I am honored to have been asked to be a “posting participant” in the Virtual Book Tour for The Gift of Giving Life.
When I first heard about The Gift of Giving Life: Rediscovering the Divine Nature of Pregnancy and Birth, I brushed it aside, simply because of the mounting list of books I wanted to read and the growing stack at my bedside collecting dust. And to be honest, I didn’t have interest in reading another watered-down, spiritually “held back”, flowery LDS book on the topic of mothering. After the third reminder, though, via friends and social media, I knew it was something I was meant to experience. The swellings and stirrings I felt from the first chapter, Heather Farrell’s We Are Each Eve, confirmed the deep, timely influence of this book on my walk as a woman and mother.
Not too many are aware that the greatest heartache of my life has been losing babies. I lost my firstborn, a beautiful baby girl, at full term – a story with so many sacred layers and levels that can’t be given justice in the context of this post. Two years after I said goodbye to my firstborn, Jeff and I had our son Noah. Two years later, we were blessed with our daughter Savannah, and two years after that, our son Sawyer. They are cherished, precious angels, each one of them. When Sawyer was two and I became pregnant again, I was glowing with assurance that this next baby was following suit with the every-two-years pattern and would be welcomed as our fourth child.
Not so. I miscarried that little gift of life and would miscarry three more times in the next 8 years. I won’t detail those losses, only to mention that they were soul-ripping. The fourth late-term miscarriage was so physically and emotionally and spiritually painful that I honestly wasn’t sure I would fully recover. Perhaps what made the final loss so intense was my dangling promise of two more children – a boy and a girl – and at 42 years, coming to the realization that my body was not going to cooperate with my spirit’s willingness to bear them.
I read The Gift of Giving Life in 2012, shortly after the miraculous private adoption of our magnificent son, Eli. I wept with the women who detailed their experiences with loss, grief and divine compensation. I felt a rising empowerment, a blazing second witness that women are in a very real partnership with The Creator of All as they sacrifice and bear down and descend. And then nobly and beautifully ascend. The Atonement of Christ is demonstrated more mightily through the sacrificial practice of mothering than through any other practice on Earth.
The Gift of Giving Life is a book about power. Woven into each chapter are stories that affirm the massive spiritual powers of wisdom, love and creation embodied in the Feminine. I love that this book addresses so many women’s experiences, from so many walks of life, who have the same underlying belief: That God knows our hearts and our needs as women and will mold a perfect plan that, through birth and rebirth, will take our souls and bodies to heights and depths we could never before fathom. I have learned that it is not just the experience of giving birth physically that empowers a woman to call herself mother. It is the praying, the losing, the weeping, the waiting. The pouring of her heart and soul into a vision and promise that only she and her Creator can hold form for.
Today I find myself back in this kind of “labor.” I know there is a girl –whom I call Abigael – that will join our home. She and Eli are pretty much a package deal, so when he showed up, I knew she would soon follow. Eli is 18 months, I am 45, and “the promise of Abbey” lives in both of us. When I start to jump to fearful what-ifs in pondering her debut, I’m reminded that time is merely a relative mortal measurement and there is a decree echoing in some corner of heaven (as it is in my heart) that she is coming. It is done.
And so I wait.
We as mothers need confirmation and validation for the dreams and impressions we hold inside for ourselves and our children. To me, that is what The Gift of Giving Life inspires. I was so moved and impressed with the depth of this book that I invited Lani Axman, one of the authors, into my home while she was in town doing book meetings last year. We sat on my couch and talked about angels and purpose and Spirit and loss, the things of which women who’ve suffered can speak the same language. I knew then, and now, that the essays contained in this book convey powerful messages every woman of faith can glean hope and insight from. I am grateful for the courage and wisdom of Felice Austin, Lani Axman, Heather Farrell, Robyn Allgood and Sheridan Ripley. These women have compiled a bold spiritual work that weaves a divine thread of hope and healing to the heart of the reader.
I add my voice to the other women on The Gift of Giving Life’s Virtual Book Tour. Visit their page to receive giveaways in the pregnancy, birth and baby departments. Most importantly, read the book! 🙂