The grave was impossibly small: a flattened bit of earth and grass that covered the infant-sized casket beneath. I was twenty-two years old and burying my baby. There was no preparation for something like this — no guideline for how grief should look and feel. I felt alone and overwhelmed by the intensity of my grief: What was normal? What was okay? What did the Bible say about loss?
I needed to feel the weight of shared pain and knowledge, a sacred story of motherhood that had been held by more than just me.
I needed to know that this grief was more than just pain, it was love.
I needed to find the voices of those who had walked this road before me: to weep and remember within a community.
These are some of the books I found throughout my grief journey. They’ve encouraged and challenged me, reminded me to keep my eyes fixed on Christ, and allowed me to see the beauty within every story. I hope they will do the same for you.
1. Embrace — Liz Mannegren
Embrace invites us to explore the grief surrounding pregnancy loss. Gathering together around this table of loss, there is communion and strength to be found in our shared heartbreak. As we allow Christ to redeem each uncomfortable ounce of this journey, we find freedom and hope.
Drawing from the unique testimonies of mothers who have experienced miscarriage, infertility, recurrent loss, multiple loss, and stillbirth, Embrace challenges the lie that whispers, “You’re alone in your grief” and instead proclaims “You are loved and worthy.”
2. The Shaming of the Strong – Sarah C. Williams
This beautifully written memoir invites readers to look closely at the value of life and what it means to love without bounds. Reading through this family’s heartbreak, I was left feeling challenged and less alone in my own grief journey.
“During the nine months I carried Cerian, God came close to me again unexpectedly, wild and beautiful, good and gracious. I touched his presence as I carried Cerian and as a result, I realized that underneath all my other longings lay an aching desire for God himself and for his love. Cerian shamed my strength, and in her weakness and vulnerability, she showed me a way of intimacy. The beauty and completeness of her personhood nullified the value system to which I had subscribed for so long.” – Sarah Williams
3. Chasing Light – Stefanie Tong
Centred around her two miscarriages and her subsequent grief and depression, Stefanie writes about both the challenges and the search for hope and wholeness following the death of a child.
Reading through this book, I was constantly struck by Stefanie’s incredible honesty and willingness to embrace and explore her grief. Unafraid of vulnerability, this author peels back the intricate layers of loss and invites you to look deeper. Touching on her husband’s grief, as well as conversations that they had with their three-year-old daughter, this book is a beautiful reflection on how pregnancy loss affects the entire family.
4. Grace Like Scarlett – Adriel Booker
How do we see God in the midst of our loss? What have we been taught about grief? Have we been shown that hope can and does exist amidst pain and suffering? These are thoughts and questions that readers can expect to encounter and wrestle with as they read through Grace Like Scarlett.
As the author shares her story, she invites us into deeper communion with Christ. She doesn’t claim to have answers to the question “why,” but instead, tenderly points us towards the God who embraces and links arms with ours in this place of pain.
5. I Will Carry You – Angie Smith
“In 2008, Angie Smith and her husband Todd (lead singer of the group Selah) learned through ultrasound that their fourth daughter had conditions making her “incompatible with life.” Advised to terminate the pregnancy, the Smiths chose instead to carry this child and allow room for a miracle. That miracle came the day they met Audrey Caroline and got the chance to love her for the precious two-and-a-half hours she lived on earth.”
This book is a beautiful tribute to life and love, and an encouragement to all mamas who have or are walking a difficult road of loss.
6. Unbound – Jamie Sumner
We all have expectations for motherhood. Most of us, at some point or another, have carefully crafted plans for what our motherhood will look like, how it will come about, or who our family will be. And then, inevitably, we encounter situations that test and challenge those ideas. We’re forced to re-evaluate or else flounder under unrealistic goals. Pregnancy loss is one of those times.
“Unbound” reminds us of the joy that can be found when we set our best-laid plans down in exchange for God’s. Motherhood may look different than we’d first dreamed, but it can be infinitely more beautiful when we finally realize that our plan is not necessarily His, and that’s okay.
7. Still Fighting: Battles of a Bereaved Parent – Sydney Hatcher
Still Fighting feels like a warm, understanding hug from one loss mama to another. Sydney writes with grace and compassion. Entering into the mess of grief with us, she invites us to explore that pain, all the while clinging tight to the truths and freedom found in scripture.
This book is a quick but gorgeous read that walks through various aspects of life after loss. In addition to sharing her own story, Sydney provides prayer and space for self-reflection. It was an honour to pre-read Still Fighting before publication and a greater honour to have some of my own thoughts and reflections included in the back of this precious book.
A beautiful, must-read for any family still in the trenches after loss.
8. The Scars that Have Shaped Me – Vaneetha Risner
“Twenty-one surgeries by age thirteen. Years in the hospital. Verbal and physical bullying from schoolmates. Multiple miscarriages as a young wife. The death of a child. A debilitating progressive disease. Riveting pain. Abandonment. Unwanted divorce. Vaneetha Rendall Risner begged God for grace that would deliver her. But God offered something better: his sustaining grace. In The Scars That Have Shaped Me, published by Desiring God, Vaneetha does more than share her stories of pain; she invites other sufferers to taste with her the goodness of a sovereign God who will carry us in our darkest of days.”
This story is written with compelling authenticity and a deep-rooted understanding of who God is in the midst of our suffering. For those who are marked by scars and weighted down by heavy burdens, I highly recommend this book by Vaneetha Rendall Risner.
9. Seasons of Waiting – Betsy Childs Howard
“We’re all waiting for something. It might be a spouse or a baby. It might be healing or a home. Regardless of what we’re waiting for, it’s easy to feel discontent when things aren’t going as planned and our dreams are delayed–especially when questions of “Why?” and “How long?” remain unanswered.”
From time to time, we all find ourselves deep in that place of waiting — that uncomfortable, unsatisfying place of delay and longing. Seasons of Waiting looks into the various types of waits that we encounter in life. Not every chapter will be applicable to each of us, but each chapter brings perspective and insight into our response to this time.
As the book says, “When we wait faithfully with unmet longings, we become a powerful picture of the bride of Christ waiting for the day when he returns and God’s kingdom reigns.”
10. Walking With God Through Pain And Suffering
While this book isn’t specifically related to miscarriage or pregnancy loss, it’s an excellent resource for those who have experienced grief.
This book takes a deep dive into the theology surrounding grief and suffering — tackling the question, “Why does God allow pain and suffering to happen?” It shows us the realities of pain, all the while revealing how the Christian faith grants us freedom within that suffering to find hope.
Using the metaphor of the fiery furnace, this book approaches suffering from three different perspectives. First, Keller looks at the way different cultures and religions have historically approached suffering — the philosophical approach. The second part of the book dives into the personal, and what the Bible has to say about the character of suffering. Finally, the third part of the book looks at the practical ways we can walk with God through the fiery furnace.
With such a well-rounded look into this topic, I highly recommend this book for those who have gone through loss and for those who haven’t. I believe you will walk away both challenged and encouraged.
Not every book encourages in the same way. Some books meet us in the moment, in the depths of our pain and hurt. Other books help support us in the days and years that come after the loss. But each of these books reminds us that grief isn’t something to fear. We may walk through fire, but we can emerge refined.
With our eyes fixed on Christ, we can grieve fully, with such great hope.
What grief related books would YOU recommend? Share in the comments!