Perfectly Human

Sarah Williams is happily married and teaching at Oxford in England. She has credentials, the mind of a scholar, and two charming young daughters. News comes of a third pregnancy. The news is welcomed as the Williams family all shares in the excitement.

The excitement is short-lived, however, when a hospital scan reveals skeletal dysplasi in the baby in Williams’ womb. Williams’ physician informs her that the birth of the baby will be fatal and the child in her womb likely will die before the birth or just a few minutes after. This is precisely what happened.

Soon after the diagnosis, Williams decides to carry the child and her husband concurs. The medical staff is quite surprised when the Williams’ decide Sarah will carry the baby to full term. They name the baby Cerian — Welsh for “loved one.”

In Perfectly Human (Plough Publishing, 2018) Sarah Williams — wife, mother and Oxford researcher and professor — tells her story of deciding to carry Cerian in her womb, whatever befalls her or the baby.

As she struggles with the diagnosis and with what she should do, Williams felt that God said to her, “Sarah, you have a very ill child. I need for you to take care of her for me. Will you do that for me?”

Williams’ account is honest, touching, inspiring and sobering. What an incredibly difficult decision Sarah and her husband, Paul, are faced with. The two of them have many frank discussions and Sarah lets us in on them. As Cerian — this very sick child — grew in Sarah’s womb, Sarah, Paul and their young daughters grew to love Cerian very deeply.

I found the book to be moving, full of wisdom and shock full of incredible perseverance and deep and abiding love. Highly recommended! Williams gives no pat answers so don’t read it if that’s what you want. In fact, she struggles — mightily — and the reader struggles along with her. If you tackle this book, and I hope you will, it will make you think about the deep issues of life and death and decisions facing us as we make decisions as we travel along through the rhythms of life.