Breathe: A Memoir of Motherhood, Grief, and Family Conflict

Breathe: A Memoir of Motherhood, Grief, and Family Conflict

by Kelly Kittel

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781938314780
Publisher: She Writes Press
Publication date: 05/14/2014
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 1,318,424
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Kelly Kittel is a fish biologist by trade but a writer at heart. She is married with five living children, her best work beyond compare. She lives with her husband and two youngest children in Rhode Island but her favorite writing space is in her yurt on the coast of Oregon. She has been published in magazines and anthologies and has written many notes to teachers, but this is her first book.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"People always ask me why I write about loss and grief. And I tell them that I write about loss and grief because when I do, I'm also writing about love, and hope, and family, and all the big messy glorious things in our lives. Kelly Kittel understands that. In Breathe, she bares her broken heart, and shows us all courage and hope and, mostly, love."

- Ann Hood, author of the memoir Comfort: A Journey Through Grief and The Knitting Circle.

Customer Reviews

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Breathe: A Memoir of Motherhood, Grief, and Family Conflict 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing. I could not put this book down. It is a must read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One sunny summer day, Kelly’s son, Noah, toddles into the driveway and is accidentally killed by her sixteen-year old niece. A year later, her baby, Jonah, is stillborn. Kelly has faced every parent’s worst nightmare. Twice. Sometimes we are called to bear witness to another’s suffering. It isn’t easy. We can’t join them in the abyss of their grief. We can’t lift their burden. But we can listen, and it was an honor to listen to Kelly’s story. I am in awe of her resilience and the strength of her spirit. Breathe isn’t just about loss, though – it’s about love and courage and healing. Kelly’s words promise us that despite immeasurable pain, life can be rich and full and beautiful. RECOMMEND.
ReadersFavorite1 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite In Kelly Kittel's Breathe: A Memoir of Motherhood, Grief, and Family Conflict, a woman understands the value of real family and the sacrifices you need to make to keep it safe. Kelly Kittel had learnt early on that family is everything. That has been the only thing that actually mattered to her. She has a beautiful fifteen-month-old son and a husband who adores her; was there anything else she needed in life to make it even more perfect? Her world comes crashing down when her sixteen-year-old niece runs her infant son over by car. Too soon after that, her doctor makes a terrible mistake and she and her husband have to bury yet another child. If the family she cherished does not stand by her, then what is family for? Was it all for nothing? As she tries to keep her family together at this terrible time, she is questioning everything. What is real family? Did she actually have it or was it just an illusion. Kelly Kittel's Breathe: A Memoir of Motherhood, Grief, and Family Conflict was a heartbreaking book. I expected a lot of heartbreak and emotion, but this was a lot more than that. I was immersed in Kelly's life, I felt her pain and her hardship. I really loved this memoir, even though I was crying from the moment I started reading it. Not many writers have the ability to do that. I praise her for accomplishing that. Kudos to the writer!
RobertaD More than 1 year ago
I had the pleasure of meeting Kelly Kittel before ever reading her book. When I picked up Breathe I couldn't imagine that this same energetic, bright, full-of-life person lived the story I was about to read. As I read, and sometimes cried, through the Book of Noah: Jonah: Isaiah, I learned that this was not a memoir of Motherhood, Grief, and Family Conflict but a book of faith, hope and healing. Beautifully written, Breathe quickly became one of those books I thought about all day awaiting a free moment to read on.The most compelling feature is Kelly Kittel's complete honesty in revealing her story of losing two children and the unimaginable reaction of her husband's family. Her words are real, allowing reader to relate, and her words are hopeful, giving the reader hope for their own healing journey. I highly recommend this wonderful book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an extraordinary story that is sometimes difficult to believe it is also true. It is a story that slowly draws you in. It starts out about your average everyday family raising their young children. Heartwrenching tragedy strikes - not once but again and again. It threatens to rip this family apart. This poignant story grabs you and holds you until the end. Kelly is a talented and courageous writer that opens her heart to the reader. This memoir not only is beautifully written, it is a inspirational must read to anyone and especially to those that have suffered tragedy in their lives.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings A woman who always dreamed of a big family, loses two sons within 9 months and then continues to suffer devastating loss again and again.  Not the most happiest of books for the summer season, but bearing witness to someone's story made the emotional journey more than worth it. There were way too many moments where I couldn't believe that I was reading non-fiction, my heart ached for this woman, not only for the loss but for the lack of family support.  Although I am not a mom, I could still understand her sense of loss, but what I came out with more than anything was how much family support can help you get through anything.  This book made me think about both my immediate family, my in-laws and my extended family and if something tragic where to happen I know that each and every one of them would RUN to come help put me and my husband back on our feet.  
LG_OConnor More than 1 year ago
