"This Is How You Know You're Alive is my first book, a memoir. It is the story of my passage through the depths of despair following the stillbirth of my first son, and the seen and unseen forces that helped me find my way back to life."
Melinda wakes up with a feeling that something is wrong. Her baby isn’t moving. Within hours, doctors confirm he is dead.
After a painful induction and two days of labor, Melinda delivers the baby and learns what it means to love unconditionally.
The next day she returns home to a waking nightmare, which plays over and over for weeks on end: paralyzing anxiety and depression and
the crippling truth that she will never get to hold her baby again. Uncertain about the state of her relationship and devastated by the loss,
she realizes she doesn’t want to live—though she doesn’t exactly want to die, either—and imagines that only another baby could make life worth living.
Melinda is soon pregnant again. But the relief doesn’t last long, as she is now confronted with new uncertainties, most essentially: Would this baby live?
This is How You Know You’re Alive is a map from grief to vitality and devastation to joy, which demonstrates its most essential theme: only by allowing ourselves to feel extraordinary pain can we likewise experience extraordinary joy. Anyone who has ever suffered the loss of a loved one will find themselves relating to Melinda’s experience, moved by her honesty, and inspired by her hopeful message.
Photo by Douglas Pearce