Empty Cradle, Broken Heart

I mentioned in an earlier post that the mother of one of my students passed a book on to me at the end of the year. She had written a kind note, telling me how the book had helped her when she was going through a miscarriage and that she hoped it would help me too. I haven’t read the whole thing yet, but you don’t really need to. I find myself picking it up randomly and reading a chapter or so, and then maybe I don’t pick it up again for another week. But it has helped.

The book is called “Empty Cradle, Broken Heart” (as you probably inferred) and it’s written by Deborah L. Davis. Davis put a lot of research into the book, but infused it with so much humanity from the people she interviewed for it that it doesn’t read like a textbook. I had tried reading other books on grief, but they didn’t seem to capture what I was feeling, what I was trying to cope with. Losing your baby is a specifically harrowing type of grief, and this book is centered on that.

Lately I’ve felt like I’ve been regressing in the coping process — I’ve been crying a lot, feeling so angry, a little bereft — and the book had helped me to feel less crazy about it. In the chapter titled “The Early Months”, these passages called out to me:

“Ironically, as the first few months pass, your numbness wears off and you really start grappling with difficult feelings, such as anger and despair. Many mothers report that the third or fourth month is most difficult, and yet people aren’t as supportive when they need it most. You may feel that you are grieving alone, that no one else misses your baby the way you do, that no one cares but you.”


“Grieving can be a long, often discouraging process […] Even as you start feeling better, you many experience times when you feel worse. These setbacks are a normal part of the roller coaster of grief, but you may feel very frustrated and discouraged that you can still feel so terrible.”

If you’re searching for something that could help you process, or just make you feel anchored to something instead of afloat, this book might help you, too.

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