Shadow Child: An Apprenticeship in Love and Loss

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9780786707201: Shadow Child: An Apprenticeship in Love and Loss
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A memoir of loss, love, and motherhood focuses on the author's failed first attempt at pregnancy, which resulted in a stillbirth at the age of twentyfour, and her subsequent successful siring of Jacob.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

A baby lost, a baby born, and the silently tangled life they lead: Powning (Home, not reviewed) tells the story with incantatory grace, awe, and an ache a mile wide. This memoir slowly and deliberately wends its way up to the birth of Powning's first child, Tate. Readers know he will be stillborn, but nevertheless the moment is crushing: ``Naming him makes me face the truth of his death. Naming him takes him out of the place where I want to keep him.'' Tate slips away; she never sees him, never touches him. Her grief is vast and deep, and she writes of the loss with an anguish that is rattling to witness. Even so, it is clear she has not dared face all her thoughts head on. Her sadness is a repression of memory that consigns Tate to the shadows. Powning has a second, healthy child, Jacob, and the remainder of this memoir chronicles his days and the vicissitudes of their family life, particularly Pownings wrangles with Jacob's growing discontentthe discontent of youth with its own twists and turnsmirrored by her discontent as a writer with a shoebox full of rejection slips and a nagging unease that finally expresses itself as full-blown depression. When a friend tells her that his own child will be stillborn the following day, she has a glimmer of insight, and tells him to ``hold the baby. Name the baby and hold him. Hold him.'' She never embraced Tate, in her arms or metaphorically, and now that is her job: to erase her sense of personal responsibility in his death and gather him to her. When Jacob is born, an aged friend looks at him and opines that ``he's got a lot of hard things to go through.'' Powning knows what he means: Life, captured here in all its keenness. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

"My sons lived at different times in the same womb, and their lives spiral around one another, as flexed and fluid as the self-embracing curl of an embryo." In finely wrought prose, Powning (Home: Chronicle of a North Country Life) looks back on the birth of Tate, her first child, who was stillborn nearly 25 years ago. Although she had a second son, Jacob, she never forgave herself for a fall while cross-country skiing during the last weeks of her pregnancy with Tate, and never truly mourned him. This is not, however, an ordinary therapeutic memoir. Powning focuses her considerable writing ability on probing the life she has built with her husband, Peter, whom she married when she was only 19. In their early 20s, the two emigrated to Canada and bought a farm that has challenged and strengthened them. Although they have a solid marriage, Powning has at times envied Peter's dedication to his successful pottery business and resented her role as his assistant. Over the years, she has struggled to find her own creative voice (after one particularly galling rejection from a publisher, she gave up writing for years). After Jacob was born, both she and Peter were consumed by the joys of parenthood; the author later home-schooled Jacob for two years. When persistent dizziness and recurring nightmares prompted Powning to see a therapist, she began unraveling the grief she still carried for Tate. Anyone who has experienced the loss of a child will relate to Powning's painful and healing search for meaning in his death. Agent, Aaron Milrad. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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9780670877980: Shadow Child : An Apprenticeship in Love and Loss

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ISBN 10:  0670877980 ISBN 13:  9780670877980
Publisher: Viking, 1999
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