When Long Litt Woon’s husband suddenly dies at age 54, she signs up for a class that her and her husband had intended to take together but never got around to. She takes a beginner’s class on mushrooming. She eventually becomes a certified mushroom expert.
In this book, Long Litt Woon tells the story of, “…two parallel journeys: an outer one, into the realm of mushrooms, and an inner one, through the landscape of mourning” (p. 282).
There is a lot about mushrooms in this book. We also get a glimpse into the culture of mushroom experts. Throughout the book, Long Litt Woon weaves in her thoughts and observations about her grief: “One thing I’m sure of: the grieving process does not follow a linear step-by-step pattern. It is complex and full of moveable parts. There is no straight, predictable arrow pointing upward from a grief-stricken existence to a grief-free state, the road twists and turns, and so-called progress occurs when it suits the grief, not you” (p. 87).
The main theme that I was left with after reading this book was how after such a significant loss, the question of identity comes up. Who am I now? Who do I want to be? Long Litt Woon shows that there is still room to grow, to learn, to live even after loss and while grieving.
“Choosing to spend time doing things by yourself can have mental, emotional and social benefits, but the key to reaping those positive rewards comes from choosing to spend time alone.”
Read the rest of this New York Times article.
It's not talked about much, and is actually more common than you might think.
Take a listen as the two OB/GYNs from The V Word podcast discuss miscarriage: https://vwordpod.com/episode/miscarriage/
This is a graphic novel that follows the author while she tries to conceive. She does (warning: pregnancy losses), and she also chronicles her pregnancy.
This book includes sections on women's reproductive health and history and myths around miscarriage. Lucy Knisley's drawings and writing very effectively normalize the common feelings experienced while trying to conceive and feelings around pregnancy loss.
This is one of the best blog posts I've read on how to support a friend going through infertility.
How to Help a Friend Facing Infertility. "Let your friend know you are there, and open the door for discussion without pressure or pity."
This is a collection of essays written by women and one man about their personal stories of infertility and pregnancy loss. Some of the stories end with a baby, and others do not. These stories may help the reader feel less alone.
Finding support online when you're facing fertility treatments can be helpful...or not. Here's an article about the benefits of these forums and what to look out for.
The pros and cons of online fertility forums. "While most users of an online fertility forum are genuine, and the experiences are positive and supportive, it makes sense to be careful, says Ms Bold at the University of Worcester."
Men are affected by infertility as well. It's not talked about very much, but here's one man's story:
The Silent Shame of Male Infertility. "Men are largely absent from public conversation around infertility, and even those who have looked for support hesitate to identify as someone struggling with male infertility."
IVFML is a podcast following Anna Almendrala and Simon Ganz as they try to have a baby. They are frank and honest, letting the listener eavesdrop on their voice memos even in the darkest of moments throughout their infertility journey.
Episode 3: Cash Money focuses specifically on the finances involved in using assisted reproductive technologies.
I’m Elaine Gee-Wong and I'm a therapist with a private practice in Santa Clara, CA.
Any information or advice on this website is for informational purposes only, and should not take the place of information or care provided to you by your physicians, medical, or mental health care professionals.