Rooms for Loss: Literature and Healing at Home


  • Lindsey Nicole Moser Indiana University of Pennsylvania



pregnancy, Covid-19, home


In March 2020, I received an email instructing me not to come back to campus to continue my coursework in person. My husband and I had recently bought a 1900 American Foursquare HUD house to restore, exploring our own spatial dimensions as renovators and first-time homeowners of a broken, rundown home we yearned to bring back to life. The interiority of the monastic experience that I loved to read about and research suddenly mirrored my own experience of being a PhD student during a pandemic.
Silva Martinez-Falquina uses the term “literary activism” to telegraph how literature has the ability to move people to action. She applies this concept to Louise Erdrich’s 2017 dystopian novel Future Home of the Living God, which is as much about home and belonging as about social fear, oppression, and reproductive rights. Reading about Cedar Hawk Songmaker’s decision to house her baby as the conservative government collects pregnant people for experimentation as my own growing baby kicked the novel’s hard cover from its resting place on my stomach, I circled back to the spatial dimensions of grief and loss, mourning the loss of my own “normal” pregnancy and birth experience. This article is as much an exploration of trauma and literature as a healing mechanism as it is a memoir of my own understanding of home and its iterations during 2020’s incalculable transformations.