copies of this book to gift to others who are also facing this horrific loss.

The author of this book knows what she is talking about. She and her husband have had to say goodbye to five children who died prior to their birth, is a grief counselor, is a TV host of a program titled Soul Tears, and is the author of several books regarding pregnancy and infant loss. She is also the author of some of the best quotes about parental grief. She can be trusted.
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A Time to Decide a Time to Heal

For Parents Making Difficult Decisions About Babies They Love
By Molly A. Minnick & Kathleen J. Delp

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A Resource in Planning Farewell Rituals When a Baby Dies
Jane M. Lamb (Editor)

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Beyond Goodbye

By Zoe Clark-Coates

MIS Review:
As a loss parent herself, Zoe Clark-Coates has first-hand knowledge of what it's like to navigate the dark waters of parental grief. Therefore, she is a trusted source for many parents who have been inducted into this club in which none of us want to be a member.

Beyond Goodbye is organized into 6 sections, each of which has valuable information. The first chapter is titled "The Start of the Journey," and it includes information about the first few days and weeks after loss, what to expect in the early days, what is "normal," and commonly-asked questions about the grief journey. Chapter 2 is titled "Losing a Loved One," and it includes stories from the bereaved. The third chapter, titled "Practical Considerations," has information about fear, intimacy, returning to work, use of social media, and notable occasions (such as holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.). Chapter 4 is titled "Post Loss," and it includes information that is helpful to pass along to others, such as advice for family and friends of the bereaved. The fifth chapter, titled "Layers of Grief," includes information about grief not only in the beginning, but also over time. The final section of the book is titled "60 Days of Support and Journaling," and it is a day-by-day resource to help the bereaved through those excruciating first few weeks and months.

Some books about grief can feel too "heavy," and are thus often too challenging for the newly-bereaved to use as an effective tool as they navigate their journey, but Zoe Clark-Coates seems to have a gift for balancing information with compassion, and gentle guidance with structure. She is a beacon of light and hope.
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The Miscarriage Map

By Dr. Sunita Osborn

MIS Review:
After one endures a devastating pregnancy loss, there are a number of "taboo" topics that our society often tries to prevent the bereaved from discussing, including the medical side of pregnancy loss, resenting pregnant women and all things related to pregnancy, intimacy and relationships after pregnancy loss, your relationship with yourself and your body, and learning to live with our new normal. In this book, Dr. Osborn, a licensed psychologist and bereaved mother herself, addresses all these topics with brutal honesty, humor, and zero concern for phrasing things in a way just to make others comfortable. (Warning: strong language)
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Not Broken

An Approachable Guide to Miscarriage and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
By Lora Shahine, MD

MIS Review:
For those who are seeking more clinical explanations of pregnancy loss, this is the book for you. The author is a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist, so she presents information in this book from a medical standpoint, yet at no time does this book have a cold, unfeeling tone. In fact, it has just the opposite; its tone is compassionate and empowering.

This book is broken up into nine primary chapters prior to the glossary.

Chapter 1: Miscarriage: What is it and how often does it happen?
Chapter 2: Why me? Evaluation and treatment of recurrent pregnancy loss
Chapter 3: When experts disagree: controversies in care for recurrent pregnancy loss
Chapter 4: Genetics: the link between age, egg quality, and miscarriage
Chapter 5: Lifestyle modifications to optimize health and decrease miscarriage risk
Chapter 6: Emotional wellness: the psychological impact of miscarriage
Chapter 7: The other half: what about men and miscarriage?
Chapter 8: Planting the seeds of pregnancy: an integrative approach to miscarriage
Chapter 9: Now what: moving forward as an advocate for your care
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Fathers Speak

By Emily Long

MIS Review:
Often, after a child dies, particularly if the death occurred during pregnancy, the vast majority of the attention, care, and compassion is focused on the mother of the baby, leaving grieving fathers feeling forgotten. This book is written by fathers and is intended for fathers. Through each father's story, the message is strongly sent that grief, pain, and devastation are also a part of the father's experience after the loss of a precious child, and that grieving fathers are not alone.
The stories told in this book include stories from:

