Today I’m excited to talk with author of A Story of Pregnancy and Faith: In hope of what we cannot see. Dorette Skinner is from South Africa and lives in Thailand and she has shared at A Life Overseas before. Read to the end for a surprise. Without further ado, my conversation with Dorette.
Thank you for sharing a bit of your story today. What is your book about?
Hi Amy, it’s my pleasure. A little over a year ago I became pregnant the second time. And while my baby was being shaped in my womb, an idea started to take shape in my mind. As a physical therapist, I was not new to the idea of pregnancy – I even gave a few prenatal and antenatal classes years ago. But with my first pregnancy I realized that nothing I have learned could truly prepare me for the experience. I think the same is true in faith, we often learn more as we grow than we can ever study in books. I wanted a physical reminder of all the lessons I’ve learned along the way. Preferably in a format I could share with others, because my greatest desire during my pregnancy was to know that I was not alone. As my second pregnancy played out, it naturally became a story filled with thoughts and reflections of not only being pregnant, but learning to live in a foreign country and how to share the good news with those around me. By the time I gave birth I had a baby and also the first draft of a manuscript. A few months later I ‘gave birth’ to a story of pregnancy and faith.
Lots of people want to write a book, but you actually did it! What compelled you to complete this book?
Great question. I always loved writing and I was scribbling out poems since I can remember. Because English is my second language I’m sure it wasn’t very good. But writing also became my coping mechanism and way of making sense of the world. I actually wrote a book once when I was in my early twenties – the same idea of writing a chapter each month for a year. So I knew it was doable (even if I’m grateful I never published that book – I still had too much left to learn). I started blogging about three years ago and thought if I ever had an idea that could not possibly fit into a 700 word blog post, I would like to attempt writing a book again. I don’t like books where it feels like you’re just reading the same thing over and over again in different words. Because I had no idea how my own story would end, it made it more interesting. So all the plot twists and turns of the second story also took me by surprise… In the end being able to finish the book became something positive to focus on in the midst of great loss. And I am grateful that God (in His grace) do not only provide ways for us to cope, sometimes He can also use our imperfect stories to encourage others.
How else are you helping pregnant expat women?
Because I am very isolated (There are no other expat mothers in the small town where we live), I have to keep on reaching out to old friends or seek community online. I found that many groups are mostly topic related, discussing pregnancy, breastfeeding or potty training and every time your child is past that stage you have to move on to the next. So I started a Facebook Group for pregnant moms called “Moms Growing Since 16’/17” and invited my pregnant friends from all over the world, with the idea that we can grow together as our children become older and go through the same stages. I’m excited to see if God will open any other doors in the near future to come alongside pregnant women/new moms. Especially to encourage women who also find themselves isolated in this season of motherhood.
This book isn’t just for pregnant women. Who else could benefit or enjoy this book?
I think because it a story, anyone who like reading about other people’s experiences and getting a peek into a different place or culture would enjoy reading it. Especially those who have a heart for serving cross-culturally. I wrote mostly with women in mind, so men may not appreciate some of the details. It is not a “how to” book, a “40 week devotional” or “what to expect when you’re expecting” kind of book. I hope it will be a “me too” book instead and I like to think even women who are not pregnant would be able to relate to my story in some way.
What have you learned from having a baby and writing a book that has helped you living overseas?
I have learned that something as little as 500 words written every second day during nap times can add up to a manuscript. That God’s design is amazing and with Him on our side we can not only do hard things, but come out better on the other side.
What is your hope for people who read this?
I hope that by sharing my imperfect story, it will give others permission to embrace their own. Knowing that they are not alone and as we grow in faith it can sometimes be uncomfortable in this world, but it will be totally worth it in the end!
Dorette, thanks for sharing a bit of your journey as an author and mom with us.
Have you been pregnant on the field? Leave a comment (even if you haven’t been pregnant, I haven’t and I enjoyed this book immensely) and you might win a copy of Dorette’s book. Winners will be notified by Friday.