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Spirit Baby: Travels Through China on the Long Road to Motherhood

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“There’s an ancient Chinese belief that women possess two hearts; an upper heart associated with the standard Western heart, and a lower heart tied to the uterus. They say that women hold dreams of infants, lost children, and babies never-meant-to-be in their upper hearts, while babies destined to be born travel to their mother’s lower heart. “With my lower heart as empty a “There’s an ancient Chinese belief that women possess two hearts; an upper heart associated with the standard Western heart, and a lower heart tied to the uterus. They say that women hold dreams of infants, lost children, and babies never-meant-to-be in their upper hearts, while babies destined to be born travel to their mother’s lower heart. “With my lower heart as empty as ever, and my upper heart full of lost babies and broken dreams, my husband and I planned an escape to China.” When Americans Nina and Chris Little step off the plane onto Chinese soil, they are a couple in crisis. Fleeing the heartbreak of yet another miscarriage, the anguish of failed fertility treatments, and the silence of their childless home, they arrive in Beijing just in time for the spring sand storms. During their travels, Nina discovers unexpected wonder in her world. Will she find the same in herself, her marriage, and her future? Part memoir, part travelogue, Spirit Baby weaves together themes of longing, loss, and learning how to live again, while celebrating the healing benefits of travel. But more than anything, Spirit Baby is about the power of love—the love between a man and a woman, and the love of a woman for her children, unborn and born. 


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“There’s an ancient Chinese belief that women possess two hearts; an upper heart associated with the standard Western heart, and a lower heart tied to the uterus. They say that women hold dreams of infants, lost children, and babies never-meant-to-be in their upper hearts, while babies destined to be born travel to their mother’s lower heart. “With my lower heart as empty a “There’s an ancient Chinese belief that women possess two hearts; an upper heart associated with the standard Western heart, and a lower heart tied to the uterus. They say that women hold dreams of infants, lost children, and babies never-meant-to-be in their upper hearts, while babies destined to be born travel to their mother’s lower heart. “With my lower heart as empty as ever, and my upper heart full of lost babies and broken dreams, my husband and I planned an escape to China.” When Americans Nina and Chris Little step off the plane onto Chinese soil, they are a couple in crisis. Fleeing the heartbreak of yet another miscarriage, the anguish of failed fertility treatments, and the silence of their childless home, they arrive in Beijing just in time for the spring sand storms. During their travels, Nina discovers unexpected wonder in her world. Will she find the same in herself, her marriage, and her future? Part memoir, part travelogue, Spirit Baby weaves together themes of longing, loss, and learning how to live again, while celebrating the healing benefits of travel. But more than anything, Spirit Baby is about the power of love—the love between a man and a woman, and the love of a woman for her children, unborn and born. 

30 review for Spirit Baby: Travels Through China on the Long Road to Motherhood

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    I loved this book, “ Spirit Baby: Travels Through China on the Long Road to Motherhood”, about Nina Neilson Little’s memoir through her not so simple journey to becoming a mother. Nothing truly is ever simple and it is in those moments of self-reflection that we learn to focus on the positives and learn about ourselves no matter where we are in life’s journey. This book really resonated with me and how traveling lifts my spirits and renews my passion and resolve. Nina Nielson Little is also a ne I loved this book, “ Spirit Baby: Travels Through China on the Long Road to Motherhood”, about Nina Neilson Little’s memoir through her not so simple journey to becoming a mother. Nothing truly is ever simple and it is in those moments of self-reflection that we learn to focus on the positives and learn about ourselves no matter where we are in life’s journey. This book really resonated with me and how traveling lifts my spirits and renews my passion and resolve. Nina Nielson Little is also a newspaper reporter, a magazine editor, a children’s author, a novelist, and an official travel ambassador for the China Highlights Tour Agency. This book will make you want to travel to China. Not only did Little cover the highlights of the best places to visit, to eat, and to explore, but also goes through the historical aspects and local traditions about the people in those regions. This memoir and travel journal read beautifully while also addressing the overall themes of her difficulties in becoming a mother, her experiences in loss, feelings of depression and hopelessness, her ability to heal, and finally the acceptance to what is to be with a lovely ending. The overall feel of the book is quite positive and at times very funny but presented in a very realistic manner. None of the fluffs but accurate information from the eyes of an American couple visiting a foreign country and trying to have a family. I highly recommend this read for a heart warming and loving memoir and a beautiful perspective in finding yourself again after suffering a loss. This is an inspirational read that I finished in one sitting and learned a lot about China, its culture, how to deal with disappointments, and how to uplift yourself in your own journey, whether its motherhood or something else, there is something here for everyone.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Monica Devine