- Mathilda's daddy (Mathilda was born still)
- Hannah Rae's father (Hannah Rae died unexpectedly)
- Noah's dad (Noah died 4 days after birth)
- Ashlyn's daddy (Ashlyn was stillborn at 39 weeks)
- Noah and Rowan's father (Noah died at 5 months, due to SMA, and Rowan's pregnancy was terminated for medical purposes)
- Persephonee's dad (Persephonee died at age 5.5)
- Lenni's papa (Lenni was born still)
- Aubrey Violet's daddy (Aubrey died after being born prematurely)
- Bryson's father (Bryson was born at 20 weeks due to medical complications)
- Logan's dad (Logan was born at 24 weeks and died shortly after his birth)
- Lillian's papa ( Lillian was stillborn at 35 weeks)
- Sophie's daddy (Sophie was born still)
- Sam, Leah, Phoebe, and Harriet's father (The Parkes children died due to miscarriage and stillbirth)
- Asher Ray's dad (Asher Ray was stillborn, following siblings who died due to miscarriage)
- Oliver's daddy (Oliver died 19 hours after his birth at 27 weeks)
- Elijah's papa ( Elijah was born still)
- MJ's daddy (MJ died at age 35 days, due to CDH)
- Lilly's dad ( Lilly was born at almost 18 weeks)
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From Father to Father

By Emily Long

MIS Review:
Through this book of letters from grieving fathers, to grieving fathers, is intended to help fathers who are either new in their grief or who are experiencing deep grief "hiccups" to find some comfort and peace in reading the words of other dads who knows too well the pain associated with child loss.

The letters include one from fathers of children who died due to a number of circumstances, including: complications during childbirth, overdose, miscarriage, stillbirth, accidental death, neonatal death, prematurity, terminal diagnosis, and unknown causes. In all the letters, the fathers who "have been there and walked this path" offer compassionate guidance, suggestions, empathy, and heartfelt support.
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When Hello Means Goodbye

A Resource in Planning Farewell Rituals When a Baby Dies
By Paul Kirk & Pat Schwiebert

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Surviving my First Year of Child Loss

By Nathalie Himmelrich

MIS Review:
Through ten different sections, this book addresses numerous topics important to many parents facing the unthinkable-- the loss of a child. While the book is intended for parents in their first year of parental grief, it could also be helpful to all bereaved parents, not only those who are fresh in the grieving process.

There is a handy index in the beginning of the book that lists a number of topics addressed in the book-- accidental death, adolescent death, adult child death, childhood illness, faith and grief, fetal congenital conditions, homicide, miscarriage, men and grief, multiple losses, neonatal death, parents without living children, post-traumatic stress, pregnancy after loss, relationships, sibling grief, single bereaved parents, stillbirth, twinless twin, work and grief, and young child grief.

The book then continues into its ten sections:
1. When Your World Falls Apart: Surviving a Parent's Worst Nightmare
2. You Are Not Alone: Finding Your Community of Support
3. A Different You: Recognizing the Person in the Mirror
4. Loss of Self: Living with the Mental Aftermath
5. Caring for Your Whole Person: Physical and Spiritual Self-Care
6. Still Mother: Still Their Parent; Still My Child
7. Growing Your Family: Pregnancy After Loss
8. Labours of Love: Creating Meaning After Loss
9. Always Remembered: We Are Not Separated by Death
10. Resources
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"Surviving the Death of a Baby"

Not a book, but a PDF, originally posted for download by


All the Love

By Kim Hooper, Meredith Resnick, and Huong Diep

MIS Review:
The author, Kim Hooper, has endured two ectopic pregnancies, an early miscarriage, and a second-trimester loss, so she is knowledgeable about the frustration and anger many of us feel when we read "self-help" books that encourage us to keep our chins up, focus on the positive, and "try again." Few parents find those types of books helpful, and knowing that, Hooper, along with an LCSW and a licensed psychologist, wrote this book, which is part memoir, part navigation guide, and part therapy.

This book addresses some types of loss, as well as special situations, that many other books seem to gloss over or just not address, including: chemical pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy, blighted ovum, molar pregnancy, first-trimester miscarriage, second-trimester miscarriage, preterm delivery, stillbirth, unplanned pregnancy, loss of a baby in a multiple pregnancy, infertility, and termination for medical purposes.

Additionally, this book includes information about the medical part of pregnancy loss, the WIDE variety of emotions felt during the grief journey, "grieving in a society that sucks at grief," connection with your baby, connecting with your partner, connecting with others, returning to "normal," triggers from other babies, finding yourself, pregnancy after loss, and compounded grief.

