Books & Websites


The following books have been influential in my grief journey thus far.


We received this book from the hospital staff.  We would have never made it through the logistical parts of dealing with pregnancy loss and the death of our daughter if it was not for Empty Arms, by Sherokee Isle.  She walks you through how to get through the first moments in the hospital after you are told your baby has died, to how to make memories and spend time with your child after your baby is born and has passed, as well as how to plan a funeral service.  This book provided us with a guide on how to navigate the logistics of your tragic loss during a time when you were expecting great joy.  

Book Description

October 30, 2008 20th
Surviving the First Hours and Beyond Revised and updated! This classic book is one of the first given to newly bereaved parents to offer guidance in decision-making after their baby's death and to assist caregivers as they support families. Empty Arms encourages families to meet their babies and say hello before rushing to say goodbye. With compassion that comes from Sherokee and David's experience of having lived through the death of their son Brennan, the book offers guidance and practical suggestions for the decision-making at the time (including why and how one might see, hold, and memorialize one's baby) and over time (such as how to handle such times as anniversaries, holidays and the birth of other babies in the parents' close circle.) Family and friends can learn how to understand the loss and be supportive of the bereaved families.

Book Description

After a pregnancy no longer carries life, the loneliness can be overwhelming. You may search for answers. You may feel as if you'll never be whole again. This book is here to help. It's not a big book because you don't want a big book. You probably don't want a book at all. You wanted a baby. But small as it is, this book is here to give you: -Permission not to ignore your sadness -Simple ways to comfort and care for yourself now -Wise words from other women.


I found the following books to be extremely helpful in my first few days after the loss of Nora.  These books allowed me to connect with other mothers who had gone through the same experience I had and come out on the other side of grief, still surviving and living full happy lives, no matter how scary and fragile everyday life maybe after you have lost your heart.

Since Nora was our first child, it was important for me to find stories of women who went on to have successful pregnancies and children.  These books provided me with hope to what might future could look like two years from now.  It also allowed me to connect with other mothers who had experienced a stillbirth, but at my own pace, without having to go to a support group and share my own story, which I wasn't ready for in the first days after Nora's passing.


Book Description 

February 22, 2010
"This is the happiest story in the world with the saddest ending," writes Elizabeth McCracken in her powerful, inspiring memoir. A prize-winning, successful novelist in her 30s, McCracken was happy to be an itinerant writer and self-proclaimed spinster. But suddenly she fell in love, got married, and two years ago was living in a remote part of France, working on her novel, and waiting for the birth of her first child.
This book is about what happened next. In her ninth month of pregnancy, she learned that her baby boy had died. How do you deal with and recover from this kind of loss? Of course you don't--but you go on. And if you have ever experienced loss or love someone who has, the company of this remarkable book will help you go on.
With humor, warmth, and unfailing generosity, McCracken considers the nature of love and grief. She opens her heart and leaves all of ours the richer for it.


Book Description

September 7, 2006
Loss is universal. Each of our responses to it is unique. After Cynthia Baseman delivered a stillborn daughter in 1995, she embarked on a journey of healing and a search to find happiness and meaning in life again. Writing letters to her daughter and drawing strength from the natural world became the basis of her recovery and a tool to manage the strain on her marriage. In Love, Mom she shares what happened to her and offers hope to those that find themselves grieving for a loved one.

Book Description

June 25, 2012 
In the UK alone, seventeen babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth every day. But what does it feel like to lose a child you never really met? How do people cope with a loss like that? Shrouded by fear and taboo, the stories of these babies and their parents rarely if ever get heard. Speaking up loud and clear about her own son Finley and the challenging months following his birth, Mel Scott presents a warts-and-all account of life after the loss of a baby. Frank, insightful and moving, After Finley is an unexpectedly captivating book that gets right to the heart of the meaning of love.

Children's Books

As a therapist who has specialized in working with children, I found these books heartwarming and heartbreaking resources to use to help explain pregnancy loss to your current or future children.  Even without having living children, I found the book Someone Came Before You, by Pat Schwiebert to be a tear jerker, probably because I hope to read it to my future son or daughter some day.  When I look at the pictures, I see Nick and I in the character's faces.  It's healing for me too, even as an adult.  


For Men

We also received this book from the hospital staff.  My husband found this book very helpful.  Nick says, "It's a good book for men who are looking for a male perspective on grieving from pregnancy loss."  I read it as well and found it useful in understanding what my husband might be going through and it actually allowed me to be more sensitive to his grief.  The book talks about men grieving the loss of not getting to experience the "big event" of the coming baby and their time to bond with the baby, as the woman had this experience with the baby in their belly, but men never get their "turn" with their child.  When I read this it made me sad, but it helped me understand why Nick said, "I feel like we were robbed", when it came to Nora's death.

Book Description

June 30, 2003
A book especially for fathers, this is a collection of insights, helpful hints and tender thoughts to give a father strength during the dark times of grief following his baby s death. For too long fathers have been the forgotten grievers. By giving him this special book you tell him you also recognize his loss.

