There are some books that I wish never needed to be written, but sadly we live in a world that is tainted by sin and our human bodies are not free from that curse. This book is the journey of a couple Jonny and Joanna Ivey through the heartbreak of having a stillborn baby. As much as I don’t want books like these to have to exist, I am thankful that the Ivey’s invite us to join them in their journey and learn along with them. There aren’t many books that bring a tear to my eyes, but this one did…
This is a difficult read, but you won’t be able to put it down. The Ivey’s do a wonderful job at weaving their own story individually and how they approached their pain. Each chapter is split between headings where Jonny and Joanna write separately and they talk about their raw emotions and their pain openly.
The journey begins with the wonderful news of Joanna being pregnant. They bring you along with the joys of the whole process, but also the tragedy of suddenly not feeling their baby moving. They went to hospital thinking that something was maybe wrong, but unsure (due to their experience of their first pregnancy). You’re brought into the family with them as they receive the news of the death of their child and as Joanna delivers their still born daughter, Edith.
“As cries of new life came from next door, the minor piano chords and violins continued to soothe our room’s silence. I tried to imagine what Edith’s cries would have sounded like, but for us they were silent. We held her so tightly, just as God holds his children, both in life and in death. I didn’t feel I could put her down – ever.”
They were able to spend time with Edith and mourn the loss of their baby. You get an insight into their minds and the pain that they feel.
“My deep, deep maternal love was very much alive, but the object of my love was dead. So it felt like pain. And it felt unfair.”
But this story is not without hope. Jonny and Joanna bring out their hope in the gospel and the eternal life in Christ that they are confident of for their daughter.
“But the thought that Edith was already with him, that she had by-passed this world of trips to the Early Pregnancy Unit and miscarriage and stillbirth – the world of bullying and sickness and spiritual warfare and fear and depression and cancer – to think that she had gone straight to be where I longed to go, meant that I felt a surprising joy, mixed in with all the sadness.”
I like the reality of this book and how open the Ivey’s are about their suffering and how they relate that to Bible truths that sustain them in the storm. Here are just a few of the other quotes in the book that I found helpful and wanted to share. There are plenty more, but this will have to do. If you want more quotes, just go buy the book 🙂
“It is our privilege to suffer in this fallen world, in order that she would enjoy the world that we’re groaning for,
as in the pains of childbirth. We’d so longed for her soul to enrich our lives, but that soul now fills the courts of heaven, which makes our grief bearable.”
“The ‘whys’ around Edith’s death would surely continue, but for that moment they dried up when faced with a God who doesn’t offer hope to grieving parents from a distance, but as one who has felt the same pain we were
“Being part of God’s household meant that we shared our grief, felt our pain collectively, and we all sorely missed our daughter together.”
“I now realized that misunderstanding what God is like always leads to us being robbed of hope and joy. When confronted by my wayward affections, my misplaced hopes and my faulty reasoning, I didn’t naturally run into God’s gracious arms, stretched wide because Jesus had once stretched his arms wide for me on a cross. No, I simply felt broken. The grief was bad enough, but because of what it had dug up in my heart I felt the added burden of my sin pushing down on me – crushing me – before the all-knowing and holy God.”
If you have been through the pain of a miscarriage, or the loss of a child, or if you know someone who has I recommend you get this book. Sadly, this will effect many people that we know and they need to feel able to speak openly about their experiences and pain. This book will help you see behind the scenes and hear some of the things that helped the Ivey’s which may equip you to help others. Buy the book here, you won’t be able to put it down.