When author Karen Palmer and her husband Gordon are asked how many children they have, they tell people two – it’s just easier that way. But the truth is that there will always be three. Their first child, Jennifer Grace, was discovered to have multiple abnormalities before birth. Faced with the invidious choice of termination or continuing the pregnancy, they chose the latter, and a beautiful baby girl was born to them, only to die hours later.
Sharing the struggles and doubts they have faced, Jennifer’s parents show how loved she was and how her short time on this earth was used to bless many lives. Blending recent reflections with contemporary journal entries and letters, this is a rich testimony to God’s goodness and intimate involvement in our lives. It is evident that even when tragedy strikes, every life is precious to Him.
In today’s selfie culture with its emphasis on appearance, there is a pressure to airbrush out imperfections. Sadly, the same is being done with unborn children, sometimes even when only minor abnormalities are found. This book tells the story of what happens when we recognise God’s love for the imperfect, and for those whom society considers to be disposable.
For Christians working in obstetrics and midwifery departments, this book will show how Karen and Gordon’s decision was played out and perhaps give them more confidence in discussing alternative options to termination when a life-limiting condition is discovered in an unborn child. It will help friends, families and carers of those who have suffered child loss. The book provides insights as to what might help and what certainly won’t help in the weeks, months and years ahead. It will encourage any Christian to trust God’s promises and discover that He always keeps them.
Karen says: ‘
At our lowest point, God burst in and made His love for our unborn baby very clear. I wanted to share this story that God has given me, of His loving involvement in our day-to-day lives, with those who don’t yet know Him. If we are in a relationship with God, it changes everything. Because of Jennifer, I know that whatever happens, God is with me, bringing blessing in the unlikeliest of situations. It’s the story of God, our creator, being lovingly involved in our day-to-day lives. My prayer is that God will use this story, which on many levels is very ordinary, to communicate His love and His good news to those who don’t yet know Him. It’s a story that demonstrates God’s love for the damaged and vulnerable, and His intimate involvement in each of our lives.’
About the author:
Karen worked as a speciality doctor in community psychiatry until she retired in 2018. She shares life with Gordon, Ruth, Sally and their gradually extending family.