For Extended Family

There is starting to be more resources and stories out there for direct family members who have been impacted by pregnancy loss. However there is not nearly as much information to help support extended family members, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and the many others who were lovingly awaiting their turn to play a role in this unborn baby's life.  Their dreams of what could have been were stolen too, and their grief of grandparents or aunt/uncle to be often gets overshadowed by having to play the role of supportive parent or sibling.  My mother found this book below to be very helpful in finding a voice that shares a similar experience as hers, and in doing so acknowledges her grief and loss, which sometimes can be forgotten.


Book Description

July 8, 2005
Forgotten Tears, written by a bereaved grandmother, portrays the unique grief journey of grandparents. It reviews the traditional stages and theories of grief, and contains quotes from leading grief authorities as well as personal accounts from bereaved grandparents.

Books to Help Find Meaning 

After awhile, while deep in the beginning weeks of grief, I didn't want to read about stillbirth and pregnancy loss only.  I wanted to find meaning in what had happened.  The novels of women going through the same experience as me provided me with hope, but I needed to also find joy and purpose in life again, and along the way hopefully meaning.  These books were my two favorite during my early days of grief, even though they are not directly about baby loss they provided me with a new lens to view the world from. 

Book Description

November 6, 2001
Is this really how I want to live my life? 
Each one of us at some point asks this question. The tragedy is not that life is short but that we often see only in hindsight what really matters.
In this, her first book on life and living, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross joins with David Kessler to guide us through the practical and spiritual lessons we need to learn so that we can live life to its fullest in every moment. Many years of working with the dying have shown the authors that certain lessons come up over and over again. Some of these lessons are enormously difficult to master, but even the attempts to understand them can be deeply rewarding. Here, in fourteen accessible chapters, from the Lesson of Love to the Lesson of Happiness, the authors reveal the truth about our fears, our hopes, our relationships, and, above all, about the grandness of who we really are.

Gretchen Rubin is my new idol!  I LOVE HER!  I read the happiness project three weeks after Nora died and began my own happiness project, but now have tweaked it to be more of a grief project that's mentioned on my site.   I have planned out my grief project in Gretchen's happiness project style and having a different goal or resolution for each month has helped me control my grief while finding ways of healing and meaning in the small things in life. Who would have thought starting my own happiness project would help me through my grief.  As I have mentioned in two of my Grief Commandments (another tweaked idea from Gretchen), I believe that sadness and happiness can both live inside of grief and just because I'm grieving doesn't have to mean I need to hide my laughter and joy.  I need it even more!

Book Description

March 1, 2011
Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. "The days are long, but the years are short," she realized. "Time is passing, and I'm not focusing enough on the things that really matter." In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project. In this lively and compelling account, Rubin chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Among other things, she found that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that money can help buy happiness, when spent wisely; that outer order contributes to inner calm; and that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference.

 ***All Book Descriptions are from***


The websites below I have found helpful along my journey.  I will add more as I continue on my path through grief.  Click on the icon below to go to the link.

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

This organization provides remembrance photography services to parents suffering the loss of their baby with a gift of a professional portrait.  I am so glad we were told about this service!  At first I was scared to get pictures of Nora, but now they are my most precious treasure.

Faith's Lodge

Is a place where parents and families facing the loss or death of a child can retreat to reflect on their emotions and spend time with their deceased child through remembrance activities as well as connecting with other families who understand their pain and their journey. This retreat was created by a couple who had lost their first child, their daughter, to stillbirth at full-term. For Nick and I, Faith's Lodge provided us with a turning point in our healing process.  When we left here, we felt renewed and ready to face the world again.  We also had the opportunity to spend time with Nora here.  By reflecting on our brief memories of her and being intentional about our thoughts and actions during our visit.

Still Standing Magazine

This is one of my favorite places on the web.  Yes, I write for them so I might be bias, but it has so many great resources for realities of navigating life after child loss and infertility.  All the contributors are parents like me and you who "get it" because they all have unfortunately walked this path of grief.  

Hope & Hearts Run

This is a 5k run/walk with a mission "to ensure that all families get the support and resources needed for pregnancy/infant loss, infertility and adoption as well as the access to comprehensive, patient-focused prenatal care".  This run/walk was founded by two families who had experienced stillbirth of a baby and wanted a way to remember them.  Nick and I are looking forward to doing their walk/run here in Minnesota this September and creating a Team Nora!

The Compassionate Friends

A national organization with local chapters that help support families after the death of a child.  The national website has good articles and resources, while the local chapters offer support groups in your area and ways to connect with other grieving families.

Grief Watch

This website and organization was started by Pat Schwiebert, the author of many books including Tear Soup.   This website has some great resources such as books, remembrance memorabilia and other products and services to help you with your grief.

MISS Foundation

The MISS Foundation is an international 501(c)3, volunteer based organization providing C.A.R.E. [counseling, advocacy, research, and education] services to families experiencing the death of a child.

Star Legacy Foundation

Star Legacy Foundation is a non-profit organization focused on raising awareness, increasing education, and supporting research regarding stillbirth. I hope to be a part of this campaign by helping organize their 2012 Summit here in the Twin Cities.  If you have experienced a stillbirth or are currently past 28 weeks pregnant please consider taking their S.T.A.R.S. study to help identify trends and risks for stillbirths in effort to prevent them in the future.  To do so click on the icon below.

1 comment:

  1. As a fellow psychotherapist, i not only appreciate this list for me and my husbands grieving, but for future clients also. Thank you.


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