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Cover for Ghostbelly


Elizabeth Heineman


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Ghostbelly is Elizabeth Heineman's personal account of a home birth that goes tragically wrong--ending in a stillbirth--and the harrowing process of grief and questioning that follows. It's also Heineman's unexpected tale of the loss of a newborn: before burial, she brings the baby home for overnight stays.

Does this sound unsettling? Of course. We're not supposed to hold and caress dead bodies. But then again, babies aren't supposed to die.

In this courageous and deeply intimate memoir, Heineman examines the home-birth and maternal health-care industry, the isolation of midwives, and the scripting of her own grief. With no resolution to sadness, Heineman and her partner learn to live in a new world: a world in which they face each day with the understanding of the fragility of the present.

Feminist Press, 9781558618442, 320pp.

Publication Date: February 18, 2014

About the Author

Elizabeth Heineman is a professor of history and of gender, women's, and sexuality studies at the University of Iowa. Her published works include Before Porn was Legal, Sexual Violence in Conflict Zones, and What Difference Does a Husband Make? She lives in Iowa City, Iowa.