In this alchemy of anger and love, history and memoir, Christine McNair delves into various forms of toxicity in the body—from the effects of two life-threatening preeclampsia diagnoses to chronic illness, sexism in medicine, and the toll of societal expectations.
With catharsis and humour, Toxemia pieces together the complexities of identity, motherhood, and living in a body to share deeply recognizable raw truths through fragments, poems, and stories. McNair captures the wrenching feeling of loss of control in the face of an overwhelming medical diagnosis and the small, endless moments in life that underscore it: worrying about mortality in the middle of the night, revolving medical appointments, self-doubt, and all the ways in which illness interrupts.
Toxemia unravels the toxicities that haunt the human body from within and without. This hybrid work dips between the sacred and profane to expose—and hold —some of our greatest fears while reaching to mend what’s still possible to mend.
Praise for Toxemia
“How much pressure can build in language before the story of women’s health blows apart? In Toxemia, Christine McNair tests the narrative as if it were a problem patient. She charts the events that bring her close to death several times with the skill of the most intuitive midwives and rigorous clinicians, though representation is not diagnostic. This is a beautiful etiological study.” —Elee Kraljii Gardiner, author of Trauma Head and Against Death: 35 Essays on Living