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Self-help Death, Grief, Bereavement

Expecting Sunshine

A Journey of Grief, Healing, and Pregnancy after Loss, 2nd edition

by (author) Alexis Marie Chute

She Writes Press
Initial publish date
May 2019
Death, Grief, Bereavement, Personal Memoirs, Pregnancy & Childbirth
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2019
    List Price

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“An amazingly moving and emotional story that any woman―or any parent―can easily relate to.”

―Jennifer Hamilton, Editor, Canadian Family magazine

Expecting Sunshine is a multi-award-winning memoir and a Kirkus Review BEST INDIE BOOK of 2017

Anyone who has experienced—or knows someone who has experienced—miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, or other forms of pregnancy and baby loss should read Expecting Sunshine, including those considering or already pregnant again.

After her son, Zachary, dies in her arms at birth, visual artist and author Alexis Marie Chute disappears into her “Year of Distraction.” She cannot paint or write or tap into the heart of who she used to be, mourning not only for Zachary, but also for the future they might have had together. It is only when Chute learns she is pregnant again that she sets out to find healing and rediscover her identity—just in time, she hopes, to welcome her next child.

In the forty weeks of her pregnancy, Chute grapples with her strained marriage, shaken faith, and medical diagnosis, with profound results.

Glowing with riveting and gorgeous prose, Expecting Sunshine chronicles the anticipation and anxiety of expecting a baby while still grieving for the child that came before—enveloping readers with insightful observations on grief and healing, life and death, and the incredible power of a mother’s love.

Letter from a reader:

I just finished your beautiful book Expecting Sunshine and felt compelled to reach out and say thank you.

A few days after I found out I miscarried, a few days before my D&C, I went to Barnes & Noble in hopes of finding a guidebook or self-help book of how to heal and cope with miscarriage or loss of a child. I searched every feasible location: self-help, psychology, family planning, childcare.

With tears in my eyes I was too embarrassed to ask anyone at the counter for help. There I was already utterly heartbroken and feeling more alone than ever. Not a single book for me to turn to. I pulled out my phone, googled “books about miscarriage” and found your book and ordered it on the spot.

It must not have been easy for you and your family to share your story, but I hope you know what an impact you’ve had on me and likely so many other women.

You’ve given me so much hope for my year ahead.

—Katie Rhodes, Oakland, California

Second Edition includes: Bonus chapter written from the author’s husband’s perspective. Plus, resource section, group discussion questions, and Q&A with author Alexis Marie Chute

About the author

Alexis Marie Chute is an award-winning author, artist, filmmaker, curator, and inspirational speaker. Her memoir, Expecting Sunshine: A Journey of Grief, Healing, and Pregnancy After Loss, was a Kirkus Best Book of 2017 and received many literary awards. Expecting Sunshine is also a highly acclaimed feature documentary film, produced, and directed by the author that was screened around the world in 2018 and 2019. Her 8th Island Trilogy—including the novels Above the Star, Below the Moon, and Inside the Sun—has been called “A Wrinkle in Time meets The Princess Bride” (Lee Lee Thompson, The Perpetual You), was a 2018 “Top 15 Unputdownable YA Reads” pick (Bookstr), and a 5/5 Readers’ Favorite book. Chute holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art and Design and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. She is an internationally exhibited painter and photographer, curator of InFocus Photography Exhibition, and widely published writer of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She lives in snowy Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, with her husband, Aaron, and their three living children.

