Reflection Time

A thoughtful meditation on abortion and grief, waiting and time

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, just as the world went into lockdown, Meredith Greer realized she was pregnant but couldn’t keep the baby. The experience of waiting for, undergoing, and recovering from an abortion was isolated and isolating, encapsulated as it was in a larger, collective act of waiting.

Meredith Greer
Original title

In Reflection Time, Greer argues that terminating a pregnancy – an experience that is both very private and very public, given how controversial abortion is – and living through a pandemic can both be defined as ‘in-between times’ or ‘liminal zones.’ In such a liminal zone, the old normal has been left behind but we have yet to enter the new. Everything is in flux.

Liminality is usually associated with rituals, but when it comes to abortion, as well as the pandemic, Greer observes, we’re sorely lacking in rituals to help us process loss, mourning, or new beginnings. ‘Liminality’ she writes, ‘is a phase in which the rules do not apply. But you can’t make an exception for special circumstances if the rules have already been suspended until further notice.’

Weaving together personal experience with an examination of the function of silence and the silencing of women; the depiction of abortion in film, the history of the internet and its attendant dreams of connection through technology, Greer renders on the page the sensation of being in limbo. The result is a poetic, thoughtful and quietly political reminder that putting private and collective experiences of loss into words is a matter of power and of survival.

  • Essay on two difficult private and collective experiences: abortion and the Covid-19 pandemic

  • A poetic exploration of ‘liminality’ through personal recollection and close readings of film, literature, and media history

  • A stunning new voice in literary non-fiction

Year of publication

Page count

De Bezige Bij

Marijke Nagtegaal

Sample translation available

Meredith Greer writes about her pain, her anxieties, her doubts and her grief without becoming heavy-handed, or lapsing into navelgazing. Her writing is erudite without being pedantic, the cultural references stem mainly from her own curiosity, and she’s all too happy to take the reader along on her journey.

De Lage Landen

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Meredith Greer
Meredith Greer (b. 1988) is an American-Dutch journalist and writer. Her essays, op-eds and articles have appeared in several major Dutch newspapers and magazines, including 'Vrij Nederland' and 'de Volkskrant'. She is a public speaker and moderator. This is her first book.
Part ofNon-Fiction
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