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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Harry Potter and JK Rowling

I've been thinking lately of writing a letter to JK Rowling. One of the things that got me through our ordeal over the summer was being able to read the Harry Potter series.

I had just started re-reading the series when I had my appointment at 16 weeks and had blood drawn to do the AFP test. I can vividly remember putting Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in my purse while the tech got everything ready to stick me.

I had Prisoner of Azakaban with me when we went into to have the level 2 ultrasound done. We had to wait a while because there had been an emergency, and I read most of it while sitting there. It helped to take my mind off what we might find out.

The day of our amnio, I had Goblets of Fire with me. I was so nervous, I was barely able to breathe, but reading the book kept me a little calmer than I would have been otherwise. It was like I was submerged in a world that wasn't my own. My world then wasn't something I could handle and didn't want to be in.

After the AFP test results came back, while waiting to have the amnio and then waiting on those results to come back, I had trouble sleeping. A lot of that time was spent researching the Internet for information on Trisomy 18, but when it was time for bed, I grabbed the Harry Potter book I was reading then. It relaxed me enough so that I could sleep. After we received the diagnosis of Trisomy 18, those books saved my sanity.

I took Order of the Phoenix with me to Atlanta. I took it to the abortion clinic with me. I could have chosen any book in the world to take with me to what was the scariest and worst experience of my entire life, but I chose Harry Potter. I was scared to death of what I was about to do and go through, but the book kept me calm. I read it after they told me there had been a mistake with my weight. I kept my eye on the book the entire time the waiting room was filling up with women who wanted to end their healthy pregnancies. I think being able to read the book kept me from yelling at them and telling them I would take their babies.

I kept reading, after they weighed me, while I was waiting on the ultrasound tech to come in and while I was waiting on the counselor. I needed that book to help me escape. After we were told we couldn't terminate and we went back to the hotel, I read the book until I fell asleep.

I took Half Blood Prince with me to the ultrasound where we were told Jenna had died, and it went to the hospital with me that night. After I came home, I finished the series. One of the things I picked up from the books is that death is not the worst thing in the world in some circumstances, which was true for what I was going through. Sometimes I wonder if those who are so against medical terminations don't realize that. One of my favorite quotes from the Sorceror's Stone is "To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure."

Jenna's world would have been pain-filled, and death was the better option for her. In Order of the Phoenix, Voldemort tells Dumbledore there is nothing worse than death. Dumbledore tells him he is wrong and then says, "Indeed, your failure to understand that there are things much worse than death has always been your greatest weakness..." I hope people can come to understand that many of us who wanted to say goodbye early wanted to do so because we think the kind of life our child would have under those circumstances is so much worse than death.

JK Rowling probably receives hundreds of thousands of letters a week, so if I did write to her, I doubt she would see it. Besides, how do you tell someone the series they created out of their mind saved your sanity? I'm not sure if I could put my gratitude into words. She was my writing hero before this summer because I wished I could create stories as well as she does, but she and her writing became my saving grace when I was going through the worst event of my life.


Julie Krum said...

Tamara, I think it is a wonderful idea for you to write to her. I'm sure she does receive thousands of letters, but she has to have someone preview those letters and pass on the best ones directly to her. As a fellow mother, I'm sure that she will appreciate and love to hear that her books gave you solace in one of the worst experiences any of us can imagine. What greater compliment could any artist crave than that!

Julie said...

I think you should write the letter, as well. I know that she can't read all of the mail that she gets, but she does read some of it!

Did you read the article on Yahoo yesterday where Stephen King compared JK Rowling to Stephanie Meyer (who wrote Twilight) and basically bashed Ms. Meyer? Mr. King has a very high horse... :)