The Raving Theist

Dedicated to Jesus Christ, Now and Forever

2007 June

Beyond Expectations

June 6, 2007 | 40 Comments

“You are a stupid duped deluded idiot.” It was my custom to speak to religious people bluntly, and so three years ago I e-mailed that observation to a woman named Ashli after our paths had crossed on another blog. She might have taken more offense than she did but for various distractions, which, as I learned once our discussions veered away from religion and politics, included the fact that her emaciated, jaundiced, bedridden body was vomiting forth, up to 40 times a day, whatever nutrients could be pumped into it with an industrial-strength IV line.

She was suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), a debilitating pregnancy-related disease which effectively makes the mother allergic to the fetus. Eight years earlier she had lost her first child to it by way of abortion. She devoted a blog to that tragedy. At the time we first corresponded she was running a second site to track her latest and most difficult battle with HG. Some of her posts were pro-life, although she confessed that the same fingers that typed them had only months earlier leafed through the yellow pages in search of another clinic to end the misery.

That pregnancy was ultimately terminated but with the live, healthy birth of a beautiful little baby girl. What made the difference was a book, a book that she was writing about coping with the disease. In the years I had spent extolling the virtues of reason, this devout homeschooling Christian had produced a 489-page work of cold, hard science. It combines a decade of painstaking medical research with the testimony of her own body and that of the numerous HG patients whose stories are set forth within.

Although Ashli is a talented writer, the market for self-published works combining vomiting, crying and aborting with medical information is limited to those who most desperately need them. But last week Ashli’s story was featured on Paula Zahn Now on CNN and it nearly cracked Amazon’s top 1,000 list. By this year’s end she hopes to place one, free of charge, in the hands of every ob/gyn whose address she can find. She is also distributing copies to needy expectant mothers their and caregivers through charity events and various internet channels. The book will never be a bestseller like those atheist manifestos by Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens, but the good it will do shall by far surpass them.

We are heartened by the publicity and reception this unpalatable but livesaving text has thusfar received. I am proud of the extraordinarily professional work my webmistress, Chris Michaud, in creating and maintaining the book’s promotion and distribution website. An enormous debt of gratitude is also owed to Dawn Eden, who has worked quietly but tirelessly behind the scenes to promote the book for many months — even while on tour for her own book — and whose selfless efforts are largely responsible for bringing the book the attention it deserves.

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