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Now Available! Released June 2008

Mourning Sickness - Stories and Poems About Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss, a collection of works by 49 contributors.

Order online from our publisher http://www.omniartsllc.com/, from our distributor http://www.spdbooks.org/, or from online bookstores such as http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ or http://www.amazon.com/. Or buy it from your local bookseller.

For more information visit the publisher at http://www.omniartsllc.com/ or email info@omniartsllc.com.

Description of Mourning Sickness

The book weighs less than a pound but it holds the heavy weight of one of life’s worst tragedies. Mourning Sickness is a first-of-its-kind collection of poetry, memoirs, and fiction rooted in each writer's personal experience with miscarrige, stillbirth, or infant loss.

The writing is so authentic it will steal your breath. Unpalatable truths are not avoided or tucked out of sight; they are exposed, explored, and embraced on every page in the spirit that cradling each experience in words can be healing to any reader who has suffered the loss of a baby.

There is much to glean about life, loss, chance, and moving on in this collection that is really about hope and the indomitable spirit.

Mourning Sickness Contributors

Lisa Alexander has been an Emmy award nominated film producer, a screenwriter, dancer and psychotherapist. She is presently writing her first novel.

Shelli Graff Angel is a former competitive figure skater and attorney. She currently writes and coaches women toward balance and fulfillment during fertility challenges. http://www.stepbysteplifecoaching.com/.

Carol Barrett is currently writing about H.E.L.L.P. Syndrome. She wrote the prize-winning book Calling in the Bones (Ashland Poetry Press, 2005) and has published 200 poems.

Anne C. Barnhill is the author of At Home in the Land of Oz. Her poem in Mourning Sickness is dedicated to her daughter-in-law Emily.

Elise Blackwell holds an MFA from the UC-Irvine and teaches at the University of South Carolina. She lives with her husband, writer David Bajo, and their daughter Esme. Her story originally appeared in Topic.

Debbi Brody publishes frequently. Her books, Portraits in Poetry and FreeForm are available through mailto:artqueen58@aol.com,. Debbi lives in Santa Fe and co-owns Canyon Road Contemporary Art, Inc. with her husband Bob.

Sarah M. Brownsberger is a poet, novelist, translator, mother, and grandmother. A native of Massachusetts, she lives and works near Reykjavik, Iceland.

Jennifer Campbell is an English professor in Buffalo, NY, and co-editor of Earth's Daughters. Her poetry has appeared in Nerve Cowboy, Caesura, Letterhead, Feile-Festa, and Skyline Magazine.

Lois Lake Church, mother and grandmother, writes fiction and poetry; teaches English and edits at Southern Connecticut State University. Reach her at wordtickets.blogspot.com, or noctuareview.southernct.edu.

Danielle Crawford is a student at Western Washington University, majoring in Creative Writing and Fine Art. Her works have appeared in several literary magazines and anthologies.

Barbara Crooker’s first book, Radiance, won the Word Press First Book award. Though her first child was stillborn in 1970, she has two grown daughters, a son, and a grandson. www.barbaracrooker.com, and http://www.word-press.com/crooker_linedance.html

Nina Bennett, author of Forgotten Tears A Grandmother’s Journey Through Grief, has 4 grandchildren, one of whom was born still following a healthy, full term pregnancy and normal labor. http://www.booklocker.com/books/2081.html

Julie Danho lives in Providence, Rhode Island. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Southern Poetry Review, Southeast Review, Bellingham Review, and other magazines.

Elizabeth Dolan is a four-time Pushcart nominee, and Delaware Division of the Arts fellowship winner. She has recently won four poetry contests, and serves on the poetry board of Philadelphia Stories.

Susan G. Duncan manages the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley, California. Her poetry appears in Atlanta Review, Compass Rose, Iodine Poetry Journal, The MacGuffin, and others.

