We were graciously given one copy of Precious Infants: Courageous Stories of Premature Birth for review. All words and opinions are that of the blog contributor.
Many of our readers may not know that I have a background in art. I grew up with a pencil in my hand, drawing everything in sight, and I followed that path all the way through college, getting my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art. So when I was offered the opportunity to read and review Precious Infants: Courageous Stories of Premature Birth, which features beautiful pencil renderings of preemies alongside their birth stories, I was thrilled. Black and white pencil drawings have always been some of my favorites.
Artist Bethany Kerr is not a preemie parent, but she is a mother. The idea for the book came about when she shared her artwork to a preemie group and offered to draw a portrait for one randomly-selected parent. “Little did I know that I would fall in love with each and every little face that was shared,” says Kerr. “I realized that something inside me would not allow me to just draw one. Something was telling me I had to do more.” That one portrait turned into 50, and by the end of 2014, Kerr had drawn over 160 preemie portraits. 94 of them are included in this book.
Looking at photos of medically fragile babies isn’t easy. It often triggers emotions and memories in those of us who have struggled with preterm birth, endured NICU stays, and suffered the loss of a child. Bethany Kerr’s beautifully rendered drawings soften the view for us, allowing us to see the beauty in the baby whose life started a little too early.
What a gift she has given to these parents and these babies.
Many of the stories shared alongside the portraits have happy endings, stories of hope and strength and survival. Other stories tell a sadder tale, and those hurt my heart so much. But in those sad stories of loss, there is always love.
“A parent’s heart breaks to watch through the glass, hoping to be lucky to touch their baby who is not stable enough.” — Courtney Brown, “NICU Experience”
Kerr says that before she took on this project, she never really grasped all that preemies and their parents had to endure. “Knowing that there must be others like me, unaware of the heart wrenching battles faced in the NICU, it is my desire that this book will help to educate others,” she says. “I also hope that it will bring hope and encouragement to other parents who are in these situations today.”
It was my honor to review the book, and I can only wish that others find the same hope and joy from all of the drawings and stories that I did.