How to Expect in the Edmonton Journal

with my friend and co-conspirator, Jessica Hiemstra (left)

I’m so pleased with this piece on How to Expect What You’re Not Expecting by the Edmonton Journal‘s books columnist, Michael Hingston. Speaking with him about the book was a great pleasure, and I’m quite pleased with his representation of the book in this piece (not to mention with the space the Journal devoted to our little book–a full page of Friday’s print edition of the Books section!).

Hingston writes: “How to Expect What You’re Not Expecting…is, at heart, an attempt to normalize miscarriage, and thus locate it as just one part of the larger narratives of pregnancy and parenthood….For moms and dads alike, it opens up a space to grapple with a kind of grief that remains extremely difficult to put into words.” Yes! I’m so glad to see the book given room to be itself–a book for diverse audiences, about a subject matter that is larger than the gender of either its readers or its writers (several of our authors are men, but I still notice a strong tendency for people to see women as the book’s target audience). It’s also interesting to see that bookstores have for the most part been filing the book under “Parenting.” In fact, the book is full of extraordinary literary essays. Period. They appear together in one book because they happen to be essays about a particular species of loss. But this does not diminish their excellence as essays, and I hope that in addition to readers who find the book because of their own experiences with the kinds of loss the writers here explore, How to Expect What You’re Not Expecting will also prove to be a book worthy of the readerly attentions of those who have not experienced this kind of loss themselves.

As Kim Jernigan writes in the book’s Foreword, “We all belong to the country of the bereaved.” This is true regardless of our private biographies. How to Expect What You’re Not Expecting is one of many books published every year that aspire to add something meaningful, and yes perhaps in some way alleviating, to the store of what has been said about our perplexing and sometimes painful embodiment. Yet, despite its explicit topic, as I said to Michael Hingston, How to Expect What You’re Not Expecting “is a very optimistic book. It’s a take on loss as not the end of the story. There’s an important balance between giving loss its due — not minimizing it — and also giving it its ecological place inside of a life.”

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