Author reaches out to families suffering loss
New author Jaclyn Olson hopes something helpful results from the telling of her family's tragedy.
Olson has published a new book, "Wonderfully Made - A journey of faith, blessings and love during pregnancy loss."
The book, published by iUniverse, follows Olson's journey as she and her husband Brett struggle with a doctor's diagnosis in 2008 that their unborn baby had a brain defect, heart defect and other medical issues.
"We were told she was not going to survive as a baby," Olson recalled.
The Olsons, who live in rural Osceola, decided to carry the baby to full term rather than terminate the pregnancy.
"We did not want to feel that we were giving up," Olson said. "Miracles happen all the time, and I continued to pray that things would be fine. We put it in God's hands rather than making the decision ourselves."
In the end, Olson said, Mariah died in utero and was stillborn.
"Even though she never took a breath, Mariah spoke so much about life in general," Olson said. "She touched so many people. Her life had meaning."
Despite the tragedy, Olson said God helped comfort and guide the family through the troubling times and the experience made their faith stronger. It also gave them a story to share with others who face similar circumstances.
Olson said she kept a journal throughout her ordeal, never intending to use it in any way other than to remember Mariah's short life.
"But I thought to myself, 'Why would I want to keep this to myself?' I wanted to help other people who were going through the same thing," Olson explained. "If I can help just one person, it's all worth it."
The book is a compilation of journal entries along with additional comments. The book also includes several photographs of Jaclyn and Brett, along with baby Mariah.
The still birth was captured on film by "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep," a nonprofit organization that provides photography services to families who suffer the loss of a baby. The photographs help to document the brief moments families have with the child and are intended to help families heal.
"I was glad we did that," Olson said. "It was nice to be able to capture that time."
The book's overall message is simple, Olson said. Still births and other tragedies involving babies are quite common (there are 34 still births a month in Wisconsin alone). And parents struggling through those emotional moments need to know they are not alone, she added.
"In the past, such things were never talked about," she said. "The women were just sent home and left to deal with it on their own."
Today, there are more support resources available to families. And Olson wants other moms to know that God is there to help too.
"That's where you get the support you need," she said.
Olson also hopes that her book helps to encourage others to consider carrying ailing babies to full term, despite a doctor's prognosis.
"You have more peace about it in the end if you put it into God's hands," she said.
"Wonderfully Made" is available online at iUniverse.com, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com.