Still Here: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Triumph After Stillbirth is the moving story of Alishia Anderson’s experience through grief and life after pregnancy loss, filled with her baby’s legacy, tips for bereaved parents, faith, healing, and hope.  

Still Here: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Triumph After Stillbirth by Alishia Anderson

Photo Credit: Pregnancy After Loss Support

Alishia Anderson writes in the introduction to her book, Still Here, “There is no easy entry point into this club [of loss parents]. You are shoved into the deep end and expected to learn to swim on the fly, while trying to keep your head above water. You can easily lose your mind or find yourself in a never-ending spiral of sadness, depression, anger and much more if you don’t have something or someone to anchor your grief to.” Alishia anchors herself to God and wrote Still Here to heal, share her story, and help newly grieving parents know they are not alone.

“I want you to understand that you are not alone, that while I wish we met through different circumstances, you can conquer the defeat and setback from this life altering situation.”

At a routine ultrasound at 28 weeks, Alishia and her husband, Derrek, discovered their baby no longer had a heartbeat. “I had just become a statistic,” she writes.  She was admitted to the hospital the next day to induce labor and barraged with questions no parent should have to answer–Do you want to see your baby? Do you want to hold your baby? Do you want the baby buried or cremated? They were thrust into what she describes as “real adulthood.” She and her husband, Derrek, came together as a team to make all of the decisions. After two days of labor, Derrek Jerrell Anderson Jr. “DJ” was born. And she soon discovered this was just the beginning of the journey of the grief process.

While Still Here is a memoir, Alishia also shares along the way things she wished she’d known and what to expect along the journey, with tips for grieving parents.

Each chapter starts with a Bible verse, grounding the author’s writing with her faith. Bereaved parents will particularly relate to the list of the neverending “whys,” as they wonder through the many questions after loss. Anderson offers things to keep in mind when questioning your loss.

She outlines the many emotions that are experienced after pregnancy and infant loss, giving examples of how she experienced them along with tips on how to manage the different emotions. She delves into the rollercoaster of grief and devotes two chapters to dealing with grief–her story and his story. She highlights how men and women grieve differently and gives space for her and her husband to share their grief journeys. Including the husband’s perspective is a unique and helpful addition to the memoir. Men’s experiences are so often not acknowledged or addressed and yet are so important because fathers grieve too.

Alishia devotes a chapter to the importance of a legacy for your baby and gives a comprehensive list of ways to remember your baby. She also focuses on the importance of self-care and ways to take care of yourself after loss. She addresses the insensitive comments received after her loss and includes things bereaved parents can consider when responding to similar comments and questions. She also outlines the many lessons she was forced to learn after her loss.

“Grief is such a heavy burden to bear. That is why I don’t think you should do it alone. Whatever you need to do to find help, whether it’s through your spouse, through a close friend, through a support group, through your Pastor or clergy at church, or through a therapist, do it. The end result is that you want to be able to find the necessary assistance and support to help you get through your grief.”

Alishia and her husband conceived their second child about six months after DJ’s death. She experienced so much fear and worked to change her mindset from fear to faith.

Pregnant after loss parents will resonate so much with her chapters on pregnancy after loss. She writes, “Becoming pregnant again, after losing your child, can be a daunting thing. The blissful, blind optimism of conceiving, waiting nine months, then delivering a healthy bundle of joy is no longer present. Families that have suffered the loss of a child know that at any moment within a forty-week time span, the life of their growing child can be cut short. It’s an unfortunate way to think but it is the reality of parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. who have lost their children during pregnancy across the globe.”

She shares ways to celebrate new life with your baby born after loss and gracefully acknowledges that not everyone goes on to have a rainbow baby. Her advice for PAL parents is to take it one day at a time. She writes, “To have a rainbow baby is to have a heart in a constant battle. Your heart will always mourn for the loss of your fallen angel you so tragically had to give back. But the flipside is that your heart also holds an insurmountable amount of love and adoration for your new baby after a tragic loss. It is truly the definition of a real-life balancing act.”

As she closes her book, she shares with the reader, “One thing is certain. Time does not stop, and life goes on. While I would do absolutely anything to have DJ back in my arms, I know that’s not a possibility in this lifetime. But it doesn’t take away my memories of him. It doesn’t erase the time we spent together for twenty-eight weeks. It doesn’t erase the love I have for him and will continue to feel for him the rest of my life.” Still Here offers so much validation and support for loss parents. Alishia Anderson really helps you feel less alone on your journey.

Get a copy of Still Here: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Triumph After Stillbirth for yourself or as a gift. Available at Amazon and Bookshop.org.

About the Author

Alishia Anderson

Alishia Anderson has always looked at life with a glass-half-full perspective. But, when she lost her first-born son DJ at 28 weeks’ gestation (1.18.16), it rocked her to her core. Through her grief journey, she has grown spiritually, rediscovered her purpose, and has become a better wife, [rainbow/golden] mother, pregnancy loss advocate, mentor, Grief Companion, and Baby Loss Support Coach to other mothers and baby loss families who have been dealt the same tragic plight of loss. Alishia self-published her book “Still Here: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Triumph After Stillbirth” to help eradicate what she coins the 3S’s of baby loss: silence, secrecy, and shame. You can follow her on FacebookInstagram, and at her website.

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