Alexis Marie Chute's profile page

Editorial Reviews

2019 Eric Hoffer Award Finalist in The da Vinci Eye
2018 Body Mind Spirit Book Awards: Winner, Death & Dying category
2018 eLit Book Awards: Bronze, Parenting category
2018 Nautilus Book Awards: Silver, Parenting & Family category

2018 IBPA Ben Franklin Awards Finalist in Best New Voices: Non-Fiction

2018 IBPA Ben Franklin Awards Finalist in Autobiography & Memoir

2018 Reader Views Literary Awards Finalist in Parenting/Family/Relationships

2017 IndieReader Discovery Awards: Women's Issues, First Place

2017 Royal Dragonfly Book Award Winner in Women's Interests

2017 Canada Book Award Winner

2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Winner, Best Cover Design, nonfiction

2017 USA Best Book Awards Finalist in Women's Issues

2017 USA Best Book Awards Finalist in Best New Non-Fiction

2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist in Parenting/Family Non-Fiction

2017 Foreword Indies Finalist in Adult Nonfiction—Grief & Grieving

IndieReader BEST INDIE BOOKS of 2017 pick

Kirkus Review BEST INDIE BOOKS of 2017

"Expecting Sunshine is an invaluable resource for those dealing with loss, as well as a beautifully-told story of grief, hope, healing and love."


“A moving saga of motherhood in extremis that earns its moments of certainty and bliss through an honest grappling with pain and doubt.”


“Exquisitely detailed and achingly honest. A must-read.”

—Ariel Brewster, senior editor, Today’s Parent Magazine

“Alexis Marie Chute, tasked with living as she mourns the death of her child, writes vividly and honestly about loss and grief. Expecting Sunshine records a journey that proves to be revelatory for reader and writer alike. This is a brave, memorable book.”

—Jane Brox, author of Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light

"This memoir is a moving journey of infant loss and the pregnancy that follows in the midst of a society that does not understand the dynamics of perinatal loss. The book explores the different ways men and women process grief, suppressing grief while wanting others to remember a baby no longer physically present, and how to find a new normal. The pregnancy that follows brings multifaceted feelings of continued grief, memories of the previous pregnancy along with anxiety and fear for the safety of the much-wanted new sibling. This is a book for parents, professionals, and families and friends wishing to support someone who has suffered a loss.”

—Joann O'Leary, PhD, Parent-Infant Specialist, author of Meeting the Needs of Families Pregnant and Parenting After the Loss of a Baby

“Honest, raw and vulnerable—Alexis Marie Chute opens her heart to share her journey of love, loss, transformation, and rebirth. Her message that love binds us together even beyond death, resonates deeply with me as a bereaved mother; it is also a consistent message I heard in my research with bereaved families who experience perinatal death. This is an important, engaging book for bereaved parents, especially those who are considering a subsequent pregnancy.”

—Christine Jonas-Simpson, RN, PhD Professor of Nursing, York University, Toronto, ON Canada

"Alexis Marie's honest, unflinching memoir reads more like a novel in its elegant use of prose and narrative structure. But there's no mistaking its truth—that losing a child at any age can cause a shift in a parent's universe. Alexis Marie's struggle to move forward and heal, and still honour baby Zachary, is an inspiration."

—Janice Biehn, Editor, ParentsCanada magazine

“In Expecting Sunshine, the Edmonton-based writer and artist Alexis Marie Chute writes about loss—the most primal loss we can experience, the loss of a child—in such luminous prose and with such clear-eyed insight that the beauty of the text brings the reader to the edge of tears. Tears of sadness for her family’s loss, yes, but more profoundly, tears of release and healing as we witness the cathartic powers of art and the scope of a young family’s love. This is a beautiful, honest, important book that makes death a starting point for the continuation of life—literally, as the book chronicles Chute’s first pregnancy after the death of her son Zachary—and grief, the catalyst from which joy is born.”

—Pamela Petro, author of The Slow Breath of Stone, Travels in an Old Tongue, and Sitting Up with the Dead

Expecting Sunshine is an exquisite book for all those who have lost a child and those who need to understand and cope with untimely grief. It is one woman’s heart-rending story of a mother’ loss which confounds ideology, faith and any of the prescribed cures for mourning. Its pain and wisdom are as old as time, the simple truths of nature, nurture and the bonds of mother and child. It is also an uplifting lesson in¬ redemption.”