    Rapt from page 1, Nina takes us on a dizzying ride through the streets of ancient Chinese cities buzzing with shops, vendors, bicycles, traffic and hordes of people. Coming from a childhood of opposites, a wealthy father and hippie mother, her broken home did not stop her from finding the peace, happiness and family success she so yearned for. Chinese traditions, like placing red baby slippers under your pillow to conceive a girl, or placing nuts under your pillow to conceive a boy, Nina does no Rapt from page 1, Nina takes us on a dizzying ride through the streets of ancient Chinese cities buzzing with shops, vendors, bicycles, traffic and hordes of people. Coming from a childhood of opposites, a wealthy father and hippie mother, her broken home did not stop her from finding the peace, happiness and family success she so yearned for. Chinese traditions, like placing red baby slippers under your pillow to conceive a girl, or placing nuts under your pillow to conceive a boy, Nina does not spare us the traditions, beliefs, and superstitions of the Chinese people. In this book we learn of Chinese culture: its ancient history, politics, religion, mythology, exotic foods and silk factories, its riverine geography that links cities, its feng shui, architectural design, numerology, and so much more. I could not put this book down because on every page I learned something new about this fascinating country. Interspersed with rich descriptions of culture, Nina outlines her struggle to conceive and describes how she ultimately used travel as an antidote to her numbing fertility journey, which lifted her out of depression and gave her hope. No spoilers here so I shall say no more, except this: Read Spirit Baby. The ending is a surprise: a solid, heartfelt, beautiful surprise you won't soon forget.

  3. 4 out of 5

    JuliaC82

    Great book with a compelling story...hopeful story and a little bit of a tearjerker at times.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    Spirit Baby takes us on Nina & her husband Chris's journey through China after the heartbreak of failed fertility treatments and the ache of a childless home. Wow! What a truly emotional yet inspiring read. Part travelogue - Part Memoir, I haven't read anything quite like this before. Though the story's main focus is based on Nina's struggle with infertility and her journey towards motherhood, it was also very much like sitting in class during a history lesson. The events were fascinating and I Spirit Baby takes us on Nina & her husband Chris's journey through China after the heartbreak of failed fertility treatments and the ache of a childless home. Wow! What a truly emotional yet inspiring read. Part travelogue - Part Memoir, I haven't read anything quite like this before. Though the story's main focus is based on Nina's struggle with infertility and her journey towards motherhood, it was also very much like sitting in class during a history lesson. The events were fascinating and I definitely learned a lot about Chinese culture. I especially enjoyed looking at all of Nina's pictures afterwards on her website. It was neat to see many of the locations and events I had read about. A really special touch! Spirit Baby is well written with a beautiful outcome. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us Nina. Thank you to Kate Rock Book Tours for this reading opportunity.

  5. 5 out of 5

    James Frederick

    My wife and I both loved this book. We too struggled to have children and it was reaffirming to see so many parallels between Nina's story and our own. My wife and I both loved this book. We too struggled to have children and it was reaffirming to see so many parallels between Nina's story and our own.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Laura Engel

    I loved this book, Spirit Baby by Nina Neilson Little... It not only took me on an amazing journey through Nina's hardships and joys of growing up but also on a journey through China. I knew so little about China and found myself fascinated as Nina takes the reader along with her and her husband to learn about the major cities, the customs, the legends and the Chinese culture. All the while the reader is learning about the trials of infertility and the desperate lengths that women hoping to beco I loved this book, Spirit Baby by Nina Neilson Little... It not only took me on an amazing journey through Nina's hardships and joys of growing up but also on a journey through China. I knew so little about China and found myself fascinated as Nina takes the reader along with her and her husband to learn about the major cities, the customs, the legends and the Chinese culture. All the while the reader is learning about the trials of infertility and the desperate lengths that women hoping to become Mothers go through. My heart went out to Nina during her desperate times and I cheered for her during her growth and renewed love for life as a result of her trip through China. Nina writes in such a way you feel as if a friend is sitting with you telling you her story, which in my opinion is the best kind of storytelling. I loved the ending and I closed the book at the end with joy in my heart.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth (Donnamartinreads)

    Wow. First of all, thank you so much to @katerocklitchick and @ninalittlebooks for including me on this tour and for my copy of this amazing book. Spirit Baby is part memoir, part travel diary, and all heart. Nina and Chris arrive in China in crisis. They are fleeing the heartbreak of failed fertility treatments, the loss of broken dreams, and a house empty of the children they so desperately want. They come to find their baby, but they leave with so much more than they anticipated. I have goosebu Wow. First of all, thank you so much to @katerocklitchick and @ninalittlebooks for including me on this tour and for my copy of this amazing book. Spirit Baby is part memoir, part travel diary, and all heart. Nina and Chris arrive in China in crisis. They are fleeing the heartbreak of failed fertility treatments, the loss of broken dreams, and a house empty of the children they so desperately want. They come to find their baby, but they leave with so much more than they anticipated. I have goosebumps writing this. I’ve not read something this touching in ages. Perhaps because their story hits very close to home. I’ve struggled with fertility issues, miscarriage, and am still on the long journey to motherhood. This book was exactly what I needed to read right now, and I am so thankful for the opportunity. Spirit Baby is available now and I highly recommend it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    Spirit Baby: Travels Through China on the Long Road to Motherhood By Nina Neilson Little Reading Spirit Baby by Nina Little has been a beautiful and unique experience. Her feelings she expressed; funny, sad and everything in between; has provided a fascinating perspective of this path in life for so many people. What Is medically diagnosed as infertility is so often held emotionally deep within. Patients going to reproductive endocrinology centers rarely feel comfortable sharing their feelings with Spirit Baby: Travels Through China on the Long Road to Motherhood By Nina Neilson Little Reading Spirit Baby by Nina Little has been a beautiful and unique experience. Her feelings she expressed; funny, sad and everything in between; has provided a fascinating perspective of this path in life for so many people. What Is medically diagnosed as infertility is so often held emotionally deep within. Patients going to reproductive endocrinology centers rarely feel comfortable sharing their feelings with others in the waiting room. Nina has brought her incredible experience into the open in this journal. It will resonate with so many women and men who desire reassurance for their own struggle with creating a family, which is so often felt as something only happening to them. I was impressed with the fantastic research done on so many levels of the Chinese culture they experienced, always with the true purpose of the trip shared with the reader: Fertility. The incredibly emotional trip to China, which allowed Nina and Chris Little to explore such amazing possibilities when things had gotten so dark, is the truest gift they could have given each other. By fully revealing the essence of the path to parenthood, this book is a true gift to the world. ~Deborah Harris Skelton