Maureen Tolman Flannery’s Pulitzer nominated Ancestors in the Landscape: Poems of a Rancher’s Daughter chronicles her upbringing in a Wyoming sheep ranch family. She and her actor husband Dan have raised their children in Evanston, IL.

Shanna Germain is a poet by nature, a short story writer by the skin of her teeth and a novelist in training. http://www.shannagermain.com/.

Jean Hollander has published three books, and her poems appear in many literary journals. She has taught literature and writing at Princeton University, Brooklyn College, Columbia University, and The College of New Jersey.

Tamara Keurejian lives and writes in Baltimore. Her writing has appeared in Freshly Squeezed, published by Loyola College's Apprentice House, and in the Baltimore Urbanite.

Lisa Lenzo’s story “Waiting” won a PEN Award and was read on NPR. It appears in Within the Lighted City, winner of the John Simmons Short Fiction Award. http://www.lisalenzo.com/.

Jesse Loren is co-editor of Bombshells: War Stories and Poems by Women on the Homefront, and is an MFA graduate of UNO. Her poetry can be found in Octaves, Kingly Blue, The New Virginia Review, Yawp, and Ellipsis.

Gail Lukasik's debut mystery, Destroying Angels, is the first in a four-part series set in scenic Door County, Wisconsin. The second book, Death’s Door, will be available March 2009. www.gaillukasik.com

Lisa Marling is an author, speaker, educator and visual artist. You can read more about her at http://www.marlingministries.com/.

Marcia Milner-Brage’s cover art, "Stillbirth on Black Paper," is from her Wailing Wall Series. Her story, "Shipwrecked," began as an Iowa Public Radio commentary. Her illustrated memoir is forthcoming.

Steve Montgomery's story, “Black-eyed Birth,” is from Boy of Steel (http://www.boyofsteel.com/), Steve’s memoir about growing up gay in Mormon-dominated Pocatello, Idaho. Steve dedicates this story to his late mother, Dana June Montgomery.

Kathleen Willis Morton's memoir, The Blue Poppy and the Mustard Seed; A Mother's Story of Loss and Hope, will be available in mid-Oct. '08. For pre-orders contact http://www.wisdompubs.org/

Patricia Bell Palmer is a former communications professional, college instructor and English teacher. Now mother of three, she lives and writes in Los Angeles. Reach her at bellpalmer@aol.com.

Deborah Perkins is a poet, essayist, and technical writer living in Ohio with Ginger Tafel, her partner of 22 years, and their cats, Thelma and Louise.

Shelley Puhak, a poet, lost her first child, Jake, 10 hours after his birth; she is now raising his younger brother in Baltimore, Maryland. You can read more about her and her work at www.shelleypuhak.com.

Virginia Ramus’ poetry and fiction have appeared in The Kelsey Review, Across Borders, Lifelines, and the anthology, Hurricane Blues: Poems about Katrina and Rita

Lisa B. Samalonis lives in New Jersey with her two sons. Her writing appears in many regional and national publications. Reach her at lisasam@comcast.net.

Elizabeth Schott taught art history and writing for 12 years at UC Berkeley, USC, and UCSB. She works as a Poet in the Schools and writes for the Santa Barbara Independent.

Christine Shaffer is writer living in Westport, Connecticut with her husband, daughter and dog. Her writing has appeared in local publications.

Lynne Shapiro teaches at a community college and at a K-8 charter school she helped found. She writes, gardens, and lives with her husband and teenage son across the river from New York City, in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Ellen Shriner is a freelance writer who lives in Eagan, Minnesota with her husband and two sons. She has published personal essays and short memoir pieces in Midwest Home, Minnesota Parent, and Messages from the Heart. http://www.ellenshriner.com/

Laurie Soha has an MA from Arizona State University in Language and Literature. She currently resides in Phoenix, AZ with her husband and two daughters.

Jane St. Clair is a graduate of Northwestern University, a former staff member of "Sesame Street." Her stories have appeared in literary magazines like Thema and Red Rock Review, and her first novel is Walk Me to Midnight.

