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May Cause Love

Cover of May Cause Love

May Cause Love

An Unexpected Journey of Enlightenment After Abortion

In this powerful memoir, a fiercely honest and surprisingly funny testament to healing after abortion, a young woman travels across the United States to meet a motley crew of spiritual teachers and a caravan of new friends.

At age nineteen, Kassi Underwood discovered she was pregnant. Broke, unwed, struggling with alcohol, and living a thousand miles away from home, she checked into an abortion clinic.

While her abortion sparked her "feminist awakening," she also felt lost and lawless, drinking to oblivion and talking about her pregnancy with her parents, her friends, strangers-anyone.

Three years later, just when she had settled into a sober life at her dream job, the ex-boyfriend with whom she had become pregnant had a baby with someone else. She shattered. In the depths of a blinding depression, Kassi refused to believe that she would "never get over" her abortion. Inspired by rebellious women in history who used spiritual practices to attain emotional freedom, Kassi embarked on a journey of recovery after abortion-a road trip with pit stops at a Buddhist "water baby" ritual, where she learns a new way to think about lost pregnancies; a Roman Catholic retreat for abortion that turns out to be staffed with clinic picketers; a crash course in grief from a Planned Parenthood counselor; a night in a motel with a "Midwife for the Soul" who teaches her how to take up space; and a Jewish "wild woman" celebration led by a wise and zany rabbi.

Dazzling with warmth and leavened by humor, May Cause Love captures one woman's journey of self-discovery that enraged her, changed her, and ultimately enlightened her.

In this powerful memoir, a fiercely honest and surprisingly funny testament to healing after abortion, a young woman travels across the United States to meet a motley crew of spiritual teachers and a caravan of new friends.

At age nineteen, Kassi Underwood discovered she was pregnant. Broke, unwed, struggling with alcohol, and living a thousand miles away from home, she checked into an abortion clinic.

While her abortion sparked her "feminist awakening," she also felt lost and lawless, drinking to oblivion and talking about her pregnancy with her parents, her friends, strangers-anyone.

Three years later, just when she had settled into a sober life at her dream job, the ex-boyfriend with whom she had become pregnant had a baby with someone else. She shattered. In the depths of a blinding depression, Kassi refused to believe that she would "never get over" her abortion. Inspired by rebellious women in history who used spiritual practices to attain emotional freedom, Kassi embarked on a journey of recovery after abortion-a road trip with pit stops at a Buddhist "water baby" ritual, where she learns a new way to think about lost pregnancies; a Roman Catholic retreat for abortion that turns out to be staffed with clinic picketers; a crash course in grief from a Planned Parenthood counselor; a night in a motel with a "Midwife for the Soul" who teaches her how to take up space; and a Jewish "wild woman" celebration led by a wise and zany rabbi.

Dazzling with warmth and leavened by humor, May Cause Love captures one woman's journey of self-discovery that enraged her, changed her, and ultimately enlightened her.

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About the Author-
  • Kassi Underwood grew up in Lexington, Kentucky. Her work has been published in the New York Times, The Atlantic online, The Rumpus, and Refinery29. She holds an MFA in literary nonfiction from Columbia University, where she taught on the faculty of the Undergraduate Writing Program. She has been a guest on MSNBC and HuffPost Live, and a speaker at colleges, comedy shows, and faith communities nationwide. Kassi lectures about personal transformation, social justice, and the spirituality of abortion. She is a student at Harvard Divinity School and cohost of the podcast Spiritually Blonde.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 12, 2016
    In this brave and unsparing memoir, Underwood, a writer and lecturer, tells of getting pregnant at 19 with her drug addict quasi-boyfriend and choosing to have an abortion. She struggled for years afterward to come to terms with the consuming sense of loss she experienced as she repeatedly failed to find a support network. When her ex-boyfriend emails her on the third anniversary of the abortion—to tell her his new partner is pregnant with a girl they’re naming Jade, which is what he and Underwood would have called their child—she truly starts to unravel, tormented by her unresolved grief and memories of the procedure. Six years after her abortion, she’s finally ready to begin the healing. Underwood tries various methods to help herself, including attending a Roman Catholic retreat run by staunch pro-lifers, taking a vow of silence in the woods while quitting Zoloft cold turkey, meditation, and a Buddhist “water baby” ritual. Underwood travels through uncharted and harrowing waters at times; her story, though painful, is moving and heartfelt. She eventually creates her own “road to recovery,” and by mapping that road she hopes to provide a voice for women and men suffering in silence.

  • Sarah Hepola, New York Times bestselling author of Blackout "I'm so glad this book exists. Rarely do we get to see a woman wrestling so honestly and openly with the complicated nature of what it means to have a choice."
  • Melissa Febos, author of Whip Smart and Abandon Me "Profoundly compelling and necessary. While reading May Cause Love, I found myself continually shocked that such a book has not already been written, that this experience shared by so many women in this country is not already available....I can't imagine a more honest and thoughtful treatment of this subject."
  • Susan Shapiro, New York Times bestselling author of Unhooked and Five Men Who Broke My Heart "Hip, hilarious, and poignant-as well as politically astute."
  • Leah Vincent, author of Cut Me Loose "An instant classic for a new generation of feminists. With wisdom, compassion, and clarity, May Cause Love is a blazing arc of hope that points us to deeper questions about abortion and God-and more than a few radiant answers."
  • Kirkus Reviews "A poignant memoir...The author shines a personal light on the dilemma that women face when they have to juggle their own needs and desires with a biological accident that has the power to completely change their lives, whether they birth the child or not."
  • Publishers Weekly "In this brave and unsparing memoir . . . Underwood travels through uncharted and harrowing waters at times; her story, though painful, is moving and heartfelt. She eventually creates her own "road to recovery," and by mapping that road hopes to provide a voice for women and men suffering in silence"
  • Anna Jedrziewski, Retailing Insight "Underwood is a master storyteller. Her voice is clear and honest. Her words are hopeful, realistic, heartfelt and at times gut-wrenching. She speaks from the top of the mountain, after having made the journey to the center of the earth."
  • Booklist, starred review "Full of rich emotion and excellent storytelling, Underwood's memoir of strength and healing reads almost like fiction . . . This will be an excellent resource for anyone struggling with an abortion or miscarriage, or for readers seeking to better understand those who have done so."
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May Cause Love
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An Unexpected Journey of Enlightenment After Abortion
Kassi Underwood
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