Monday, November 21, 2011

A Good and Perfect Gift: Review by Tricia Ann Teal Dutterer

Penelope Ayers BookOn Saturday, I received the book A Good and Perfect Gift in the mail. 

By Sunday evening.  Read.  Needless to say, I liked it. 

I related to so many areas of the book, I can hardly begin to tell you.  First of all, Amy Julia Becker's daughter, Penny, was diagnosed with Down syndrome after birth, just like Kamdyn was.  Reading someone describe their shock, fear, disbelief after that diagnosis hits pretty close to home for me. 

She recalls moments like ones with the doctors, where she realizes, "They don't know what to say." with the "grim faces and somber tones."

I remember so clearly wanting to "run away. Far away. Now"

Reading this book felt like sitting down to coffee with an old friend, and listening to their story.  And since there were so many parts of it that are similar to my own, at times, it felt like mine own, as well.

"Will I be able to be proud of her?  Will I be able to love her?"   "What if our families don't love her."  were my exact fears, just as she recounts.
The way she recounts the events that took place has a flow and rhythm that had me intent to follow along.  Her description of each stage of grief and acceptance was detailed and full of raw emotion.  "Do you still want to name her Penny?" she asks her husband.  Although I never vocalized my thought, I also wondered if we should still give our new baby the name "Kamdyn", that we had grown to love so much.  I wondered if maybe I should give her a different name, because she did feel like a different child than the one I had carried.

Becker writes, "I could predict the emotions, but I couldn't access them.  For now, I had to work it out in my head."  I remember being so devastated, that I just wanted to crawl away.  I didn't want to have visitors.  I didn't want to take pictures.  But I knew that I would get past the raw emotions.  I knew that acceptance and peace were waiting for me, but I could barely sort out how I felt at the time.  So I pushed myself to live.  Breathe.  Be.  As much as I could, because I knew the only way to figure it out was to live it.

Becker articulates so clearly the evolution we experience as we grow, accept who our child is, and find our way through what we feel is loss to experience joy, fulfillment, and peace.

She writes, ".....our highs will be higher and our lows will be lower than most parents.  That the joy will be more joyful, her accomplishment even more exciting.  But the fear and sadness will be deeper too."  So true.  And as we have grown, watched Kamdyn grow, and learned who she is, the joy outweighs the fears.

My book is full of highlighted sentences that struck me and brought memories flooding back.  I'm not a person who loves to read.  I've admitted that before.  But A Good and Perfect Gift is an easy read, and it will make you think about things in a light that leaves you with hope. 

I love how she describes little things that her daughter did that make you realize as a parent that, sure there are some differences, but you still have a baby, like any other, who laughs and plays and brightens your day.

So, go ahead.  Go get it.  Read it.  You know you want to.  You can buy it at  I think it would be a good Christmas gift for family and friends too. 

To follow Amy Julia on her journey, you can check out her blog, Thin Places.  In her latest blog, she recommends the book, The Year My Son and I Were Born, which is ironic, because I just finished that book last night.  And let me tell you, it's another good one.  So there's another review on it's way.

Tricia Ann Teal Dutterer
Life is Beautiful

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