  9. 4 out of 5

    Debra Slonek

    Reading this beautifully written book, I was invited to be part of a very real, vulnerable and intimate journey with the author and her husband. They navigated through the difficulties and multiple heartbreaks of infertility and also chose to take a once-in-a-lifetime trip to China. Infertility treatments had worn them out and emptied them. As they traveled through China and gave in to the awe and wonder of the rich history and breathtaking beauty which surrounded them, a healing balm began sooth Reading this beautifully written book, I was invited to be part of a very real, vulnerable and intimate journey with the author and her husband. They navigated through the difficulties and multiple heartbreaks of infertility and also chose to take a once-in-a-lifetime trip to China. Infertility treatments had worn them out and emptied them. As they traveled through China and gave in to the awe and wonder of the rich history and breathtaking beauty which surrounded them, a healing balm began soothing their pain and joy reappeared in their lives. The descriptive writing took me on a fascinating and informative tour through China. This journey of healing told a story of hope, restoration and of joy returning. I so loved the ending! I highly recommend this memoir of a very special journey.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mandie (allbookedout_with_mj)

    Thank you Nina Little @ninalittlebooks for sending me a copy of this book from across the other side of the world and for sharing this intimate part of your life through your story. 🐲 I devoured this book over a few weeks, a little bit at a time and the reason for this was because it was a memoir/travelogue and I really wanted to take in every little bit of it without rushing to get on to my next book. 🐘 Nina takes us on an emotional journey on her road to motherhood and through her heartbreaking ba Thank you Nina Little @ninalittlebooks for sending me a copy of this book from across the other side of the world and for sharing this intimate part of your life through your story. 🐲 I devoured this book over a few weeks, a little bit at a time and the reason for this was because it was a memoir/travelogue and I really wanted to take in every little bit of it without rushing to get on to my next book. 🐘 Nina takes us on an emotional journey on her road to motherhood and through her heartbreaking battle with infertility. The search to Nina and her husband Chris becoming parents takes us to China in the hopes of adopting a baby and to learn all about the Chinese culture in preparation to pass on cultural history and customs to their child all whilst learning to live again after so much loss and heartbreak. 🐲 Nina comprehensively takes us on a journey through China to the point where you feel like are right there with them. Nina provides so much insight to the culture and history of China and the detailed description of the scenery bringing it all to life. I loved reading about Nina’s spiritual journey of healing and bringing joy and hope back into her life. 🐘 I was absolutely thrilled with the unexpected ending of Nina’s story but I will not give any of that away. You have got to read this one for yourself to experience the whole journey with Nina and Chris. 🐲 A beautifully written memoir that will give hope to others experiencing unexplained infertility and to all readers in general.

  11. 5 out of 5

    abdulia ortiz-perez

    I received this free book from the publisher for honest review. 4 stars ⭐ ⭐⭐ ⭐ This is the first time reading from this author. What a beautiful wonderful amazing read. What a great read! This had me hooked from the beginning. The sitting, theme, and the Characters had me pulled so in. Everything was well put together and it was just perfect. This novel did just that to me. Highly recommend everybody get this book and read it. Its so good! Can't wait for next book. I received this free book from the publisher for honest review. 4 stars ⭐ ⭐⭐ ⭐ This is the first time reading from this author. What a beautiful wonderful amazing read. What a great read! This had me hooked from the beginning. The sitting, theme, and the Characters had me pulled so in. Everything was well put together and it was just perfect. This novel did just that to me. Highly recommend everybody get this book and read it. Its so good! Can't wait for next book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Litzsiereads

