Posture and Relevance of the text to topic of fertility grief
I Will Carry You, is written by a mother who carried to term a child that she knew was unlikely to live. The story is a powerful one – full of courage, and faith, and grief, and a loving family that juggles care for three young girls with the long grief of carrying this child. Smith demonstrates a willingness to pray for miracle, to trust God in sorrow, and to live with uncertainty. Smith says very clearly that she does not believe that “God needed another angel,” and offers, instead, that Christians looking for explanation in the face of such grief must be able to say these three words “I don’t know.” (107).
What grieving individuals, and their pastors or lay caregivers, can expect to learn glean from the text:
This text holds the gift of details. Smith shares details about her own emotions and feelings, about the way that she and her husband approached this grief together, about they ways in which they helped their girls to understand, and about their short time with this child, the funeral details that followed, and the waves of grief that will return again and again. Smith says that she has been marked, and always will be. Those who engage this story will learn a lot about this particular experience of loosing a child and this particular experience of embracing joy – and those particulars will provide important bridges to the experiences of others who have also lost infants.
Suggestions for best use
This text is heart-wrenching though also filled with joy. It a resource for clergy, lay leaders, family and friends, and those who are grieving. The particularities of the Evangelical tradition in which it is rooted may make it powerful for some and uncomfortable for others. Suggestions for best use include:
- A resource for prayers for those struggling with infant loss.
- A resource around which to shape a fertility grief support group, especially with a focus on infertility.
- A resource for families or close friends who are struggling to grasp the emotional and physical pain of infertility for those whom they love.
Smith and her husband demonstrate a vibrant faith that is rooted in the Evangelical tradition. When describing the pregnancy that brought the gift of their eldest daughter, Smith claims “God has chosen us!” (4). She also shares that the decision to carry this child rests, in part, on their commitment to chose life over abortion. Because of the way the story unfolds, it becomes clear that the birth of viable, healthy children is not, for Smith, a sign of God’s favor. Or perhaps it is more precise to say that the death of Smith’s baby is not a sign of God’s disfavor. She embraces the opportunity to share her faith through the story of this life – and this loss.