What God is Honored Here?

After I miscarried in late 2017, I sought out narratives that reflected my own experience. I couldn’t find any.

As people of color, we often have to build the world we want to see (in this case, read). Editors Shannon Gibney and Kao Kalia Yang gathered our stories in the collection What God is Honored Here? Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss by and for Native Women and Women of Color (University of Minnesota Press, 2019). You can purchase the book directly from the press above or from Amazon. It is a 2019 Reading Group Guide Best Book Club Pick.

Reviews

Pregnancy loss is a most enigmatic human sorrow, unique to every woman who suffers it. These stories of resilience, grief, and restoration are essential, for to understand is to heal.

Louise Erdrich

What God is Honored Here? is the hardest and most important book I’ve read about parenting, loss, and imagination. It’s also the most frightening book in my world, but not because it is horrific: it is about the terrifying possibilities of love.

Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy

Together these writers have created a sacred space, a temple, in which the unspeakable can be shared in a way that honors their losses and the women they are, women who endured, who fought, who lost, who grieve . . . and the individual and collective healing that can come from allowing survivors to remember. A book of astounding grace and strength.

Thi Bui, author of The Best We Could Do

Press

Electric Literature:

[This book] is a ground-breaking array of perspectives that take us deep into  the prejudices and limitations of science and the medical establishment; the toll, the grace, the in-between where Indigenous women and women of color wait for miracles, and where we plunge in our grief at losing an infant or lose the possibility of an infant.

Jimin Han

Kirkus Reviews:

These tales of loss—from miscarriage, stillbirth, misdiagnosis, ectopic pregnancies, and sudden infant death—all carry the weight of the woman’s heartbreak. They also show abundant love and the honor they felt to be pregnant, regardless of the outcome. 

The Circle: Native American News and Arts:

 Yes, the book is hard to read and on occasion, I had to put it down, wipe my eyes and take the dog for a walk. Still, a few of the finest essays you will ever read in your life live between these two book covers.

Cat Whipple

The Quad-City Times:

[There are] memories of an Anishinaabeg woman, a Thai refugee, a black woman with white in-laws, an Asian American woman, a wife of a Mongolian man who didn’t speak his language enough, each left with empty arms, dealing with “a tiny baby” in a way that makes sense at the end of something that makes no sense at all. Each wondering what happened, and getting answers that left them angry, stunned, satisfied that it wasn’t their “fault,” or without answers altogether.

Terri Schlichenmeyer

Library Journal (starred review):

Gibney (See No Color) and Yang (The Song Poet) here bring together anecdotes of deep grief and hope… Narratives provide depth and detail, allowing readers to connect to one another at their own level and comfort. Highlighting the experiences of Native women and women of color, this collection is both heartbreaking and soothing; any woman who has had a miscarriage or survived infant loss will find plenty of material in which to see themselves.

Abby Hargreaves