    Spirit Baby ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This memoir/ travelogue was so wonderfully written. It goes through themes of longing, loss, and learning how to live again due to infertility, while celebrating the healing benefits of travel through the awe inspiring country of China. Author @ninalittlebooks wrote so that you were right over her shoulder in her journey through China. It was very descriptive, well researched and definitely relatable. I feel as if I just traveled to China myself and experienced the busy street v Spirit Baby ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This memoir/ travelogue was so wonderfully written. It goes through themes of longing, loss, and learning how to live again due to infertility, while celebrating the healing benefits of travel through the awe inspiring country of China. Author @ninalittlebooks wrote so that you were right over her shoulder in her journey through China. It was very descriptive, well researched and definitely relatable. I feel as if I just traveled to China myself and experienced the busy street vendor streets, boat rides through West Lake, beautiful gardens like the Administrator's Garden and learned the many cultural traditions. At the same time feeling the empathy for her attempts at motherhood and burst of strong encouraging words. I was truly intrigued from beginning to end. I HAVE to recommend this to everyone because I don't think anyone can travel to a country and learn so much as Nina did and while going through struggles. Although she talks about her experience of infertility, her inspiring and encouraging words brings comfort for anyone with personal struggles like mental health, depression, anxiety, etc. I'm so grateful to have my Spirit Baby on my book shelf because I'll definitely be reading it again soon. I would buy in a heart beat another memoir/ travelogue from her other trips if she ever wrote one.

  13. 5 out of 5

    thereadingowlvina (Elvina Ulrich)

    Have you ever encountered one of those moments where the book found you just at the right time, when you didn't even know you needed it? Well, Spirit Baby was one of those moments I had. Not only this was my first giveaway win, it is also my first travelogue. I was surprised just how much I enjoyed reading a travelogue! This book brought me to many stunning and beautiful places in China - Beijing, Shanghai, Guongzhou, Guilin (most probably my favourite!) and a lot more! The atmospheric and descr Have you ever encountered one of those moments where the book found you just at the right time, when you didn't even know you needed it? Well, Spirit Baby was one of those moments I had. Not only this was my first giveaway win, it is also my first travelogue. I was surprised just how much I enjoyed reading a travelogue! This book brought me to many stunning and beautiful places in China - Beijing, Shanghai, Guongzhou, Guilin (most probably my favourite!) and a lot more! The atmospheric and descriptive writing is phenomenal, and I can't help but had to google those wonderful images! The food! Glorious and delectable food! Growing up in a Chinese family, I remembered just how much food my mom will cook, especially during Chinese New Year where each dish represents longevity, prosperity and luck! And Nina captured all this accurately in her travelogue! Spirit Baby also reminds me of my Chinese roots. I remembered the insane yearly preparations we had to do during Chinese New Year, Qing Ming and even the Ghost Month festivals, and I complained all the time! Everything has to be perfect, in fear of offending the gods or spirits! So, when I moved to Canada 8 years ago and married a Canadian, I am super thrilled that I do not have to go through that anymore! But I forgot that the most important thing were the behind-the-scenes fun time spent with my family! Nina reminds me of all those wonderful time through the stories and meanings of these festivals, and of how families in China will get together to celebrate these festivals! I also enjoyed all these strange and wonderful myths, legends and folklores she shares in her book! I think one of the most important thing I learnt from this book is how wonderful and precious motherhood is. After failed infertility treatments, Nina and her husband, Chris decided to adopt a baby from China, which brought them to China to learn everything about this beautiful country and its strange yet wonderful customs and traditions. Throughout this book, Nina shares her most intimate and honest feelings about the heartbreaks, disappointments and struggles on her path to motherhood. It broke my heart, got me teary-eyed and reminds me just how blessed I am to have my four boys. Spirit Baby is a heartwarming, honest and inspiring memoir of Nina's path to motherhood. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it impacted me in so many ways. It was a timely read - when I am homebound due to Covid-19 and I miss my family in Malaysia. It rekindles my love for my Chinese roots and reminds me of how wonderful motherhood is despite the struggles and trials - it is worth it! Nina is blessed with a boy/girl twins eventually. How did that happen? Go give this a read and it will surprise you!

  14. 5 out of 5

    BreeAnn (She Just Loves Books)

    What I Loved: What a beautifully written memoir! I was so drawn in as Nina told her story of her struggles with infertility and miscarriage. Written with such emotion, it was beautiful to read. How I Felt: Spirit Baby is a memoir about Nina Neilson Little’s path to motherhood, but it is also a travel memoir of her times in China. I was absolutely drawn in to the descriptions and stories of China. Having visited China twice, reading her book made me want to go back and visit all the places I didn’ What I Loved: What a beautifully written memoir! I was so drawn in as Nina told her story of her struggles with infertility and miscarriage. Written with such emotion, it was beautiful to read. How I Felt: Spirit Baby is a memoir about Nina Neilson Little’s path to motherhood, but it is also a travel memoir of her times in China. I was absolutely drawn in to the descriptions and stories of China. Having visited China twice, reading her book made me want to go back and visit all the places I didn’t get to! Her descriptions of China are amazing. She discusses ancient traditions, the history of locations she visits, eating habits and rituals, and so much more! I loved how the story was written in a way that connected her travel experiences with herself and fertility. She writes about her name, which I must admit, I was mispronouncing for months until I read this book (sorry about that Nina)! She tells the reader how she never enjoyed her name until, in China, she found all these traditions and beliefs that connected her to her name in a way she never had before. I love how she did this over and over in the book, giving life to these places and experiences. Nina’s journey through this story is one with sadness and loss, however, she writes with such positivity that the overall feel of this book is uplifting and wonderful. She discusses her sadness and loss, her depression, and her healing. This is truly a lovely book with a wonderful, heartwarming story. Content Warnings: This is a book about struggles with infertility and miscarriage. This could be a trigger for some people. To Read or Not To Read: I would recommend Spirit Baby to any reader that enjoys memoirs or stories of travel. The descriptions of China are wonderful and the story of her path to motherhood is so beautiful. What's This Book About Anyway? Nina and her husband Chris have struggle with infertility for years. They have decided to head to China for a chance to heal and adopt. Nina takes us with her on her visits through Chinese streets and historical places. She tells us about ancient traditions, sharing the ones that she chose to partake in. Her journey through this story speaks of loss and healing. It is a beautiful journey that readers will be so happy to have gone on. I received a copy of this book for free from a giveaway hosted by the author. I am leaving my honest review voluntarily. This review will post on my blog on Jan 12, 2020. All of my reviews can be found at: https://shejustlovesbooks.com/

