Dancing with the Midwives: A Memoir of Art and Grief from Ann Faison

We’d like to share with you a  new book, “Dancing with the Midwives: A Memoir of Art and Grief,” from Ann Faison. Read more about the book here.

About the Book:

“Dancing with the Midwives: A Memoir of Art and Grief,” takes you through an intimate experience of grief that leaves you with a sense of the profound changes inherent in that process.  It is a personal story that carries a universal message:  That grief is difficult and challenging,  but ultimately good.

The book is both art piece and memoir, in which Faison embraces the grieving process after her child dies in utero.  She delivers careful observations in short, spare prose, vivid poems and fine pencil drawings. A deformed ladybug, a new haircut, and the trauma of still birth are all described intricately, from a place of being present to the moment.  Her simple drawings of seed pods, twigs, feathers and other tiny wonders carry the persistence of renewal, the undercurrent of all healing, throughout the pages. Dancing with the Midwives is a celebration of the beauty that is inherent, but often missed, in the grieving process.


We tried to have another one of our monthly ceremonies for Keirnan tonight.  I brought out candles, treats and the few mementos we have.  I started to say something but it felt flat and forced.  I didn’t feel like being the ringleader again, so I didn’t say anything for a while.  I thought, maybe this time we can just be in this space and not do anything.  But not doing anything didn’t satisfy me.  Grace was busy entertaining us with stories and songs and eventually I rose to clean up.  A little while later Dave seemed irritated.  Can I blow out the candles?  He asked.

I asked him what he wanted.  He said the rituals needed more structure, something to hold onto.  That’s just it, I bawled.  There is nothing.  No stories, no images in our minds of our daughter and yet she lived and we love her and we miss her.  We miss being excited about her.

Grace is putting flower petals on my legs.  One by one she places them, working carefully, in long rows.  They are large and white and beginning to brown.  We collected them today at the botanical gardens.  They were covering the ground under a tree like a carpet of love.  She is working her way up my arms so that I can’t move.  Lie down, she demands, so I can do your face.

Melanie Mayo-Laakso


Melanie Mayo-Laakso is the Content Manager for Mothering.com. Mothering is the birthplace of natural family living and attachment parenting. We celebrate the experience of parenthood as worthy of one’s best efforts and are at once fierce advocates for children and gentle supporters of parents.