Kerry Trautman's stories and poems have appeared in several literary magazines and the anthology, Tuesday Nights at Sam & Andy's Uptown Cafe (Westron Press 2001).

Kathy Schofield Zdeb lives in Albany, NY. A former newspaper features writer, she now writes about science for a public health laboratory, and about family and domestic matters for herself.

Read what Mom Bloggers/Book Reviewers are saying about Mourning Sickness

I love reading, truly I do. However, I must admit that when I received Mourning Sickness: Stories and Poems about Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Loss in the mail, I felt a bit intimidated by it. After all, most books are a release for me as I vicariously get carried away into the plot and the storyline of the characters. This time, the playing field was a bit different. Mourning Sickness is a collection of stories and poems about miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss. The book stared me in the face because I knew it would be impossible to keep my emotions at bay while reading. Our path to parenthood was not without sadness. We had two miscarriages, each around 6 weeks, before our first son was born. When our first son was 10 months old, we became pregnant with our second child, also a boy. We coasted through the second and third trimesters of the pregnancy in that state of naive' bliss, like we thought most couples could reasonably expect to do. The bliss came to an abrupt stop when our son, Jaxon, was stillborn at 37 weeks. While consulting with a high risk doctor, we conceived again five months after Jaxon was born. Thankfully, with the help of highly skilled professionals and God, our little girl was born healthy. After losing our son to a stillbirth, I craved books by people who could share my feelings, and in turn, I could empathize with theirs. I only wish this book was around two and a half years ago. Mourning Sickness offers a hard to find glimpse into these tragedies, the emotions that surround them, and the healing process involved in such a delicate matter. That is by far the books strongest quality as far as I am concerned. There is very little out there, relative to the market size, to support people who have lost a child. Reading is a cathartic process for many people and Mourning Sickness is yet one more avenue for healing. Mourning Sickness also offers a wide range of pieces in one book, which will help it meet the needs of a variety of people. I personally prefer stories; they are tangible and detailed, allowing me to fully engage in that person's loss. This book contains a variety of them, which I found very comforting. If you prefer poetry, you will find a wide range of poems with varying tones to them. And if you don't have a preference, then you are just plain lucky because you will connect with each piece within this book. Mourning Sickness will offer great solace and comfort to anyone whose life has been touched by the loss of a child. One of the strengths I will comment on last is that it is representative of multiple perspectives. Whether a grandparent, mother, father, sibling, aunt, uncle, friend, or none of the above, they can find something to relate to. And you know what? During a time of loss and despair, knowing that someone else can relate to what you are experiencing is critical. With it, you remain human and may even feel normal for a brief minute. Those moments, however brief, keep you going. And when you keep going, you slowly heal and move toward peace. If you are grieving the loss of your baby or infant, Mourning Sickness is a book well worth your time. And if you know someone who has experienced this loss, more than likely, you are at a loss for words. Offering them Mourning Sickness is a quiet way of showing them your support that can help them heal on their own time.


Just after Nick and Nora were born I read Alice Hoffman's novel Fortune's Daughter. The book, in typical Alice Hoffman style, was haunting and mystical. It's about a woman about to give birth and a woman mourning the loss of the infant she was forced to adopt out. Only it has a twist - the woman searches out who adopted her infant only to find that the infant - her daughter - passed away before she turned 1. I had to restrain myself from flinging the book from me when I got to that part of the book.

Moreso, when the woman re-connects to her daugher's ghost by imagining that she's alive, that she's real, that she's in the room, in the bed, in the house with her, it was impossible for me to disconnect. The woman invites her daughter in, and she does so, sleeping in a dresser drawer, nestling against the woman in sleep, a shadow of a belief in Buddhism that you invite your beloved dead relatives to a feast in order to be with them and honor them. The baby she lost is real in every sense of the word, until the point comes when the woman lets her go. Hoffman writes how the baby crawles through the tall grass and disappears. That image almost broke me. I got the book out of the house and into the donation bin as fast as I could, in case the storyline leached out and took my daughter away from me.