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Bibliolau19

    Nina Neilson Little's memoir, Spirit Baby, allows readers to accompany Nina and her husband, Chris, on a month-long journey through China. Exhausted physically, emotionally, and mentally after several years of failed fertility treatments and attempts to conceive a baby, the couple has turned to the idea of international adoption as a way to expand their family, and with the hope of one day welcoming a Chinese baby girl into their family, Nina and Chris seek to not only learn about the traditions Nina Neilson Little's memoir, Spirit Baby, allows readers to accompany Nina and her husband, Chris, on a month-long journey through China. Exhausted physically, emotionally, and mentally after several years of failed fertility treatments and attempts to conceive a baby, the couple has turned to the idea of international adoption as a way to expand their family, and with the hope of one day welcoming a Chinese baby girl into their family, Nina and Chris seek to not only learn about the traditions, beliefs and culture of China, but also heal their hearts, minds, and souls as they travel from city to city. This was an incredibly inspiring and educational book. As a mother of two boys, I was blessed to have two relatively easy pregnancies. I have never experienced the heartbreak of miscarriage, infertility struggles, or a long adoption process, but reading this book, I felt as though I was navigating the pain and difficulty of those experiences, as well as her long journey to motherhood, alongside Nina, and I learned so much from her. Nina, you are so strong, brave, and inspiring! Part travelogue and part memoir, Spirit Baby also allowed me to learn an incredible amount of Chinese history, and as a woman married to an American-born Chinese man, I loved being able to talk to him about some of the traditions and places I learned about while reading this book. Looking through Nina's China pictures on her website made those places come to life even more! I truly enjoyed reading this well-written, heartfelt, and inspiring book, and I absolutely adored the happy and unexpected ending. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and travels with us, Nina, and thank you to Kate Rock Book Tours for the opportunity to read this memoir.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Roesel

    "There’s an ancient Chinese belief that women possess two hearts. It’s said that women hold dreams of infants, lost children, and babies never-meant-to-be in their upper hearts, while babies destined to be born travel to their mother’s lower heart. My upper heart was full of lost babies and broken dreams. But the promise of a Chinese baby girl was beginning to fill my upper heart with hope." SPIRIT BABY Nina Little takes up through the ups and downs of trying to have a child in SPIRIT BABY. When "There’s an ancient Chinese belief that women possess two hearts. It’s said that women hold dreams of infants, lost children, and babies never-meant-to-be in their upper hearts, while babies destined to be born travel to their mother’s lower heart. My upper heart was full of lost babies and broken dreams. But the promise of a Chinese baby girl was beginning to fill my upper heart with hope." SPIRIT BABY Nina Little takes up through the ups and downs of trying to have a child in SPIRIT BABY. When Nina and Chris step off the plane onto Chinese soil, they are a couple in crisis. Fleeing the heartbreak of failed fertility treatments and the silence of their childless home, they arrive in Beijing just in time for the annual spring sand storms. As they travel from the historic cities of northern China to the stunning countryside of southern China, Nina finds new wonders in the world. Part humorous travelogue, part heartfelt memoir, Spirit Baby weaves together themes of longing, loss, and learning to live again, while celebrating the healing benefits of travel. Most of all, it tells of the power of a couple’s dream for a child and celebrates the many paths to motherhood. Life can take a toll…but that doesn’t mean the journey’s not worth taking... Have some tissues nearby...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sally Hobson

    Nina Little uses her personal fertility narrative along with a collective narrative of the cultural history of China to create a story that speaks to a greater overarching narrative about what it means to be a mother in a global community with conflicting views on what “true” motherhood looks like. Little creates her own definition of motherhood to claim that it is more of an experience and a figurative adventure than a state of being and no matter how difficult the path to motherhood is, it has Nina Little uses her personal fertility narrative along with a collective narrative of the cultural history of China to create a story that speaks to a greater overarching narrative about what it means to be a mother in a global community with conflicting views on what “true” motherhood looks like. Little creates her own definition of motherhood to claim that it is more of an experience and a figurative adventure than a state of being and no matter how difficult the path to motherhood is, it has potential to be full of self discovery. Little simultaneously describes her own adventures traveling through China and recounts her own struggles with fertility and international adoption. She weaves stories about her travels along with sociopolitical, cultural, and historical perspectives of China with her own travel memoir. She makes interesting and compelling observations with ease as she recounts her adventures. Little artfully introduces herself along with introducing her experience traveling by finding corresponding thematic maters. The resulting memoir is both entrancing and complex as Little is able to take such a personal narrative and speak to international experiences and global concerns of womanhood and motherhood.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Hamilton