—Rachel Manley, author of the Governor General Award–winning memoir Drumblair: Memories of a Jamaican Childhood

“Wow! The story of Alexis Marie Chute and her precious pregnancies was almost impossible for me to put down. I know that this book will be so helpful for families living through subsequent pregnancies—a chance to validate their varied emotions and know that whatever they are feeling is ‘normal.’ Thank you for sharing your story so that others can learn from your journeys. Thank you, Zachary, for helping your mother tell yours and Eden’s stories.”

—Lori Ives-Baine, RN, MN (CPB), Perinatal and Pediatric Grief Support Coordinator, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Expecting Sunshine is a brave book, walking the reader through the deep grief that accompanies the loss of a child and moving beyond immediate pain to recovery. Alexis Marie Chute speaks honestly of all the areas of life that are threatened by the death of a child: the relationship of the parents, and their faith, creativity, and belief in themselves and one another. At the same time, Expecting Sunshine acknowledges the myriad support systems that exist to help bereaved parents heal from this kind of trauma and emerge together, altered but vital. Part memorial, part celebration, this is a striking book.”

—Jenna Butler, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Award winner and author of Profession of Hope

“An amazingly moving and emotional story that any woman—or any parent—can easily relate to.”

—Jennifer Hamilton, Editor,

“An honest and tender memoir about the complex and difficult emotions of grief and joy a mother goes through during a pregnancy that follows a death of a child.”

—Lindsey Henke LICSW, founder of Pregnancy After Loss Support

“When a baby dies, too many parents suffer alone in silence. While grieving the unexpected death of her son, Zachary, Alexis Marie courageously gives powerful voice to a mother’s primal heartbreak as she searches for renewal and rebirth in her own healing while carrying her next son, Eden. In her enthralling memoir, for those of us bereaved mothers who share similar memories, Alexis Marie helps us to honour our own lives.”

—Shari Morash, Guelph, ON Canada, Founder of Josiah’s Journey and author of Loving Your Baby: A Gentle and Practical Guide to Parenting Through Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Death

"In Expecting Sunshine, Alexis allows you to accompany her on the tumultuous journey of pregnancy after loss. While navigating the complex emotions during this time, she is vulnerable and allows the reader to witness her most private moments. This is a beautiful story filled with love—both for the baby who has passed on, as well as the one she is expecting."

—Kiley Krekorian Hanish, occupational therapist, founder of the Return to Zero Center for Healing, and bereaved mother to Norbert

Expecting Sunshine challenges the reader to accompany author Alexis Marie Chute on the most heartbreaking of journeys. Fate has dealt her the task of carrying to term and delivering a baby, Zachary, who will not survive. How cruel, terrifying and capricious life feels as we travel along with Alexis Marie as she summons the courage to get pregnant again. Told week by week as she re-enters the process of carrying new life, we suffer and worry along with her and also revel in her down to earth embrace of her path and her family who accompany her. The contours of grief are too often hidden. Alexis Marie has been generous and fearless in showing herself to us, warts and all, not just her bravery but also her hopelessness at times, her fear, and most important, her coping. This book will be a helpful and inspiring addition to the literature of grief and especially meaningful to those who have lost a child and need encouragement to try again. The world feels larger and more spacious, pain more bearable, life more precious after reading this book.”

—Pat Allen, Art Therapist, author of Art as a Way of Knowing: A Guide to Self-Knowledge and Spiritual Fulfillment through Creativity

"When mired in unthinkable and immovable pain, artistic expression presents itself as a friend and companion, enabling life and creative energy to flow again and transform random tragedy into an affirmation of life and family. Alexis Marie Chute shows us how full engagement and acceptance, rather than failed distractions, can medicine the soul."

—Shaun McNiff, author of Art Heals, Art as Medicine, and many other books on healing the soul through creative expression

Other titles by Alexis Marie Chute