I spent a total of 15 months as a hospital chaplain intern and resident. As an intern, I spent the majority of my time with women on strict bedrest, on the birth ward, or visiting the children in the NICU and transitional nursery. Then as a resident, I was either pregnant or had a newborn, so each visit to the Family Birth Ward was a bit complicated.
I’m not an expert in how it is to loose a child, born or stillborn. I’m not as seasoned as other chaplains, but I have unfortunately prayed over many tiny bodies, some breathing, some not.
I will never forget those who I had the blessing to be part of their very short, but beloved lives. And I will never forget their families. Yet, it was never my experience. I was invited in to a moment in their life because I happened to be the assigned intern or was the chaplain on-call.
And then there are all those others who I know personally or by extension, who have lost children or had gone through the unimaginable to keep them alive.
No matter what the situation, the rest of the world keeps moving forward, and we forget.
So I am exceedingly grateful for Kate Hopper, who has shared her family’s story through the book, Ready for Air: A Journey through Premature Motherhood.
Kate has a gift for writing, and for teaching others to write. Yet in this book, Ready for Air, her gift to us is sharing her story.
I had picked up her book on how to write, Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers (read review here), and reading her memoir was the next step. I decided to read a few other books in between in order to fully appreciate it as it’s own work and not just an example of someone’s techniques, and I am glad I did.
Ready for Air is like sitting down for coffee with one of your best friends you haven’t seen in years, and she is catching you up on everything that has happened. She lays out her experience, without judgement, without hesitation, and without censures. Kate rightfully claims only her personal experiences, yet she also gives us an unvarnished look into the anxiety, doubt, depression, confusion, unpredictability, and chaos of having a child hooked up to multiple tubes and under warming lights.
You need to read this book, as it will give you insight in how your friend’s, neighbor’s, sibling’s, or cousin’s experience was or will be. You need to read this book to know that you aren’t alone, that others have walked those halls too. You need to read this book, as you will grow in compassion, self-understanding, and love for others. You need to read this book.
Gracious God, I pray for all those who need you right now. Amen.