    Spirit Baby by Nina Neilson Little Fun, witty, and emotionally packed! “A woman who longs for a child doesn’t need a reason.” In this part travel memoir, part journey to motherhood memoir, Little inspires the reader with majestic views of China and an intimate personal sojourn to becoming a mom. Like the author, I am fascinated by cultural and religious traditions, and I devoured every delightful tidbit of Chinese folklore and customs inside this sweet little book! From haggling on the streets of B Spirit Baby by Nina Neilson Little Fun, witty, and emotionally packed! “A woman who longs for a child doesn’t need a reason.” In this part travel memoir, part journey to motherhood memoir, Little inspires the reader with majestic views of China and an intimate personal sojourn to becoming a mom. Like the author, I am fascinated by cultural and religious traditions, and I devoured every delightful tidbit of Chinese folklore and customs inside this sweet little book! From haggling on the streets of Beijing to the Peking Opera, date nights and day trips, and beyond to Xi’an, which she likened to “an ancient civilization, say Mesopotamia, that had a fling with the Las Vegas strip..." While Little’s travels through China were joined at the hip like Siamese twins with the heartbreak of failed fertility treatments, there is healing, acceptance and the discovery of joyful Chinese beliefs; such as: women possess two hearts. I felt lucky to take this trek along the Great Wall with the author and her husband, to visit Buddhist temples and to meet the Guanyin! And the gardens! Plums, peaches, and peonies! Thank you for Suzhou! Xièxiè! Zhùfú! Highly recommend! Bravo!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Samantha “Sam” A

    Life can take a toll…but that doesn’t mean the journey’s not worth taking. Can I rate this book 10 stars instead of just 5? I thoroughly soaked this beautifully, intense memoir of Nina and her husbands travels through China after multiple failed attempts at IVF and conventional ways of trying to have a baby. It hit me as I was finishing the last word that I enjoyed this because I could almost feel how she was feeling; frustrated and hopeless and wondering if having a baby would ever happen. Not a l Life can take a toll…but that doesn’t mean the journey’s not worth taking. Can I rate this book 10 stars instead of just 5? I thoroughly soaked this beautifully, intense memoir of Nina and her husbands travels through China after multiple failed attempts at IVF and conventional ways of trying to have a baby. It hit me as I was finishing the last word that I enjoyed this because I could almost feel how she was feeling; frustrated and hopeless and wondering if having a baby would ever happen. Not a lot of people know that we’ve been craving another beautiful addition to our family for the past 4 or so years. Sadly, due to my health issues (thyroid cancer, migraines, anxiety,etc.) we hadn’t been able to actively try until this past May. We finally got the go ahead from my endocrinologist and we’ve had nothing but false tests. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to not know if you’ll ever carry a baby or another baby again. Being a Mom is the hardest, most demanding and unrecognized and thankless job ever BUT, it’s also the most rewarding and beautiful position to be a Mommy to a gift from God that resembles you and your partner. I am blessed to have our 5 year old son. He’s absolutely rotten and sometimes makes me want to scream but, those sweet cuddles and when he says “I love you”, makes it all worth it! Back to Spirit Baby, Nina, thank you for pouring your heart into this. Thank you for sharing your vulnerability. I loved all the little Asian “nuggets” you shared, the animals, the beliefs, etc. It was extremely interesting and I’m so so grateful and happy you received your “gifts”. It made the journey longer but, made it more worth it, in my opinion. When we don’t get what we want or desire immediately, the things we go through afterwards only make us stronger and better equipped for when Gods timing happens. I will recommend this book for everyone, it’s so very interesting and such a beautiful and inspiring story. Thanks again to Nina and Kate Rock for this copy. Also stay tuned to my Instagram later in the month (Nov 24) for my book tour stop! I’m super excited to promote Nina’s “book baby” and tell y’all more about my favorite parts! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  20. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Spirit Baby is a memoir that takes us through her journey from childhood with divorced parents, meeting her husband Chris, their infertility problems and their travels through China. Four years of trying to conceive with two failed attempts at IVF treatments left Nina depressed and longing to be a mother. Nina and Chris decided to start the adoption process for a baby girl from China. Their descriptive travels to China to better understand the culture and religions were interesting and at times Spirit Baby is a memoir that takes us through her journey from childhood with divorced parents, meeting her husband Chris, their infertility problems and their travels through China. Four years of trying to conceive with two failed attempts at IVF treatments left Nina depressed and longing to be a mother. Nina and Chris decided to start the adoption process for a baby girl from China. Their descriptive travels to China to better understand the culture and religions were interesting and at times funny. I learned so much about China and their customs. The descriptions of China made me feel like I was traveling with them. Through this journey Nina started to understand her own journey through life. The road to motherhood was a long and emotional journey. I read this memoir at the right time as my niece just went through two miscarriages. I told her story to my niece which helped her to get the testing she needed.

