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Night Sweats: An Unexpected Pregnancy

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Laura Crossett was thirty-five years old, one month into a relationship, and six months into a new job when she sat in a staff bathroom and looked at a stick that told her something she already suspected.

Almost half the pregnancies that occur in the United States each year are unplanned. Some of them happen to married women, some to unmarried; some occur due to failure to use contraception; some due to contraceptive failure. Some happen to women who hope one day to have children; some to women who never wanted children at all.

In a political climate that polarizes around issues of sexuality and choice and a popular culture that glamorizes pregnancy and fetishizes motherhood, we rarely hear the stories of women who did not seek to become pregnant. Night Sweats is one of them.

104 pages, Paperback

First published June 9, 2013

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About the author

Laura Crossett

2 books28 followers
Laura Crossett is a librarian and lives in her hometown of Iowa City, Iowa, after sojourns in Wyoming (which has her heart) and in Illinois and New York (where she got a couple of her degrees).

Night Sweats is her first (and, given the demands of work and motherhood, may be her only) book.

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5 stars
17 (26%)
4 stars
22 (33%)
3 stars
21 (32%)
2 stars
4 (6%)
1 star
1 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 24 of 24 reviews
Profile Image for Rochelle Hartman.
19 reviews7 followers
October 25, 2013
First, I should mention that the author of this book, Laura Crossett, is a longtime librarian friend. Having said that, I have lots of friends who publish, and have never felt as compelled to review or share their work with the larger world. At the age of 35, Crossett, who had just moved back to her hometown of Iowa City, was six months into a new job, one month into a new relationship, and found herself staring at a positive pregnancy test in her workplace bathroom. This wasn't supposed to happen. She had what she thought was a foolproof birth control method. She had never planned on having children. Like half of all other pregancies, Crossett found herself considering her options for an unplanned pregnancy.

The Bible is full of women who become accidentally pregnant. Lacking sticks to pee on, they instead have angels to deliver the frightening news. Well. The angels are frightening. In most cases, the news is welcome, since the women are frequently old and considered barren. The exception is Mary, who if not frightened, is at least initially startled, being as how she's a virgin and all. That fades, though, fairly quickly, and next thing you know she's busting out with the Magnificant.

This is a deeply intimate and often funny book, written from the perspective of an ardent pro-choice advocate and a sincere practitioner of Christianity. The book is written journal-style, as that's what it is. It is conversational, wry, questioning, and ultimately, a lovely and loving documentation of an unexpected journey.

Profile Image for Saloma Furlong.
Author 5 books63 followers
June 15, 2014
Last night I was baking for a church function and was waiting for bread to come out of the oven. I picked up a copy of "Night Sweats" thinking that I would get a sense of what it's about... maybe read a few pages, then go to bed. At least that's what I thought I was doing. Several hours after the bread was out, cooled, and wrapped, I finally closed the book to go to sleep. It was 2 AM, and I had read the book to the very last page.

For full disclosure, I will tell you how I came by the book. The author had hosted a book talk with me at the library where she works. At the end of the night, she handed me a copy of her book and said she wanted me to have it. She did not make any requests that I write a review -- she just gave it to me. But I know how much I appreciate receiving reviews on my own books, and I decided this was the least I could do.

Crossett's writing is so engaging. I tried to analyze what makes it so, but I got so caught up in the content and the story that I couldn't put my finger on what makes it so immediate and compelling.

One of the things I love about this book is the titles Crossett gives to each of the vignettes. My favorite is the one titled "The Christians vs. the Greeks." In this particular piece, she waxes philosophical in debating the merits of Greek tragedy versus the more comforting tropes of Christianity. She concludes with, "I've always liked tragedy as a more accurate representation of life than anything else. I still think that a lot of the time, but I also think possibly there is a point to believing in redemption."

How deep and thought-provoking is that? I hope she continues to write... I know I will read it. And this time she doesn't need to give me the book. I will happily buy it.
Profile Image for Barry Wynn.
34 reviews4 followers
April 23, 2014
I find few books as engrossing as this one. Hooked me from the first paragraph. You don't have to have carried a child to term to understand fear, trepidation, joy, loss, excitement, bliss, love; all of which are expressed so vividly in "Night Sweats".
Like quite a few commenters, I "know" Laura from online. If we ever meet in "meatspace" I hope she can spare an hour or twelve to allow me to review with her the many passages I highlighted. This book resonated on so many levels.
21 reviews3 followers
June 12, 2013
Absolutely an enjoyable tale. Laura's voice is lovely in this. I definitely laughed out loud a couple of times, and just may have teared up once too. I've been looking forward to Laura's story, and I'm glad it's here.

