Susan O'Doherty

“The Road Home” in About What Was Lost: Twenty Writers on Miscarriage, Healing, and Hope

Mindy Rhiger, Library Journal:
As many as one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage, yet often women find themselves alone in their grief because of the silence surrounding the subject. Editor Berger Gross (creative nonfiction, Harvard Extension Sch.) hopes this collection of personal narratives by such writers as Joyce Maynard and Susanna Sonnenberg will "serve as a starting point for more conversations, both private and public, about miscarriage, so that women and their partners won't have to go on grieving in silence." These women's stories, divided into three sections-"Searching for Meaning," "In the Thick of It," and "Mourning and Moving On"-are intimate and often heart-wrenching. Several of the authors grieved pregnancies for which they had planned and hoped, while others were surprised at the intensity of their grief at the loss of an unplanned pregnancy. One woman found that suffering a miscarriage just days before her already scheduled appointment for an abortion did not alleviate her grief. Others speak of the potential contradiction of grieving the loss of a fetus while maintaining their prochoice stance. A powerful collection of personal stories recommended for all public libraries.

Elle Magazine:
In our tell-all tabloid culture, seemingly nothing is taboo. Nothing, that is, save for talking openly about one of life's most profound, unsettling, and, sadly, quite common passages. About What Was Lost shoves aside the veil of secrecy surrounding the loss of an unborn child to discuss the widely varying impact of miscarriage on the nearly one in four women who experience it. And, since that experience does not occur in a vacuum, these startling, sometimes heartrending, but ultimately hopeful tales from the likes of Pam Houston and Joyce Maynard are by necessity also stories of confused siblings, helpless husbands, and assorted friends and family members. In other words, everybody, which is exactly the book's point.

Selected Works

Books: Self-help
A practical and accessible guidebook to help women overcome creative blocks.
Fiction
A teenaged girl's "date" with a small-time political aide goes awry.
Essays
An account of my experience with a series of miscarriages before the birth of my son.
An exploration of the meaning and consequences of my son’s adoption of some traditionally feminine attributes.