Forward to now. A publisher at
MotherTalk asked for people who'd be willing to review a new book. I agreed. I'm always happy to review books - it means I get a free book of out it to review, and I never feel beholden to review something favorably - if I didn't like it, I'd say it (a part of me looks forward to getting a book I can't stand. I picture myself as a book critic to be feared, although I know that's not the case). I wasn't sure how I would feel about this one, I only knew I would relate.

When it arrived I flipped it open, like any kid in a candy shop unscrewing the lid and inhaling the lemon drop dust. I love books. A bookshop to me is like the motherlode. On reading the first page, however, I snapped the cover shut. This book, I felt, needed my undivided attention.

I wanted a quiet space where I could just be alone with the book, to read, to absorb. I couldn't believe something like this has been put into writing. It should have been done so long ago. And as I read the stories I personally was familiar with, I pulled my own ghosts close to me and loved them as I read.
The book is called
Mourning Sickness. It's 49 pieces of work by writers - mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings - who have been touched by miscarriage, early pregnancy loss, late pregnancy loss, stillbirth, and the death of an infant. The pain in the book is crippling. I have never, in my many years of addictive reading, read a more honest and compelling book.
As I read the stories I reached inside and held on to my miscarriages. I read about women needing to leave restaurants as they couldn't handle anything. I read a poem by a woman who saw the same thing I did - something on the ultrasound monitor. Then nothing the next time. I felt the women's pain as keenly as my own. I felt the small blobs that were my children, I felt the feeling of being pregnant and then not. I was taken back to screaming in an ultrasound room, to bleeding all over a hardware store toilet.

The story that broke me was the story of Liam, a boy born severely hypoxic with the medical diagnosis of "futile". He died after living 45 days. The way his mother wrote about him, how dearly she loved him even knowing that every day was an unexpected one, another day she got to have with him.
I couldn't find that pain. I couldn't, I've never experienced anything like that. In my mind I thought of Hoffman's book. I sat there, still. I thought of
B, who died so young, too young. I invited B in, to join me, to visit. I imagined him sitting on my lap, sleeping, his mouth moving in a silent gummy gassy smile. I inhaled lavender and baby spit-up. I smoothed his head and let his hand curl over my finger. I read the story of Liam over again, B on my lap.

And I cried.

I cannot review a book like this in the traditional sense, a book which is composed of stories of people who have experienced losses they never should have. What I can say is that I have never before been so profoundly affected by a book. It's a raw, moving, incredible piece of work and my heart goes out to each and every author, and to those of us who have lost. In every page you get a whisper of "What if" and "You were robbed".
I recommend this book to anyone who has lost and is grieving and feels isolated in their grief. I recommend this to anyone who knows someone who's lost a child. Mostly, I recommend this book because I have never come across a more honest piece of writing in my life, and the ability to look into the hearts of another is a remarkable gift. I realize I'm going on about the book, but few works have affected me as much as this one has.

I will be thinking about these people for a very long time, and although the old cliches spring to mind: Where they are they are happy, I'm so sorry for your loss, Your child lives through the memory you've written for them the only thing I can come up with is "What a moving tribute. I'm so sorry."

And at the end, I wished B goodbye. I imagined him again, holding the teddy bear I sent him. I spared us both the image of him crawling away, I couldn't do that, and instead closed my eyes and imagined light.