  21. 5 out of 5

    GripLitGrl

    This not your typical memoir, it is also part travelogue and all heart. Nina Neilson Little writes about her and her husband Chris' journey through China to adopt a baby. The story is written so well with great care and detail I felt transported to China while reading it. Little's book is a great length it's a quick read at at 267 pages it's not overly wordy or drawn out she has a great flowing story style. I learned a lot about customs and beliefs of the Chinese that are quite interesting. It al This not your typical memoir, it is also part travelogue and all heart. Nina Neilson Little writes about her and her husband Chris' journey through China to adopt a baby. The story is written so well with great care and detail I felt transported to China while reading it. Little's book is a great length it's a quick read at at 267 pages it's not overly wordy or drawn out she has a great flowing story style. I learned a lot about customs and beliefs of the Chinese that are quite interesting. It also takes you through a very honest journey through navigating infertility. Nina's honesty through the highs & lows mixed with her humor & relatability makes her journey one that you want to read. Her story is one I think will resonate with me for a long time. This is a wonderful story I'm glad to have read. Thank you Nina for my gifted copy of your wonderful book in exchange for my honest review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Heather (tales.of.a.bookbound.mom)

    In this memoir, the author shares her heartbreaking experience with infertility and miscarriage and recounts her and her husband’s trip of a lifetime all over China. They were preparing to (hopefully) adopt a baby from China and wanted to learn all they could about the culture. As a result, this book is chock full of Chinese history, traditions, mythology, and many interesting tidbits about the Chinese way of life. I learned many interesting things while reading this memoir. You’ll really enjoy In this memoir, the author shares her heartbreaking experience with infertility and miscarriage and recounts her and her husband’s trip of a lifetime all over China. They were preparing to (hopefully) adopt a baby from China and wanted to learn all they could about the culture. As a result, this book is chock full of Chinese history, traditions, mythology, and many interesting tidbits about the Chinese way of life. I learned many interesting things while reading this memoir. You’ll really enjoy this book if you like to learn about different cultures. . I’ve not experienced infertility myself, but Nina gives what I’m sure is only a glimpse of the raw emotions of those who have/do. I think it’s important for those of us who haven’t gone through this type of trial to read this memoir. That way we can learn how to best support those in our lives who may be experiencing infertility—as well as be more aware and more sensitive about this topic. . I’d recommend reading about this one-of-a-kind journey.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Gifted to me by Nina Nelson Little.. I can not say enough positive things about this book. This book tackles unexplained infertility (something my husband and I have gone through) and the search to see how you can become parents, find peace and maybe even laugh a bit. Nina’s book is so honest, heartwarming and loving. In my opinion it is not your typical road to motherhood book, which I found so refreshing. I took my time reading this and glad I did. This was a 5 star book for me and I have reco Gifted to me by Nina Nelson Little.. I can not say enough positive things about this book. This book tackles unexplained infertility (something my husband and I have gone through) and the search to see how you can become parents, find peace and maybe even laugh a bit. Nina’s book is so honest, heartwarming and loving. In my opinion it is not your typical road to motherhood book, which I found so refreshing. I took my time reading this and glad I did. This was a 5 star book for me and I have recommended it many times.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    As I read this tender memoir, I felt as if I were reading a friend's honest journal, and as a bonus I learned so much about China and its history. After numerous attempts to have a baby, the author and her husband take off to China, where they encounter a culture full of rich dichotomies and unexpected moments of grace that allow them to heal and open their hearts again, both to each other and to hope. The gratifying ending to their journey is inspiring and sweet. As I read this tender memoir, I felt as if I were reading a friend's honest journal, and as a bonus I learned so much about China and its history. After numerous attempts to have a baby, the author and her husband take off to China, where they encounter a culture full of rich dichotomies and unexpected moments of grace that allow them to heal and open their hearts again, both to each other and to hope. The gratifying ending to their journey is inspiring and sweet.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nicole reading_with_nicole

    After reading this book I want more than ever to visit China. In Spirit Baby Nina takes on her journey through China after having issues with infertility. Chris and Nina want a family more than anything and in anticipation of maybe adopting they travel to China. This book is so detailed in their traveling that you feel like you are right there with them. I was caught up in all the amazing descriptions throughout this book. You will feel all of Nina’s pain and heartbreak and joy while reading thi After reading this book I want more than ever to visit China. In Spirit Baby Nina takes on her journey through China after having issues with infertility. Chris and Nina want a family more than anything and in anticipation of maybe adopting they travel to China. This book is so detailed in their traveling that you feel like you are right there with them. I was caught up in all the amazing descriptions throughout this book. You will feel all of Nina’s pain and heartbreak and joy while reading this book. I loved so much learning that if you want a baby boy you should place nuts under your pillow and if you want a girl tiny red slippers.. This was not just a memoir but an amazing travel insight to China.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Melissa (honeybee.reads)

