When a person experiences a miscarriage, a stillbirth, or the death of a baby, writes clinical psychologist Rothert in her nonfiction debut, it leaves him or her emotionally shattered, and wondering whether they’ll ever be whole again. The author has gone through this experience twice herself, and she writes that “my experience has carved out spaces within me that resonate when I hear the stories of those who have lost someone so small—and yet something so big—that it brought them to their knees.” The book examines various aspects of this journey, from the long expectation of a happy birth to the physical experience of loss and the documentation of that loss in journal entries or letters. Rothert shores up these discussions with digressions into her own story, which enhances the warm, personal tone of the book as a whole. As unimaginable as the tragedies are, however, the author stresses that people are able to get through them: “Your life after loss is still your life,” she writes, “a life that bears scars, precious memories, and the seeds of further growth.” Rothert effectively urges her readers to look for even the simplest strategies for getting through the darkest periods: “Living after baby loss, like living the rest of life, is about reaching for the next thing in front of us, no matter how small.” This repeated emphasis on dogged optimism, even in the face of unthinkable suffering, is the book’s greatest strength. The author’s reminder that all of life is uncertain feels far from glib, as it’s clearly intended to encourage readers to concentrate on each day, each moment, to find a way to endure.
A heartfelt and wide-ranging series of encouragements for dealing with grief.
At a Loss offers gentle guidance for anybody navigating the terribly tumultuous terrain of perinatal-related grief. Seemingly insurmountable sorrow is given a most sincere, respectful, and honoring reprieve throughout these pages. Readers will find solace in the soul-sourced wisdom as well a dedicated place to rest, connect, and recalibrate toward a clearer, more compassionate understanding of their unique path of healing.
This is a lovely and much-needed book. Donna Rothert takes an overwhelming experience and helps the reader process it a piece at a time. Her essays are little gems, thoughtful and practical, but also written with depth and humor. Because the author shares her own experience with loss, she is not just an authority, but also a companion for any reader dealing with pregnancy loss, newborn death, or termination of a wanted pregnancy.
At a Loss is an important modern guide to navigating life after the passing of your baby during pregnancy or infancy. Dr. Rothert offers wisdom and real-life suggestions, drawing from her personal experience as well as the countless hours she has spent counseling other parents who have endured this unimaginable tragedy.
Fortunately for us, Donna Rothert is not at a loss for words. In At a Loss, she speaks not only from clinical experience but also from personal experience, including a variety of voices to help us navigate the complexity of perinatal loss. Hers is definitely a comforting voice. As Rothert herself puts it in the introduction to her book, “Whoever and wherever you are, I’m sorry for your loss. I wish you comfort and I wish you strength.”
Donna Rothert shares with us the possibility that our greatest vulnerability may lead us into a more deeply loving, aware, and compassionate life. She gives you a chance to see deeply into your own heart. This is a courageous book that takes life’s most profound loss and doesn’t tell you how to feel about it, but asks you to experience your own unique feelings that can guide you on in your life. The author speaks with compassion and companionship as someone who has traveled the journey of prenatal loss. I highly recommend this book to men, and really to any family member or friend who also experienced the loss of an unborn or new baby in their life. As dads, we too need a guide to help us unlock our feelings about losing a pregnancy or a baby. Take Donna’s hand and allow her to walk with you through the darkest night.
If there was ever a book that could be your true friend when you most needed one, this is that kind of book. Open these pages and you will find comfort and relief.