Fertility Rites by Becki Blanton McGee
Hey guys, Lisa here. I'm so happy to introduce you to my really good friend and former college roommate, Becki. She is an amazing poet and her first chapbook is available for pre-order now! I've read this collection and it is heartbreaking and beautiful at once. And now, without further ado, here's Becki--
Fertility Rites is the story of my journey from the frustration of trying to conceive, to the joy of finally succeeding, and then, the devastation of losing my baby at 21 weeks. Most of the poems were written within a few months of the loss, but they were more than just a way to process my grief. When I shared some of them with friends who had experienced similar losses, their responses reinforced my conviction that I had to share my poems on a larger scale. So I organized them into a chapbook and began seeking a means of publication. I had pretty much decided to self-publish electronically when Fertility Rites was accepted for publication by Finishing Line Press. It is currently available for preorder at www.finishinglinepress.com and will ship in February. Since the number of preorders affects how large the print run will be, please help me spread the word.
Although the content is quite emotional (I recommend keeping a tissue box handy while reading), Fertility Rites ends on a note of hope. The final poem, entitled “From Whence Cometh My Help,” alludes to Psalm 121:1-2. I was inspired to write this poem while staying at Snug Hollow Farm, a B&B in the country outside of Irvine, Kentucky. It was there I came to understand these two verses in a way I never had before.
Snug Hollow Farm is remote and definitely in the hills. The sign that welcomed us to Irvine read, “where the mountains kiss the bluegrass.” Two curvy roads later, we turned down a narrow gravel lane that had so many twists and steep hills we weren’t sure our car was going to make it. Finally, we arrived and discovered the B&B had no television, no Internet, and our cell phones wouldn’t work. It was exactly the escape my husband and I needed. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.” Psalm 121:1
Away from the hustle and bustle of the world and surrounded by God’s creation, I could finally relax and let God speak to me. It was early May and flowers were blooming in profusion. The scent of honeysuckle was in the air. I felt such peace there. I sat soaking up the sunshine and marveling at the trees. They had just survived a flood and, years before, a forest fire. That night, after a tasty, home-cooked meal and hearing the owner’s amazing story, I lay in bed listening to a whippoorwill through the open window, a song I had not heard for many years. All of this was balm to my grieving soul.
“My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:2.Just in case I somehow missed what God was trying to tell me, He decided to personalize the message. I had been lying in a hammock by the lake and when I clumsily got up, I noticed a single flower growing beneath the hammock. It was a bluet, a tiny wildflower that just so happens to be my favorite. Several years ago, I wrote a poem about it which you can read now at www.versionsofchai.com. This bluet had two petals that were torn, but it was still growing, still turning its face toward the sun, and still “curling its toes up in the hills.” At that moment, I knew beyond any doubt God was speaking directly to me. As I stood by the lake staring down at that tiny flower, my journey toward healing began. I knew it would not be easy and dark days would still be ahead, but I knew I would survive.
Have you ever struggled with infertility or miscarriage? How did your road to healing begin?