    First off I want to thank @ninalittle & @katerockbooktours for my copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. ° This is a truly heartfelt, emotional, historical roller coaster. This book is written by Nina and follows her journey through the failed fertility treatments and her journey through China which ended up saving her. ° From page to page we learn so much about the Chinese culture, the history and the hardships of adopting a child in that country. This book is so easy to relate to if yo First off I want to thank @ninalittle & @katerockbooktours for my copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. ° This is a truly heartfelt, emotional, historical roller coaster. This book is written by Nina and follows her journey through the failed fertility treatments and her journey through China which ended up saving her. ° From page to page we learn so much about the Chinese culture, the history and the hardships of adopting a child in that country. This book is so easy to relate to if you've had infertility issues like I do. It's hard to read at times but gives you hope that life always has a plan for you, and it'll come when the timing is right. ° You could feel the pain, hopelessness and desire of Nina to be a mother. It was extremely touching to read her journey and be a part of it every step of the way. Thank you so much for taking us on this adventure with you.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Poe

    Through her travel and vivid descriptions I felt like I was along for the ride in this heartwarming memoir Spirit Baby- travels through China on the long road to Motherhood by Nina Neilson Little. The people, the food, the traffic, and of course the love that took them to China to search for a child. I enjoyed this story and was happy to read that when things happen unexpectantly and you take the long road, you can still end up in the right place!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Morris

    I loved this book! Spirit Baby follows a Colorado couple's trip through China following a heartbreaking period of failed fertility treatments and miscarriages. Beautifully written, this book is part travel and part autobiography. You'll feel like you've just visited China - and all of it's breathtaking scenery, bustling cities, and rich history. Both poignant and uplifting, anyone can identify with Nina finding her way back from a dark, disappointing journey of broken dreams and rediscovering he I loved this book! Spirit Baby follows a Colorado couple's trip through China following a heartbreaking period of failed fertility treatments and miscarriages. Beautifully written, this book is part travel and part autobiography. You'll feel like you've just visited China - and all of it's breathtaking scenery, bustling cities, and rich history. Both poignant and uplifting, anyone can identify with Nina finding her way back from a dark, disappointing journey of broken dreams and rediscovering herself, her marriage and her ability to believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 5/5. A must read!

  29. 4 out of 5

    BRANDI

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. After struggling to conceive, Nina and her husband, Chris, decide to travel to China in hopes to learn about their future adopted daughter's heritage in this memoir/travelogue. Nina has such a beautiful heart and open mind. I think it incredibly brave to be so willing to dive into what I see is almost an entirely new world. Through their interactions and experiences traveling, we gain so much insight into the Chinese history and culture. Also, the landscapes and views must have been breathtakingl After struggling to conceive, Nina and her husband, Chris, decide to travel to China in hopes to learn about their future adopted daughter's heritage in this memoir/travelogue. Nina has such a beautiful heart and open mind. I think it incredibly brave to be so willing to dive into what I see is almost an entirely new world. Through their interactions and experiences traveling, we gain so much insight into the Chinese history and culture. Also, the landscapes and views must have been breathtakingly beautiful. I'm defintely putting China on my must-travel-to list, if not for the scenery then certainly for the food! I love her light humor. I found myself laughing at random parts throughout her entire book including the simple banter between her and her husband. Her relationship with her husband is so loving, spontaneous and complete couple goals; enduring and genuine. Nina's path to motherhood is nothing if not inspiring. All the highs, lows and enlightenment of this chapter in her life just proves how strong she is and can be. I can't even begin to imagine the pain she went through during this extremely trying journey, but she really brought out strong emotions from me as a reader. I was curious, happy, utterly heartbroken then happy again and am so grateful she's shared her beautiful memoir with the world. Things didn't quite turn out as planned in the end, but after everything the result was still nothing short of an absolute miracle(s) and she deserves all the happiness.

  30. 5 out of 5

    seahorse

    Nina takes us on a journey of unexpected insights. She and her spouse Chris absorb the Chinese culture in anticipation of the adoption of a little girl. In the environment of a one-child policy, girls are often abandoned by parents in hopes of a male child. The trek forward resolves many of the difficult and painful memories of Nina's childhood. She stood alone in multiple branches of two blended families. She understood what it meant to look different from other family members. In the telling o Nina takes us on a journey of unexpected insights. She and her spouse Chris absorb the Chinese culture in anticipation of the adoption of a little girl. In the environment of a one-child policy, girls are often abandoned by parents in hopes of a male child. The trek forward resolves many of the difficult and painful memories of Nina's childhood. She stood alone in multiple branches of two blended families. She understood what it meant to look different from other family members. In the telling of her own stories, while walking through streets rich with tastes, sounds, movements so different from her own, she bonded with the spirit- child of her future. Nina allows readers to experience the peace she found on the Li River in Guanxi Province and in the excess, beauty and frenetic pace of Shanghai. The exploration, the anticipation, turned out to far more important than the trip's outcome. It's a story worth knowing.

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