HopingForBaby.com Rating: 3 out of 5
If you’ve experienced pregnancy or infant loss Empty Arms: Hope and Support for Those Who Have Suffered a Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Tubal Pregnancy by Pam Vredevelt might provide you with some comfort as you go through the grieving process. She writes about her own experience with grieving the loss of her baby and how it impacted her life. She turned her pain into something greater than herself, by helping others through their grieving processes. Vredevelt found meaning and purpose through providing counseling to others through her own private practice. In her book she talks about how important her Christian faith was to her as well as other people in her life as they dealt with their loss.
I liked that she talked about different coping skills that she found helpful as well as what other women found to be helpful. Anyone dealing with grief wants to learn different ways to move through the grief and not let it debilitate them. Some of her suggestions included talking to someone who they feel could understand, listen to uplifting songs and podcasts, find a project or hobby to keep you busy, and slow down your routine so as not to overschedule yourself. The biggest coping skill she discussed was studying the Bible. Personally, I am not that religious, but I feel that people who are Christian might get a lot out of this book. She provides Bible quotations that some might find helpful as they cope with their loss. For those who are struggling with their faith and asking “Why did God allow this to happen?” they may find the Biblical quotes give them guidance and help heal their pain.
I think if you are a devout Christian and have experienced pregnancy or infant loss, this book may be just the thing you are looking for. But if you practice any other faith, are agnostic, or atheist and you feel aversive to Biblical references this book might be a difficult read for you. For a woman who is currently grieving and under a tremendous amount of stress, I would probably tell her to wait a bit before reading this book because it may come across as Pollyanna. The author essentially explains that seeing the big picture of God’s plan can help someone cope. But when someone is in the depths of their grief this big-picture thinking may not provide immediate comfort.
I felt like there were parts in the book that were overly graphic, relating to the details of miscarriage. Why go into so much graphic detail? I feel like the graphic detail isn’t helpful and can actually be harmful for readers who are really struggling to cope. The author shares her own experience as well as other people’s stories which go into such vivid detail. A single experience of trauma is enough, readers may not want to hear multiple stories of trauma on top of their own. My advice to readers who choose to read the book is if you feel parts of the book are too difficult to read, simply skip ahead a bit. Or you can wait until you feel like you are able to handle these stories.
Overall, I felt like this was a good read because it covers a lot of ways to emotionally heal, mostly on a spiritual level. Sometimes our biggest struggle to healing is trying to understand why our baby died. This book attempts to explain on a spiritual level why something such as pregnancy and infant loss happens. Even if you are not Christian there are good nuggets of advice that anyone can benefit from. This book may bring you much needed peace.