"Unimaginable: Life After Baby Loss" tells the story of Brooke's pregnancy with her first daughter, her "Baby Duck," Eliza, who was stillborn in December 2010, and what happened next.
I will admit that I was predisposed to love this book. I started reading Brooke's blog shortly after Eliza died -- found it through Mel's now-defunct Lost & Found Connections Abound (LFCA) blog, I believe. The first post she wrote after losing Eliza consisted mostly of a passage from "Dover Beach" by Matthew Arnold, which I recognized immediately from my university days (and which The Bangles used as inspiration for their own amazing song, "Dover Beach" in the early 1980s... but, I digress... ;) ). (I loved studying the Victorians, and I loved Arnold -- I remember doing a paper on his "Empedocles on Etna." And I adore The Bangles. :) )
Brooke is almost (gulp) 20 years younger than me; Eliza died almost 12 years after my Katie. She went on to become the mother of three (more) adorable, high-spirited little girls -- Eliza's younger sisters; Katie remains my only child. And yet, there's a common thread that runs through our grief experiences -- through most pregnancy loss & grief experiences, no matter how different the circumstances. Brooke's words, in her blog and now in this book, beautifully capture the experience of bereavement, and how it evolves over time. The book is not a long read (258 pages) but it's jam-packed with wise words and thoughtful observations -- minute little details that instantly took me back 23 years with a shock of recognition at the memory -- and had me bookmarking page after page. I don't often cry over my lost pregnancy or wee baby girl these days, but I needed Kleenex at several points, reading Brooke's story.
I've read lots of pregnancy loss books & memoirs in the years since the stillbirth of my own daughter. This ranks right up there with the best of them, including Elizabeth McCracken's "An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination," which I have long considered the gold standard. ;) It would be the perfect book to hand to someone who is dealing with the unimaginable -- or to someone who doesn't know what to say or how to help someone who is. (Actually, it would be a great book for anyone dealing with any kind of traumatic loss.)
5 stars on Goodreads.
This was Book #9 read to date in 2021 (and Book #4 finished in February so far), bringing me to 25% of my 2021 Goodreads Reading Challenge goal of 36 books. I am (for the moment, anyway...!) 5 books ahead of schedule. :) You can find reviews of all my books read to date in 2021 tagged as "2021 books."