Beautifully rendered memoir of a quintessential family struck by tragedy. From the first page, the story grips you and doesn’t let go. Steeped in family values and tradition, Kelly Kittel paints a lovely and textured landscape filled love and the lives of her young family set against the backdrop of their home in Oregon living in the midst of her husband’s controlling family, and her east coast roots in Rhode Island and Maine. We are quickly caught up in the cadence of Kelly’s life when tragedy strikes, and her youngest son Noah dies at the hand of her troubled and unrepentant 16-year old niece. Unspeakable grief consumes them as they look forward to a ray of hope ahead—the impending birth of their next child, Jonah. When tragedy strikes mercilessly a second time, this time at the hands of a negligent physician, rather than supporting Kelly and her family in a time when they need it most, the cruel divisiveness of her sister-in-law Cody drives Kelly’s extended family to unjustly turn against her. A unique and wonderful voice, Kelly carries us on her journey. Her children’s stories, both living and dead, are reflected through the lens of a mother’s love, taking us from the light into the darkest corners of loss and back again. Kelly and her family’s strength is inspirational beyond words as we share these tragedies as our own at Kelly’s side, at times wishing we could intervene on her behalf with the people who should have known remorse and compassion during this period of devastation grief. An undisputed must read!
bookchickdi More than 1 year ago
Kelly Kittel's book, Breathe, is subtitled A Memoir of Motherhood, Grief and Family Conflict, so you know before beginning it that you'd better have the tissues ready. Kelly always wanted to have a big family. She and her husband Andy have three young children, Hannah, Christiana and Micah, when she happily discovers that she is pregnant with their fourth child. They rent a home from Andy's older sister Cody and her husband, who live across the street from them. Andy is the youngest of eight children, and his siblings and parents are never shy about telling Andy and Kelly how to live their lives. They are particularly adamant in telling Andy that four children are enough and encourage him to get a vasectomy, even if he has to go behind Kelly's back to do it. Kelly's East Coast, Mayflower ancestor family is very different from Andy's raucous, emotional family, and anyone who is married may understand how difficult it can be learning to get along with people so dissimilar from your own family. Baby Noah is born, and all is well. Kelly and Andy are happy with their family, though Cody's constant need to control everyone around her is grating on Kelly. Cody's teenage daughters' disrespectful attitude towards them is also a problem. While attending a family reunion at Andy's parents, Cody's daughter Cally accidentally runs over 15 month-old Noah and he has a traumatic brain injury. He is helicoptered to a nearby hospital, but when Andy and Kelly arrive, they are told that Noah was being kept alive with machines only long enough for them to say goodbye. Noah's death devastates the family. Kelly and Andy wait for an apology from Cally, but it never comes.   They try to get Cally and Cody to come with them to counseling to try and get through it, but Cody refuses. Kelly asks Cody to please sell the Tahoe that ran over her son because it pains her to see it sitting in the driveway across the street, but Cody refuses. Kelly finds herself pregnant again and hopes that new life with bring the family some joy. While her first four pregnancies were uneventful, she has problems with her blood pressure this time and has to see a specialist. Kelly chose a women's practice that has many midwives on staff, and she seems to see a different one every time. Her blood pressure is frequently measured, and she sees the doctor or midwife at least once a week, and even every day near the end when she is put on bed rest. There comes a time when Kelly is at the hospital and has to decide whether to induce labor or wait a little longer to allow the baby's lungs to grow more mature. She is not given all the information she needs and decides to wait. That decision cost her baby Jonah his life. Kelly has a placental abruption and Jonah dies in utero. Kelly and Andy have to tell their young children that they have once again lost a brother, and this second death in nine months is almost more than they can take. Andy's family seems to want to blame Kelly for Jonah and Noah's deaths. They treat her horribly, and eventually Kelly convinces Andy to move away from his family in Oregon across the country to Rhode Island where her family lives. Kelly becomes pregnant again, and is shocked when her new doctor reviews her previous medical history and tells her that Jonah never should have died. Her doctors and the hospital were negligent. Kelly and Andy decide to sue the doctor. This decision causes a permanent rift in Andy's family, with his sisters siding with the negligent doctor.  This floors Andy and Kelly. The courtroom scenes are as riveting as any John Grisham novel, but all this is true. Cody actually testifies for the defense, and it is so hard to believe that anyone could do that to their own flesh and blood. Her behavior is appalling. Cody's daughters, including Cally, sit daily in the courtroom, taunting Andy and Kelly with their smirks and looks and reporting back to Cody what was happening in the courtroom. Kelly suffers many more miscarriages, and I don't know where she has the faith to keep trying. I could never do that. Reading Breathe I was struck by Andy and Kelly's strength, by what loving, wonderful parents they are to their children and how deeply committed they are to their family. The fact that they were abandoned by Andy's family makes that hurt so much more. I took away a few important things from Kelly's book; one is the importance of doing your research when it comes to choosing doctors and understanding your medical options. You cannot rely only on what your doctor tells you. The other is that if you are in a toxic relationship, no matter who it is with, you must get out of it. You cannot change other people, you can only change your reaction. Don't let unhappy people take you down with them. Breathe is such an incredible story, if you told me it was fiction I would say you had quite an imagination. The fact that this is all true makes it all the more remarkable. That Kelly Kittel lived through it is amazing, the fact that she lived it all over again writing a book about it is astonishing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago