She knew they would only have a few fleeting months together, but in that time Sarah's unborn daughter would transform her understanding of beauty, worth, and the gift of life. Happily married and teaching history at the University of Oxford, Sarah Williams had credentials, success, and knowledge. It took someone who would never have any of these things to teach her what it means to be human. This extraordinary true story begins with the welcome news of a new member of the Williams family. Sarah's husband, Paul, and their two young daughters share her excitement. But the happiness is short-lived, as a hospital scan reveals a lethal skeletal dysplasia. Birth will be fatal. Sarah and Paul decide to carry the baby to term, a decision that shocks medical staff and Sarah's professional colleagues. Sarah and Paul find themselves having to defend their child's dignity and worth against incomprehension and at times open hostility. They name their daughter, Cerian, Welsh for "loved one." Sarah writes, "Cerian is not a strong religious principle or a rule that compels me to make hard and fast ethical decisions. She is a beautiful person who is teaching me to love the vulnerable, treasure the unlovely, and face fear with dignity and hope." In this candid and vulnerable account, Sarah brings the reader along with her on the journey towards Cerian's birthday and her deathday. It's rare enough to find a writer who can share such a heart-stretching personal experience without sounding sappy, but here is one who at the same time has the ability to articulate the broader cultural issues raised by Cerian's story. In a society striving for perfection, where worth is earned, identity is constructed, children are a choice, normal is beautiful, and deformity is repulsive, Cerian's short life raises vital questions about what we value and where we are headed as a culture. Perfectly Human was first published in the United Kingdom as The Shaming of the Strong. This edition includes a new afterword by the author.
I don't question the heartbreak in hearing that the child you've planned to give birth to has no chance of living
The main reason for feeling this way is because she already had two children, one of whom had a serious health problem and needed a mother's comforting and care.
Devout Christians will probably love the book. For the rest of us, it's only a tale of suffering.
This book explores the moral and ethical issues of such a choice and the pressure she and her family experiences as the results of this decision.
On page 43 she states in quoting theologian Jurgen
In the Epilogue, written years later after Cerian died, the author raised the issues of being human and what that means to us today in 2018.
This is a thought provoking book that raises the issue of abortion,assisted suicide, and the power of love for those of us who care for the handicapped.
"Even though the image of God is marred in all of us as a result of sin, our intrinsic worth as
This book was written with
In the epilogue, written several years after the book itself, the author talks about how our society strives for perfection, and in doing so we’re dumbing down what it means to be human. “Precious though we all understand children to be, we behave as if they were commodities - - commodities that we acquire as an extension of ourselves. We have grown familiar with the idea of conferring personhood selectively on the ones we choose at the time we choose them in the form we find desirable, preferable, and acceptable. Indeed, in the Western world, choosing what we desire has become the essence of what it means to be human.”
The writing was good, but the constant bible verses were very off putting.
Sarah is happily married and teaching history at the University of Oxford — with academic credentials, success, and
She and her husband find themselves having to explain their decision to bring to term their already cherished baby, whom they call Cerian (Welsh for “loved one.”) They face disbelief and even outright hostility from others.
As Sarah writes, “Cerian is not a strong religious principle or a rule that compels me to make hard and fast ethical decisions. She is a beautiful person who is teaching me to love the vulnerable, treasure the unlovely, and face fear with dignity and hope.”
In this tear-inducing and inspirational memoir, the author describes her heart-stretching journey towards Cerian's birthday and death-day. She does so without self-pity, rather expressing gratitude for the gift of Cerian and her lessons about the value of a life, no matter how perfectly “imperfect.”
For Sarah C. Williams and her husband Paul, the decision to carry their severely deformed daughter to term comes without much consideration for the alternative - termination. Sarah rejects advice from
Sarah's memoir is a vulnerable, honest, and heartbreaking account of her 9 Months with Cerian. Sarah discovers that her daughter, while imperfect in the eyes of the world, is actually a very perfect gift. She begs us to consider the questions: What does it mean to be human? What defines a human being's worth or value?
Grounded in her faith and belief that all life is valuable and should be treasured, Sarah has shared her story with the world in hopes that we will also look beyond a person's physical and mental abilities and find their true worth.
This book had some Biblical/Religious references and I am not religious; I say this not in any negative comment, but simply to say that I probably was not connected with the material as much as someone who has the same beliefs or has studied the Bible and yet still - my overall comment is, "wow". I truly enjoyed this book and the messages it had about Love. Thank you Ms. Williams for sharing your story openly.