“I drive and say to myself, if I am dying, if this is how I die, then this is how I die.” When N. West Moss finds herself bleeding uncontrollably in the middle of a writing class, she manages to drive herself to the nearest hospital. Doctors are baffled, but eventually a diagnosis—uterine hemangioma—is rendered and a hysterectomy is scheduled. In prose both lyrical and unsparing, Moss takes us along through illness, relapse, and recovery. And as her thoughts turn to her previous struggles with infertility, she reflects on kin and kinship and on what it means to leave a legacy.
Moss’s wise, droll voice and limitless curiosity lift this narrative beyond any narrow focus. Among her interests: yellow fever, good cocktails, the history of New Orleans, and, always, the natural world, including the praying mantis in her sunroom whom she names Claude. And we learn about the inspiring women in Moss’s family—her mother, her grandmother, and her great-grandmother—as she sorts out her feelings that this line will end with her. But Moss discovers that there are ways besides having children to make a mark, and that grief is not a stopping place but a companion that travels along with us through everything, even happiness.
A remarkably honest memoir about heartache and healing, Flesh & Blood opens up a conversation with the millions of women who live with infertility and loss.