Lizzie Lowrie is a Christian clergyman’s wife in the UK and one of the writers behind the popular, frank and earthy Christian blog about miscarriage and involuntary childlessness, Salt Water & Honey. Although what remained of my own childhood Christianity was eviscerated by the grief of childlessness, my spirituality survived and has returned to what was there before Sunday School – a deep sense of connection to the natural world; but that was hard-won too as there was a time when even that felt denied to me, exiled as I sensed I was from the natural cycles of birth and death.
Each of us has to find our own way through our dark night of the soul (I cover it in Chapter 9 of my own book, ‘Reconnecting to Your Source’) and Lizzie, as a practicing Christian, was no exception. And this is why I agreed to write the foreword to this beautiful book because, like Lizzie, it’s utterly relatable.
Below is my foreword for Lizzie’s book Salt Water & Honey: Lost Dreams, Good Grief and a Better Story (published March 13th). Lizzie’s also a guest on my free ‘Coping with Mother’s Day’ webinar on March 14th, (see more on that at the bottom of this blog) for which you can sign up here as well as having kindly written the most beautiful review of the new edition of my book which introduced me to a Bible phrase, ‘a cloud of witnesses’, which I can’t get out of my mind; it was good to be reminded what a luminous piece of literature the King James Version of the Bible is and what a huge influence it’s had on me as a writer…
Foreword to Lizzie Lowrie's memoir: Salt Water & Honey, by Jody Day
Whether you consider yourself a Christian or not, if you’ve experienced involuntary childlessness, it’s quite likely that your faith in life (let alone your faith in God) has been seriously shaken. Because not only does the blatant unfairness of involuntary childlessness bring us face to face with the inconvenient truth that life isn’t actually fair, it also reveals how utterly clueless most traditional faith-based communities and wider society are at acknowledging and supporting those grieving the family they longed for.
And this is why Lizzie’s earthy, frank and humane memoir is so important.
It’s a story of enduring multiple unexplained miscarriages whilst struggling to fit into her role as a Church of England vicar’s wife; a world full of ‘middle-class conversation, extravagantly fertile women and cake’, and the depths of despair she plumbed to make peace with that.
She recalls looking for advice on the internet about how long it might take her to get over a miscarriage, but finding nothing apart from women taking about getting pregnant again. As she writes, ‘the story of the in-between has no voice on the internet.’
This is the story of that in-between. Of being in-between the hope of motherhood whilst experiencing the heartbreak of multiple miscarriages. Of being in-between joy and envy when it seems that everyone else is sailing into parenthood leaving you behind. Of being in-between pregnant and unpregnant, even whilst carrying a child, and the medical profession’s cluelessness around this ambiguity. It’s about living in limbo in your body, your soul, your life, your marriage, your work, your friendships, your family, your community, your Church, your faith and your identity as a woman. And of the devastating sadness of feeling lost and alone in that in-between.
Deeply moving, tragic and shot through with dark humour this memoir charts Lizzie’s years of heartbreak and desolation over her inability to keep a baby alive in her womb, her sense of alienation from the community and faith that had formerly given her life purpose and her gradual redefinition of herself as a woman, a wife, a Christian – and as something much greater than her childlessness.
It’s also a moving love story of a marriage tested and not found wanting, even in the bleakest of times. About how breaking through the wall of silence around infertility, miscarriage, babyloss and childlessness can create a space for others to grieve their losses too, and in doing so can bring together a new kind of faith-based community, a grittier one built on helping others find their way through their dark nights of the soul, with the loving support of those who’ve been there too.
This book is a story about finding something else at the end of the rainbow other than that longed-for baby; it’s about a different kind of happy ending that the one you expected. It’s about redemption, but not in the way you’d imagined. And a lot of cake.
Mother's Day Support
Free ‘Coping with Mother’s Day’ Webinar – Jody Day & Guests – Sat 14th March, 5pm GMT
Join me and my guests as we look at some of the different ways experiences of childlessness and Mother’s Day can painfully intersect, seeking to offer you insight, support and self-care tips. Everyone who registers will be entered into a prize draw to win a free signed copy of the new edition of my book Living the Life Unexpected.
My Guests include:
- Lizzie Lowrie (UK) is the author of Salt Water & Honey in which she writes about the struggle to cope with her childlessness alongside her Christian faith. Lizzie created the ‘Mother’s Day Runaway Services’ as a safe Christian alternative service to Mothering Sunday events;
- Kate Kaufmann (USA), author of Do You Have Kids? Life When the Answer is No will talk about her experience of being both childless and grandchildless on Mother’s Day;
- Lauren de Vere (UK), a licensed Gateway Women facilitator, will share about her experience of being narcissistically mothered, and how this impacts her feelings around Mother’s Day;
- Karin Enfield de Vries (NL), a licensed Gateway Women facilitator, will share about her experience of becoming childless at the relatively young age of 33 due to cervical cancer, before many of her friends and family had even started having children and how she’s learned to navigate Mother’s Day.
Live, all-day moderated Mother’s Day support chat in the Gateway Women Online Community, Sunday 22nd March, 7am-midnight GMT
The Gateway Women Online Community will be running a live chat support from 7am-midnight on UK Mother’s Day, Sunday 22nd March. Womanned by moderators and volunteer members from around the globe, we hosted this last UK Mother’s Day as well as at Christmas and it was a big hit. We will also be running this on International Mother’s Day on 10 May. You can find out more, join or access the GW Online Community at www.gateway-women.com/community The first month is free and it’s a modest fee (or free) thereafter. New members are manually ID-checked so please don’t wait till Mother’s Day to join as it can take up to 72 hours!
What's your experience?