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Ariel Levy’s Birth and Death in Mongolia

I want to give you ample warning that right now may not be the time that you want to read Ariel Levy’s piece in the New Yorker about giving birth to her son at 19 weeks.  It is hard to read.  It could be impossible to read if you are in a certain frame of mind.

But that is the thing about written pieces; they can wait for you.  They can wait until you are ready to read them.

Josh told me that he thought maybe I shouldn’t read the piece tonight.  I was in such a good mood, or a neutral mood.  He didn’t want a weepy mess before bedtime.  But I read it anyway.  Because I thought it was important to read it.

She writes of her loss,

But the truth is, the ten or twenty minutes I was somebody’s mother were black magic. There is no adventure I would trade them for; there is no place I would rather have seen. Sometimes, when I think about it, I still feel a dark hurt from some primal part of myself, and if I’m alone in my apartment when this happens I will hear myself making sounds that I never made before I went to Mongolia. I realize that I have turned back into a wounded witch, wailing in the forest, undone.

I’m not a mess.  Maybe I would have been if I had read this without warning.

Instead, I’m just quiet.


1 Jo { 11.11.13 at 10:51 pm }

I had fair warning, and I am a mess. At 21 weeks, I still live in intense fear that this will happen to me. And I picture myself delivering this child I live so fiercely already, knowing he cannot yet survive. It makes me breathless, and then I sob big ugly tears.

I should have known better. But it was still a beautiful, brilliant piece.

2 Pepper { 11.12.13 at 7:23 am }

I am drawn to read these piecesand yet they torment me with wwhat could have been. I went into labor at 30 weeks and had my baby @ 33. Healthy and tiny. Any time I read an article like this (not that I’ve yet read it) I just think, why her and not me? Why am I tthe lucky one? That ccould have been my daughter who I never really got to know. And then I’m a mess.

But I’ll probably read it because if that had been me, I would want people to understand.

3 Karen (formerly Serenity) { 11.12.13 at 9:10 am }

What a gorgeous, awful post. I just want to reach through the screen and hug her. Thank you for sharing.


4 loribeth { 11.12.13 at 9:49 am }

I read this over the weekend. I was not a mess (of course, on another day, I might have been). I actually thought it was beautifully & honestly written.

5 JustHeather { 11.12.13 at 1:05 pm }

Hauntingly beautiful and heartbreakingly sad.

6 Lori Lavender Luz { 11.12.13 at 3:44 pm }


7 D { 11.13.13 at 7:56 am }

I read this last night, as well. An incredible and honestly written piece. I am still reflecting on it this morning.

8 magpie { 11.21.13 at 1:42 pm }

that piece was shattering.

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