Wednesday, May 20, 2009

'It was all worth it'
The book that became a pregnant mom's 'lifeline'

A guest post by THE RAVING THEIST

Ashli McCall is scheduled to have her biopsy today. Please continue to pray for her.

Earlier this month Ashli received a gracious e-mail from Amy Maughan, a young mother of four. Amy had suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum during a pregnancy in 2007, at which time Ashli sent her a copy of her book on the disease, Beyond Morning Sickness, and offered some advice. Amy now writes:

Well it's been over a year since [our] last email exchange, but my baby just turned one, and the whole pregnancy experience is fresh on my mind as I think back through his life and all it took to get him here. I thought you might enjoy checking my [blog] to see pictures of him, because although we have never met, you and your book played an important part in encouraging me through the darkest days for which I will always be grateful. I mentioned you and your book on the blog which I hope is OK. I hope all is well with you and your family. Thank you for helping a stranger through what seemed so insurmountable. IT WAS ALL WORTH IT!
This e-mail was sent a few days before even Ashli knew of the tumor on her pancreas. Amy was thus not aware of Ashli's health crisis when she wrote. Nevertheless, in the above-referenced blog entry, Amy analogizes the suffering of hyperemesis to the suffering of cancer:
I don't like to bring it up too often, at the risk of sounding 'woe is me.' (Or 'woe was me.') But yesterday marked [my son] Cayman's first year of life, and I feel I pay tribute to the hallowed time spent creating that life when I reflect on the experience. The feeling may be akin to a cancer survivor who values life just a little more for having faced the real possibility of losing it. The battle with HG is different because you are not facing death literally, rather the mental battle of relentless suffering. And this battle does not always end well.

Ashli Foshee McCall suffered hyperemesis gravidarum so horribly that she terminated a pregnancy over it, a decision that haunted her from the moment she was rid of the suffering, and one she will always regret. She has spent all of her years since engaged in helping mothers who suffer the same illness to endure it well, to know their medical options, and never to give up. I admire her so much for turning her own heartache into positive energy that can change the course for others.

Her book was my lifeline during this time: 
Beyond Morning Sickness. And Ashli herself sent several personal emails to encourage me through the darkest days. She will never know the difference she made for me in my little corner of the world.
We do not know yet whether Ashli does, in fact, have cancer. We pray that she does not. But whatever she faces, Amy's post offers a reminder to remember in our pain the promise of Christ: out of great suffering, great joy; and out of death, life.