After I miscarried, I wanted to read whatever books I could on pregnancy loss. Unlike many of my other friends who miscarried, I wasn't so much interested in the "why." I was fairly accepting about the fact that usually there's some medical reason. But when I looked for books on miscarriage, most of what I found was grounded in pathology and medicine. Other books were authored by psychologists exploring the depression and grief that follows. Still another group of books heavily emphasized Christianity and the afterlife, a perspective that doesn't always gel well with my core beliefs.I finally found one book to take comfort in -- About What Was Lost: Twenty Writers on Miscarriage, Healing, and Hope -- a beautiful, honest collection of essays from mothers who had experienced miscarriage at varying stages. But after I finished reading it, I was hungry for more of the same. And there was none.Finally, its equal has come. Mourning Sickness: Stories and Poems about Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Loss is a touching anthology about pregnancy and early infant loss that is startling in its range. Loss is encapsulated by short stories, personal essays, as well as poetry from perspectives of mothers, fathers, as well as adult would-be siblings. The losses spread across time -- some are in the immediate past, while others still haunt decades later. The prose and poetry are illuminating and heartfelt. This is writing at its truest, deepest and most primitive. It stirs the soul, and captures a grief, which although real, is still largely invisible.I was disappointed only in one respect -- there are no bylines or brief autobiographies of the authors. I ached to know, for instance, when the losses occurred, whether a child eventually came to a family, or particularly with the short stories and some of the poems, what kind of loss the author actually experienced.One of the most moving pieces for me was "A Memory or Its Ghost" by Douglas W. Milliken. The author describes burying his stillborn brother's ashes, which had been stored for many years under his mother's bed. He concludes with --I had expected there to be tears, but there are none. Even in my idealized, minimalist fantasy, I had expected catharsis and purging. Yet it's such a simple thing, and then it's done. And now my mother's son is a tree. Now my brother is a tree.I was also moved by the last lines of Perkins' poem entitled "A Moment of Life" --Never to forget that moment of life,wrapped forever around my heartlike lights on a Christmas treethat shine so brightly for just a brief season,before their glow is gone.It's such a comforting thought to me -- that the act of decorating my house for the holidays could serve as an homage to my lost babies.


Mourning Sickness contains a variety of writings” memoir, fiction, poetry. The writing is beautiful, sad, tender. The anguish and disappointment felt by those writers is real. It can be felt within the pages.

Lisa Marling, author of Feel Better, describes her heartache after losing twins, her experience in the hospital before being discharged, the comments made by the staff. Marling writes:
“I awaken. I want to vomit. I want to scream. I want to hold my babies and snuggle them to my neck. I want-… A student nurse enters. She is cheery and talks too much…She tells me that I will feel better when I get home to my children. She tells me this won’t be as difficult or sad since I have children at home. I want to crush her skull.”

Those who contributed to this book show tremendous courage in the face of grief in sharing their experiences with others.
I can think of people I know who would find companionship between the pages of Mourning. Companionship, understanding, a sense of community for those who have lost little ones. If you know someone who has suffered the loss of a child, this is a must read.


Share, Inspire, Enrich

Check out this inspiring new book by Mourning Sickness Contributor Kathleen Willis Morton

An excerpt from Kathleen Willis Morton's story about the tragic loss of her son Liam appears in Mourning Sickness. We highly recommend you read more about her story of loss and hope in her forthcoming release "Blue Poppy and the Mustard Seed" (pictured left). Here's the description (from Amazon.com):

Katie Morton's son Liam was born with profound brain damage. When he died six-and-a-half weeks later, she searched for answers in books on grief and coping, but none seemed to address her situation. Without completely understanding why, Morton embarked on a wider search for solace. The Blue Poppy and the Mustard Seed takes readers along as she travels to foreign lands to illuminate her inner journey through emotional highs and lows. She interweaves what she witnesses — simple rituals like children's baths and picnics, and rites of passage like birth and death — with her own progress. In the process she discovers that the pain she has experienced is both unavoidable and necessary, a pivotal part of the process of healing that can lead to "a victorious kind of joy, of acceptance." In discovering herself, Morton shows readers suffering from similar tragedies how to endure world-shattering pain and come out whole.

Available for pre-order on Amazon.com!