This book is one of the most-comprehensive, yet "approachable" books I've read about pregnancy loss. I found it remarkably helpful despite not finding it until a few years after my losses.
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The Memory Box

By Joanna Rowland

MIS Review:
This children's picture book is specifically about children's grief, though it is not limited to grief surrounding pregnancy and infant loss. In the story, the little girl is trying to process her grief after the death of a loved one and is working through how to best hold onto her memories. She develops a "memory box," in which she collects items that help her remember her loved one. She experiences a myriad of emotions, including confusion, sadness, fear, and peace, but she isn't always sure how to understand or communicate what she is feeling. Her memory box, however, helps bring her some comfort and feeling of control. In the end of this book, there is a two-page guide for adults regarding how to help children process grief.
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Forever Connected

By Jessica Correnti

MIS Review:
In this short children's book, four children whose siblings died all speak to their parents and their teacher/counselor about their siblings' deaths and what makes them feel connected to them. Unlike many children's books, which skirt around the issue of death, this book is very concrete and real, using terms such as death, died, casket, etc. Instead of saying things such as " They went to sleep," which can scare children, or "They're in a better place," which can confuse children, this book says "When someone dies, they're never coming back." For parents or caregivers seeking an honest, simple, and concrete approach, this book is a wonderful option. Included at the end of the book is a page of guidance for families and caregivers.
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I am STILL a Big Brother

By Bella Mody

MIS Review:
In this children's book, a big brother grapples with the reality that his baby sister died before he could ever meet her, but that that tragedy doesn't mean he isn't still a big brother. The boy describes his thoughts of his sister, what he imagines she'd look like, and what he says to her. He also explains that he and his parents are of course sad about the death of their baby girl, but that they can find joy and beauty in their world. The book's rhyming text will likely appeal to very young children, while the detailed illustrations make this book appealing to school-age children, as well. Like many grief books geared towards children, the author includes a page directly addressing both bereaved siblings and their grieving parents, providing a few words of compassion and advice.
The author being a bereaved mother herself, and the illustrator a bereaved sibling, this book feels as though it was created by "two of our own," two people who understand the hell of pregnancy and infant loss.
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Something Happened

By Cathy Blanford

MIS Review:
This children's book is slightly different than most other children's books about pregnancy and infant loss. While it shares some similarities with other books, namely that it is narrated by a child who is excited to be a big brother but who then faces the death of his sibling, it has a unique trait that I've not seen in other books in this genre-- notes to/talking points for PARENTS at the bottom of most pages, notes intended to help guide parents in discussions with their children about pregnancy, loss, and grief. Suggestions such as how to express excitement about a new baby without making a child feel replaced, reminders about the way some children process emotion, and messages about communicating what happened to the baby, are included throughout the book.
The author has had a long career working with grieving children, and she uses some of those children's actual words in the story, so the narrative is realistic to children.
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Invisible Mothers

By Emily Long

MIS Review:
There are very few books written specifically for mothers who do not have any living children, but Invisible Mothers fills that niche, acknowledging and honoring those mothers whose arms are empty and for whom the dream of having a living child may never come true. For once, these "Invisible Mothers" are SEEN and HEARD.

Split up into three sections, this book addresses "Our Experience of Love and Loss" (Part I), "Sharing Love and Support" (Part II), and "Life Continues: A Brighter Today" (Part III). The author, Emily Long, herself an "Invisible Mother," includes stories of not only her own experience losing two daughters (Grace and Lily), but also the stories of 50 other "Invisible Mothers" whose losses happened recently to decades before. The mothers whose stories are told come from six different countries, a wide variety of backgrounds (faith, sexual orientation, culture, relationship status, political affiliation, career, loss type, and family dynamics), and the wide variety of ages. Most "Invisible Mothers" will find a story that somehow mirrors their own in at least one way.

In this book, Emily Long, the author, states that her "work around grief and loss for mothers who live without children is simple:
• Our babies' lives have meaning and value.
• Our lives and experiences of motherhood is valuable and meaningful."
She goes on to make several statements directed at friends and family members of Invisible Mothers, advice that is excellent not only for those supporting Invisible Mothers, but for supporting all loss parents:
• You cannot fix this for us.
• Nothing you say or do will take away our grief or our pain over the loss of our child. Grief isn't something that can be fixed, it hasnto be felt and experienced and moved through.
• You can't make everything better for us, but that doesn't mean we don't need your love and support.
• We need you to see us.
• We need you to acknowledge our motherhood and our babies' lives.
• We need you to remember with us.
• We need you to be present with us, at our worst and at our best.
• We need you to love us, without judgment.
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You are Not Alone: Letters from Loss Mom to Loss Mom