Because the link isn't listed here, this is available here and at Amazon for those who'd like to read it.
Profile Image for Laura.
116 reviews6 followers
September 24, 2013
I know Laura online, but I would have enjoyed her book even if I didn't have that connection. Her voice is one I could hear speaking out as I read her story. She made me laugh out loud as I shared her story with Mr. B, and I got a little choked up, too. This is worth a read regardless of whether you have kids; Laura's honest, open tale is worthy of sharing.
Profile Image for passeriform.
334 reviews
April 26, 2020
This book captures the texture, messiness, ugliness, beauty, and--for word people and idea people like me--thinkiness of the pregnancy experience. Despite the fact that my own pregnancies were both very much planned, this story resonates with me far more than most pregnancy accounts do. In fact, it's now one of my favorite pregnancy/parenting memoirs: I'm delighted to have stumbled upon it!
Profile Image for Lacey Louwagie.
Author 7 books60 followers
July 29, 2014
This book started as a blog for friends about a professional single woman's unplanned pregnancy (REALLY unplanned, as in the IUD failed, which is really rare.) It still reads like a blog, but since I'm into published journals, that was okay with me, especially since I probably never would have spent the time sitting in front of a computer to read Laura's whole saga (I use the word lightly, it's not a very long book), and I'm glad that I did.

I related to Laura -- she is a librarian who lived alone (with a cat, who died over the course of the book -- wish she had written more about that) with liberal politics and a tendency to write to make sense of her life's biggest transition. I think that I would have been a lot like her if I ended up pregnant and unmarried, and (not to pat myself on the back too much), even though the pregnancy totally freaks her out (understandably), there's still a sense of calm that somehow permeates her entries, and I get the feeling that she has a good head on her shoulders and that she is going to be just fine.

The book is professionally designed, well-edited (only noticed one or two errors), compelling and smart. I wish the author had done a little more to bring outsiders into her story -- I could not keep characters straight because they were all referred to by letters; I appreciate Laura's respect for anonymity, but I would have preferred that she use false names because names are easier to attach people to than letters. The narrative arc worked well enough, although I wish it had been more balanced -- tons of entries early in the pregnancy, then a whole trimester without any entries. I found myself wondering if I would have liked this better as a memoir than as a journal, and I'm not sure. Still, it is a high-quality self-published book, and one I would recommend to people who appreciate the intimacy and/or voyeuristic pleasure of published journals or stories about pregnancy, especially unplanned.
Profile Image for Mike.
165 reviews15 followers
December 22, 2014
I read this because Will Manley, a columnist for Booklist, recommended it as an "involving, even suspensful, personal narrative" by a woman who becomes (as you can guess from the title) pregnant when she didn't expect to. Oh, and I also read it because a) it was written by a librarian and b) it's not even a hundred pages.

Taken from blog entries from her New Rambler blog, Laura Crossett's exploration of her thoughts and feelings over the course of is something that should give anyone insight. It is very intimate and unflinching look at what a woman thinks when she experiences an unplanned pregnancy. I mean, at least I would think Crossett's not the only one who would think this way. And the book certainly addresses abortion, as Crossett is pro-choice and thinks about terminating the pregnancy. Some even encourage her to do so.

Once this dilemma is resolved (and it's not really a spoiler to say she has the baby, as the author description on the back said she lives in Iowa with her son, but I'll put spoiler alert here anyway) the book becomes the thoughts of how Crossett will deal with being a single mother at the age of 35 with the father kinda involved. Like Manley, I found the beginning suspenseful, even fascinating. My fascination waned with the rest of the book, though it remained interesting. This isn't the kind of thing I usually read so it's good to learn the inner thoughts of someone different from me on a topic that's universal and can be experienced by most anyone. (Well, at least half of us directly and the other half indirectly.)

Even though I only gave it two stars, I wouldn't say don't read it. Remember, two stars means it's OK. And the insight and suspense from the beginning makes it worth it. I'll admit, I skimmed the last 40 pages or so, but still think I got a good look at something I don't usually look at.
Profile Image for Robin.
1,519 reviews41 followers
May 9, 2014
In this short and easy book, Crossett chronicles the months between learning she is pregnant and the birth of her son. Originally written as a private blog for a circle of friends, this is a small slice of one person's experience. As the entries unfold, the reader gets to know Crossett a little -- and like her.

Not seeking to get pregnant and an advocate of reproductive choice, Crossett takes time to decide whether to become a parent. The Prologue of this book is smart and thoughtful -- She is religious and well-read and interesting. As a nosy reader (and as a thoughtful pro-choice feminist and parent), I wish she had included much more of her thought process that led her to choose to have this child when she previously had not intended to have children.

