Since I haven't written much about my book lately, I thought I'd post a little update. The past few months, I've continued working on my book, doing interviews, drafting, and revising, but I've also been focused on getting a book proposal together, one I can send out to prospective agents and publishers. What follows below is a short summary of my vision for the book that I plan to include as part of my proposal. I'd love to hear some feedback from you all: What resonates with you? What doesn't? What am I missing? What is unclear? How could it be better?
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In the long months of waiting to conceive my first child and in the dark season following the miscarriage of my second, I felt many things: fear, sadness, despair, and confusion among them. But above all, I felt alone. Everywhere I looked, I saw swelling bellies and smiling newborns, and I felt the ache of my own emptiness more deeply in my perceived isolation.
If I’d taken the time to push past the surface images of childbearing ease around me, I would have known I was far from alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control, roughly 10 percent of American women ages 15-44, about 6.1 million people, have difficulty conceiving and/or carrying pregnancies to term. The trouble is that unlike pregnant stomachs and cuddly infants, the experiences of infertility and miscarriage are often silent and hidden, leading people like me to feel alone even when our stories are not at all uncommon.
In the absence of a close friend who’d experienced either infertility or miscarriage, I often wished I could read a book that would help me feel less alone, a book that would validate my fears and grief, a book that would also offer some measure of comfort and hope. As a student and writer of creative nonfiction, I wanted a book that told rich and beautiful stories. I found plenty of books where the authors used interviews or personal experience to back up their larger points about grief or healing, but I wanted the stories themselves to be the focus, any sort of epiphany being conveyed through the climaxes and resolutions of real lives. As a Christian, I also wanted to read a book that wrestled with the kinds of deep, probing questions about God that reproductive loss stirs in the soul. I found plenty of books on the theology of grief, suffering, and loss, but none that walked those questions out in the experiences of real people who’d experienced infertility, miscarriage, and stillbirth.
In short, I couldn’t find the kind of book I wanted to read, so I decided to write it. My book is part-memoir; it chronicles a year in my life, beginning nine months after my miscarriage as my husband and I simultaneously continue to grieve the loss of our daughter and begin trying to get pregnant again. The book is also part-interview; each chapter focuses on the story of one family who has experienced infertility, miscarriage, and/or stillbirth and describes both their loss and their experience of God in it. Most of all, the book is about the interplay between my own story and the stories of others, about the God who is writing both the ultimate Story and the smaller narratives of each of our lives, and about realizing I was never as alone as I thought I was.