December this year marks my younger son’s 21st birthday. Born in the days leading up to Christmas, there was something magical about his arrival. I remember that year, 1996, holding him in my arms in church, the words of the carols washing over me and making me feel like Mary herself. “To us a son is born.” How perfect.
Yet the lead-up to his birth was anything but. According to my midwife, my first son had been born in an apparent text-book pregnancy, birth and recovery. A couple of years later, when we looked to increase our family, we had no other expectation than a repeat performance. How wrong we were. Little did I know what heartbreak lay ahead as each pregnancy resulted in a loss. Four officially. I privately acknowledge two more.
There’s much I could tell you about hope and the lack of it; disappointment; despair. Some of you know from your own sad experiences just what those feel like: unwelcome companions on a journey you didn’t intend making. Each day, you put your feet onto the carpet next to where you’ve spent another sleepless night, and will them to take the steps necessary to get through the day.
God is often hidden in those difficult seasons. Our faith is tested, stretched wafer thin and we tell ourselves - actually with real conviction - that He is there, just the same as ever. It’s only that the light that’s gone out in our little world has made everything seem obscure. One day the fog will lift and the sun/Son will come out and Spring will return. For me, it might have taken four years, but that day did arrive.
Over the intervening years, I have often drawn alongside other ladies in the same position. I have prayed for them and they have conceived. How good God is! I thought that my story would be a private one, shared during the intimacies of having a coffee with a friend, but I almost forgot that it is God’s story. He authored it, and allowed me to take the lead. (We must never delegate our roles to an understudy, by the way…)
Last year, I met the leader of a charity that supports those who have suffered baby loss. As I turned away from our conversation, I felt God’s nudge: You could resource that ministry. Within weeks, I had begun to write, the commission weighing heavily on me. I cried for the women who one day might read it, my heart aching that they should have these words of comfort. My beta readers agreed as they fed back on the finished manuscript. The publisher I approached responded straightaway, saying it had punch and integrity. Too Soon: A Mother’s Journey Through Miscarriage, A 30-day Devotional will be published by SPCK in August 2018. My prayer is that, through my story, many will receive the “one touch from the King” that changes everything. Surely, as writers, we can ask for nothing more.
Jane Clamp is Groups' Coordinator for ACW. She writes regularly for radio and during Advent will broadcast a series of "Moments" on BBC Radio Norfolk. Her first book is scheduled for release in August 2018.