By Emily Long

MIS Review:
This book seems a simple concept--a series of letters written by bereaved mothers to bereaved mothers-- but through its format, it shines a light upon and validates what so many of us have felt throughout our grief journies. While the format of this book is simple, it's message and importance is far more complex.
A few of the statements that stood out, and brought some element of comfort, to this reviewer include:
• From Alex Hopper, Cyrus's mother: "I know you wish 'Bereaved Mother' was not a title that now described you. Oh, how I have wished the same. It is simply another reminder of the unfairness of it all. It is not fair that the beautiful title of 'Mother' is now forever tainted with that qualifier."
• From Angela: "To lose a child is to lose the very heart and soul of you. It is overwhelmingly disorienting. It takes a long, long ti,time, to find yourself again. It takes a long time to grow new life around the chasm of such grave loss. It takes a long time to grow beauty from ashes."
• From Caitlin, Anderson's mother: "Exactly two years after my son's death, the grief is so much less sharp than it was before that at times I feel guilty. I still think of him every day, and likely always will, but the edges have blunted tremendously."
• From Chloe, Soley's mom: "Grieving [Soley] didn't make me grow as a person-- this is real life, not Eat Pray Love."
• From Jennifer: "I wanted to hear that no matter how old my baby girl was when she died, she died. I did not 'mis'carry her. I did not lose a pregnancy. My daughter died. And her life, no matter how short, mattered. And your child's life mattered too."
• From Maria, Bruce's mother: "You are not alone, even though our stories are unique, and our children irreplaceable individuals, each an unmatched contribution to this world. Even if the rest of society dismisses your unique story,myour unique family, your unique pain, you are not alone."

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There Was a Baby

By Laura Camerona

MIS Review:
This is a very simple, non-threatening children's book intended for siblings whose baby brothers and sisters did not get to come home. It explains pregnancy loss in a realistic, yet simple way: "Lots of babies grow in tummies and come out when they are big and healthy. Our baby didn't grow this way. We dont know why. It's no one's fault. Sometimes, sad things happen." The book reassures children that sadness is normal and that they will always be a big sister or big brother. It also gives children and caregivers ideas regarding how to remember and celebrate their babies. While the book is intended for young children, there are several resource pages included in the book for adults, as well.
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My Sibling Still

By Megan Lacourrege

MIS Review:
Written from the perspective of the sibling who died, this short children's book is intended for those children who have lost a sibling to miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death. Through gentle words and illustrations, the narrator reminds children that they will always be part of the family even though they aren't here, they will always be family, and they will always be loved. Both the author and illustrator are loss parent themselves, so they certainly have compassion and understanding for their book's audience.
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The Invisible String

By Patrice Karst

MIS Review:
While this children's picture book is actually about unconditional and life-long love, not specifically about grief, it is a wonderful story for showing children how love (an "invisible string" that connects people and animals) never wanes, nor does it ever die, even when loved ones are far away from one another. The story has an incredibly reassuring and comforting tone which could likely bring peace and comfort to its audience. Again, while this book is not specifically about grief, there is mention of a dead uncle when the children in the story question whether the invisible string of love can even reach all the way up to Uncle Brian in Heaven. This particular page could open up many conversations with bereaved siblings regarding their brother(s) and/or sister(s).
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Our Heaven Baby

By Leah Vis

MIS Review:
In this children's book, two children find out that the new sibling they are excited to welcome into the family will not be coming home, for the baby died prior to birth, and the baby is now in Heaven. The children find comfort knowing that their baby sibling is now with Jesus, but they are also grieving the loss. Still, they dream of what their sibling must be experiencing in Heaven. For bereaved families who are looking for a book with a religious/Biblical tone to help their children understand some of what happens when a baby dies, this book is a great option. Based on the title alone, one can understand that this book is probably not the best option for families who are seeking out children's books that avoid religion/spirituality.
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Perfectly Imperfect Family

By Amie Lands

MIS Review:
In this book intended for children, the narrator tells their story of growing up in a "perfectly imperfect family," in which two little boys are being raised by their parents, with the memory of their sister who died before her little brothers were born. The narrator tells their story about how the family includes their sister in family events and holidays, and how their parents tell them stories about their sister, as well as keep her photos displayed in their house. The story is sweet and innocent and does not take on a religious viewpoint or discuss topics such as Heaven. The author, Amie Lands, wrote this book from experience; her daughter Ruthie died when she was a month old, and Ruthie's two little brothers were born after Ruthie's death.
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This Little While

For parents experiencing the death of a very small infant. Encourages parents to see, hold. name and photograph their baby. We share the importance of grief, and saying goodbye. Includes: relationships, other children, single parenting and funeral planning.
By Dr. S. M. Johnson (Author), Joy Johnson (Author)

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Angelic Presence

Short Stories of solace and hope after the loss of a baby
By Cathi Lammert & Sue Friedeck

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