Crossett is purposely vague about her relationship with 'the baby's father.' They have known each other a long time (12 years), she has loved him, but you can piece together that his heart was elsewhere -- multiple children with multiple other women during those 12 years and now, one with her. I cannot understand why such a smart (2 master's degrees) and talented woman with a real career, close family ties, and reliable circle of friends, who is also pretty, would pine for a guy who, though he helps with her car and lawn, clearly is not devoted to her. Of course, it's none of my business (but she did invite us readers in).
Profile Image for Jeff Duffey.
Author 2 books
August 13, 2015
This diary is the story of how Ms. Crossett’s experiences and faith gave her the confidence to embrace motherhood. It chronicles her daily struggles with her pregnancy’s uncertainties and her uncontrollable future. As she realized she had already done it for herself, she came to believe she could help her son weave a tapestry rich in goodness from the diverse people in their lives.
Her diary shows her without make-up—unpretentious, funny, and palpably real. James Finley once said that we are never so helpless as we are helpless to escape God’s love of us just the way we are, in our brokenness. Ms. Crossett understands this kind of love, because that is how she loves her dad and her son’s dad. She understands God’s grace applies to her as well. That understanding was part of why she felt peace with proceeding with her pregnancy and motherhood. Her diary is an intimate articulate account of her physical, emotional, and spiritual journey.
An intimate, articulate account of the physical, emotional, and spiritual journey of her pregnancy
88 reviews
August 27, 2016
Came across this unusual book in a column in Booklist, a library journal that I read for work, and managed to get it from one of four libraries in Illinois that carries it. It's under 100 pages, based on the author's blog, about discovering that she had become accidentally pregnant -- just after she broke up with the baby's father. Author is clearly a liberal, also a Catholic ... and I was looking for a more complex exploration of her decision to keep the baby although she was unmarried, not in a committed relationship, had just started a new job, and was about to buy a new home. Not that those would be reasons for not going through with a pregnancy, but I was still looking for something more insightful. Self published.
Profile Image for Galadriel.
22 reviews
June 23, 2013
As a reader of Laura Crossett's writing on her blog, The New Rambler , I was excited to read an entire book of her raw honesty and intelligent wit -- eager enough that I downloaded the e-book instead of purchasing a preferred print copy so that I could circumvent shipping time.

In Night Sweats, Crossett's portrayal of her pregnancy is deeply intimate and thus does what good writing should do: shows the reader one unfolding of a very human experience.
Profile Image for Janet.
204 reviews
August 25, 2013
A quick, interesting read. The author wrote from more of a Christian-perspective than I expected. (Not a bad thing--just a little surprising). The use of a single initial or someone's age (E.g., Mr. 2.5) instead of names was annoying. In essence, this was the author's pregnancy journal and not the typical one since this pregnancy was in no way sought after. Glad I read it and would recommend it to anyone who wants a realistic look at one person's experience with the ambivalent emotions of pregnancy.
Profile Image for Molly Ewing.
45 reviews1 follower
March 8, 2014
Honest. Series of blog posts and emails sent throughout one single woman's journey through her pregnancy. Spiritual, political, emotional, always deeply personal. The author writes like a typical Iowa MFA, and has created an interesting hybrid text that may have also functioned as therapy, both in the writing and then compilation of bits into a cohesive narrative. A fast read, but also worth lingering over. And yay for Creative Commons licensing!
Profile Image for Erik Therme.
Author 8 books527 followers
August 6, 2016
Laura Crossett’s Night Sweats immediately drew me in with clever writing and dry-witted humor. It has to be incredibly difficult to open your life to anyone who has the ability to order a book, but she’s done just that, inviting us along on her spiritual—and often confessional—journey of what it takes to accept the burden/joy of a child. Night Sweats is a joyous, candid account of life, love, and cats, and I look forward to reading more from Laura.
Profile Image for Elise Nelson.
1 review2 followers
August 21, 2013
A very enjoyable read. It was a treat to get to know my college friend's background and philosophies in more depth. This book made me ponder my own spirituality. I particularly enjoyed the bible references and how Laura applied them to her own situation.
Profile Image for H.R..
Author 7 books19 followers
September 8, 2013
One of my coworkers told me about this book. It's interesting to read things like this because it doesn't seem that there are that many books like it out there. An interesting read.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
405 reviews
October 19, 2013
I know Laura Crossett through the interwebs, and it's fun to read a book by an e-buddy!! I appreciate the difficulty of Laura's situation and her bravery at writing about it.
Profile Image for Jan.
520 reviews7 followers
August 23, 2015
I enjoyed this personal memoir, especially since the author is an academic librarian.
Displaying 1 - 24 of 24 reviews

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