Unexpecting Book Discussion Community —
Not your average book club
Why a discussion community?
When I experienced my first pregnancy loss, I felt “other” everywhere I went. In fact, I felt like a stranger in my own body — and my body felt like a stranger to me. That is — until I gathered with other bereaved parents. And then I belonged. I felt seen. I felt heard. I felt held.
Pregnancy loss and infant loss are considered common losses — and yet, really, there’s nothing common about them. When it happens to you — it’s devastating.
That’s in part why I wrote, “Unexpecting: Real Talk on Pregnancy Loss.” I wanted to ensure bereaved parents are wrapped in a circle of support when they grieve. So when my friend and former doula (and just in general, amazing person) Crystal Gurney reached out about creating a discussion community together, I was already 5 million percent in.
Crystal is one of those people who come to this earth gifted in holding space for others. In fact, when I was in labor with my rainbow baby, I didn’t even want my husband’s hand — I only wanted to squeeze hers. There was something in me that knew I needed to connect with someone who viscerally understood my pain and my fear. Someone who could identify with my experience both personally — and professionally. And that is what Crystal brings to our discussion community: Personal experience and professional training.
This book reaches the depths of our losses and the heights of our love. It explores the science behind grief and the intangible algorithm of faith (or no faith). It talks about the loss of our old normal and the creation of the new. In short — it’s a comprehensive resource on what to expect when you are no longer expecting.
And that’s why having someone hold your hand through the reading process — someone who has been there both personally and professionally — is an invaluable companion to this book.
So what exactly is a discussion community?
To help answer that, I’m going to let Crystal — who has facilitated hundreds of groups — explain in her own words.
Why I believe in this process.
Pregnancy loss. This topic is tender and personal for so many of us. Unexpecting may be just the book we needed years ago, or maybe it’s the book we need right now. Beginning October 5, we will spend 4 weeks gathering online to discuss what we are reading and to process and integrate all that this book holds. Our community will use guidelines and carefully crafted discussion questions to create a space where we can bravely step into our learning and share bits of our own stories. We will be able to share with other folks who truly get the experience of pregnancy loss. There will be opportunities for Q&A with the author, as she joins us for several of our sessions together.
I have created group spaces for hundreds of moms and parents over the years to discuss pregnancy and the postpartum period. My own story holds loss, and this topic has come up so many times in moms’ groups through the years. It is my goal to create spaces where we can be seen and heard, where our feelings about our loss(es) can be shared openly with no judgment, where we can begin to move through our stories and possibly begin to find healing or deeper meaning. When we gather in this way, we never have to sugarcoat our experiences, but instead, we can create a space where we are able to speak our truth and find the wisdom, strength, hope, and even joy that may be held in those stories.