Last Saturday marked five years since my wife and I held our stillborn first daughter in our arms. That was the hardest day of my life so far.
In ways, it still feels like that day was yesterday, but a lot of life has happened since then too. DeAnne and I have had two healthy girls. She switched jobs, finished her undergraduate degree, and has started toward her Master’s. I’ve written and written and written.
And most of the time, I’ve shared with you my journey as a writer. But I haven’t shared everything. Specifically, I don’t think I’ve talked about the chapter that I wrote for someone else’s book; a book that has been published and is available for purchase. I haven’t talked about it, in part, because I still don’t know how to feel about it.
The book is Hope During Heartache: True Stories of Emotional Healing from Infertility, Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Death of a Child by Cheri Swalwell. After reading this blog post, a friend contacted me about this book that Cheri was putting together. It was to be a compilation book of people who have been through similar hard things, but who had somehow found hope through the journey in God. Cheri was going to submit the book to a certain contest where one of the prizes was publication.
I talked to my wife about the opportunity. I’d never been asked for a contribution like this. I understood that there would be no financial benefit to me for contributing my chapter, but if something that I wrote could help someone in the same boat, that would be reward enough. We decided that I should write it down, regardless of whether I would contribute it or not.
Writing the chapter was hard. It was emotionally draining. Every time I sat down to write, I had to open old wounds and let my words flow out. But it was good. In the end, I felt a new sense of closure, and I liked the idea that somehow the pain that my wife and I experienced would be useful encouragement. I submitted my chapter.
The book didn’t win the contest or publication. I don’t know where all Cheri submitted it, but in the end, she decided to self-publish. The stories inside, she reasoned, were too important not to be shared with people who may need them. Pieces fell into place and the book quietly entered the market earlier this year.
And so I have a chapter in a published book. I still have mixed feelings. This isn’t the type of book that I want everyone to run out and buy. It is a hard read. It is ultimately uplifting, but the journey is difficult. At least, it is difficult for me to walk down again by choice. But it is still a published book, and I feel proud to have written it.
So here is the point of today’s post: Pain is hard. If you or someone you know has gone through the pain of infertility or losing a child, this book may bring comfort or give advice on how to move toward healing. At the very least, it will help readers empathize with people in pain, and that is a valuable thing.
If you are interested in this book, you can get it here.