Win a $50 Amazon gift card as a thank you from Everything and Nothing from Essex!
Please keep reading. The giveaway is explained at the end.
A year ago, I was a brand new mom- post NICU stay, post heart surgery. I had a 4 month old baby who was still on 24 hrs a day of oxygen and g-tube fed. Our doctor's appointments were plentiful and combined with frequent therapist visits. My life was completely overwhelmed by having a child with special needs.
Caught up in such a busy schedule of "extras", I discovered something startling. As I had grown to know and love my daughter, I found that none of that "stuff" mattered in the least bit. She amazed me continually with her spirit to fight and her will to live. An unbelievably beautiful personality started to peek through, and throughout all of the medical drama, I looked down at my little girl and saw not a "Down syndrome baby", but a little baby girl who was just like any other baby who deserved a chance at everything life had to offer. Just like any other baby.
It was while falling deeply in love with my baby that I became aware of the statistic that 90% of the women who received the same prenatal diagnosis that I did choose to end the life of their baby- terminating all chance of happiness and success for the child- simply hearing about the extra chromosome and deciding to play god in their child's life, deeming this life valued as less because of the "defect' and sure to come difficult life.
Experiencing such joy from my daughter with that same "defect" and "difficult life", I was heartbroken thinking of everything that these other moms were missing out on because of their fear and misconceived stereotypes that the medical community was feeding them.
I was horrified, thinking of these many, many babies with a lot of similarities to my perfect little angel who weren't given a chance at life. Who, yes, small things were more difficult to accomplish, but they weren't even allowed to try- and no one ever would see the huge smile encompass their face as they realized happiness and success- just like any other baby.
It was at this point last year where I started thinking about all of the potential being lost- the babies not given the opportunity to make their mark on the world simply because of a label- I decided to do something about it.
I wrote a book.
No, not overnight. Many, many hours have been spent crafting a story, stringing together sentences (and then rewording each of those sentences a couple dozen times), working on the best approach to make a difference in the 90%.
This is not a book about me and Addison. This is not a memoir. This is not a book about Down syndrome.
This is a fiction book about:
-a mom named Lila is told while pregnant that her baby most likely has Down syndrome because of the soft markers that show up in an ultrasound. She fully intends to terminate her pregnancy. When the amnio comes back with normal results, she gratefully continues to grow her unborn child, convinced that she is now guaranteed a perfect baby. However, when her son is born with a small physical defect (which had been the soft marker), she immediately schedules a cosmetic surgery to fix the problem.
-a man named Walter is obsessed with perfection and being the best anesthesiologist the world has to offer. His dearest and best friend, his mother, is dying from breast cancer and on her death bed confesses to him that he was supposed to have a brother. Because this brother was diagnosed with a rare form of mental retardation at birth, he was sent away to an institution where he died a few weeks later.
-a nurse named Emily has searched her entire life for love. Abused by her parents as a child and now as an adult tossed around from one one night stand to another, she is lonely and surrounded by people who merely use and abuse her.
-two sisters haven't talked in 30 years ever since their concurrent pregnancies ended with such different stories. One sister had a healthy boy who grew up to be stunningly brilliant, achieving a doctorate from Yale. The other sister went into premature labor, many things going horribly wrong, resulting in her son being diagnosed with cerebral palsy and struggling with basic functions his entire life.
These stories all intersect when Lila's son goes in for his surgery and the perfect Walter makes his first mistake, causing the baby to suffer from brain damage.
-Walter is unable to live with the knowledge that he caused this, and overwhelmed by grief, decides to rid the world of the imperfect being that he has created. Assisted by Emily, who is convinced that he is her last chance at love, they kidnap the baby, to "fix" the problem.
-Lila is faced with the dilemma of which is really worse- to have a dead baby or a retarded one?
The story plays out with drama, fear and heartache.
As different characters are attempting to play god and others question whether some lives are really worth more than others, and yet others wonder if loving a baby simply because it is your baby is more important than worrying about what that baby would bring to your life or deciding upfront what the life value would be and acting rashly on the decision- delicate subjects are hashed through from different perspectives, settling on a variety of conclusions as the story winds down with an entirely changed cast of characters.
The overall message? There are no guarantees in parenting, and although some parenting paths seem more difficult than others, they aren't any less rewarding and the child's life isn't worth less.
This book is incredibly difficult for me to explain because this is really just the tip of the iceburg with what goes on in this book- the questions, the conversations, the story playing out in a way that causes the reader to feel the raw emotions that accompany such an emotional struggle all the while watching in horror as wrong decisions are made from seemingly logical reasoning that a mom would use to terminate her child once given the diagnosis of a "defect".
Perfection is completely redefined as each character's world is turned upside down in an unbelievably difficult and seemingly unfair circumstantial twist..
So here's my question for you.
Based on this short description, would you read this book? I know that I have a lot of blog lurkers out there, and normally I don't complain at the lack of feedback (-;. But I am now trying to break into the incredibly competitive field of publishing, and I need to be able to prove to a publisher that this would sell if they would publish it.
So if you love me at all- or just like me a little bit- or merely endure my blog posts for something to do when you're exceptionally bored- I NEED you to comment with whether or not you would read/buy this book. (please, please, please, please, please....with a cherry on top)
To thank you for your participation and honest opinion, I am giving away a $50 Amazon gift card to one random commenter. Here's how it will work:
1. Leave one comment with your opinion of the book's plot line
2. Leave another comment if you are a follower of my blog or subscribe via email or RSS feed
3. Leave an additional comment for each time you post a link to my blog on facebook, twitter or blog about this giveaway. (you can do this once a day for additional comments)
The more comments you leave, the higher chance you have of winning the $50 Amazon gift card.
I don't ask much from you all- I freely share Chubbs' cuteness, allow you free front row seats to laugh at my really dumb new mom mistakes, and show you my struggles without flinching.
But I desperately need you to show me a little love with some comments/sharing of this post because I need to be able to prove to publishers that this is a book that not only will make a difference in the mind of the world about the worthiness of all life, regardless of medical diagnosis, but that it is also a book that would be willingly read by many (and therefore, sell).
Please help!!! (and good luck winning the gift card) This giveaway will last one week. I'll announce the winner next Monday (June 20th).