• Tania Pryputniewicz
  • Interview with Miscarriage Survivor Monica Murphy Lemoine, author of “Knocked Up, Knocked Down”
Interview with Miscarriage Survivor Monica Murphy Lemoine, author of “Knocked Up, Knocked Down”

Currently available from Catalyst Book Press, Knocked Up, Knocked Down: Postcards of Miscarriage and Other Misadventures from the Brink of Parenthood takes an intimate, fearless look at one woman’s journey through the conflicting, reality-shifting maze of emotions that saddle her as she tries to regain her balance when faced with miscarriage.

Due to Lemoine’s savage sense of humor and careful tracking of her own reactions and vulnerabilities, I found myself laughing with her when she was up, and crying with her when she was down. When publisher Jessica Powers (founder of Catalyst Book Press www.catalystbookpress.com, and the literary online zine The Fertile Source www.fertilesource.com) asked if I had a few questions for Lemoine, I thought members of She Writes would be interested to hear Lemoine speak about her creative process. While I realize your entire book in a sense chronicles this process, I wonder if you can talk about how or when you realized you could write about this experience of miscarriage? What led you to the desire to share your story and what was the process of writing like for you (one flow, stops and starts, or any other aspect of process you’d like to discuss with us)? I think my desire to write about my experiences with stillbirth and miscarriage came from feeling a bit isolated in my own grief, and wanting to connect with the "rest of the world" - even with people who hadn't been through this before. Like a lot of traumatic events, the aftermath of losing a baby is hard to explain and understand, and I felt I therefore had a unique story to tell that might make this experience resonate stronger with others. Finally, I felt that it was important to find humor--even raunchy humor--in this experience--and writing about it provided a channel and purpose for doing that. The book is written as a series of self-contained vignettes, interspersed with my own hand-drawn cartoons. Honestly, I wrote it rather haphazardly, writing short stories (the vignettes) as they came to me, and as I remembered details. I wrote the story over a period of about a year-and-a-half, writing vignettes here and there, in coffee shops, on the bus, whenever they came to me. My husband was a big help in jogging my memory for such details. It wasn't until I had a huge stack of short stories that I finally decided to string them together and shape them into something bigger with an overarching beginning, middle and end. Your sense of humor, absolute fearlessness when charting this intensely personal, emotional terrain and your ability to keep surfacing as you faced your setbacks was not only heartbreaking and humbling but inspiring. What would you say to another woman at the beginning of such loss, or do you have any advice for the family members of a woman facing such a loss? This is really a hard question. One thing I've realized is that there really isn't much advice that helps during the lowest-low of losing a baby. What I would say is, trust yourself to grapple with your circumstance in a way that's right for you, and have faith that time does eventually heal. Laugh if you can. But if you can't, know that laughter can come later, when you're ready for it. That's how it was for me.

The letter your husband wrote (included in the book) so movingly conveys his depth of understanding that whether or not there’s a child to hold at the end of a pregnancy, both partners have moved into a state of parenthood from which they will never return. What challenges did you face as you wrote a story that, while primarily focused on you, also included the experiences of your family members? I don't think I ever quite figured out how to do that when writing memoir. In order to keep my own voice as true to reality as I could make it, I had to write it as though I were standing back in time, at the moment when those events took place. This meant trying to perceive others' actions the way I perceived them at the time (not how I perceive them now, in hindsight). It's been strange now to look back at that story, see and laugh at how I was viewing the world around me. Man, my brain was so wacked-out! Now I understand things better, including the roles that my friends/family had in my life. But that was the challenge of writing a memoir: really conveying the world as I understood it then. Any projects (writing) brewing on the back burner? A really boring non-fiction book on community college teaching methods. Please, please, try to control your own excitement. I'd love to write a girl-scout-style miscarriage/stillbirth survival manual, just a down-n-dirty book of tips and tricks. But it's hard now with a new son, to look back at that chapter of my life and really write another book about it. We'll see. It's on the way back burner for now. Anything else you'd like to talk about here? Nope! Thanks for the great questions. Knocked Up, Knocked Down: Postcards of Miscarriage and Other Misadventures from the Brink of Parenthood [Paperback] $18.00 ISBN 978-0980208139 208 pages

Let's be friends

The Women Behind She Writes

519 articles
12 articles

Featured Members (7)

123 articles
392 articles
54 articles
60 articles

Featured Groups (7)

Trending Articles

  • Nicelle Davis

    Wow. Great interview. I have a copy of the book and look forward to reading it soon.

    All the best to you.