Babyface by Jeanne McDermott
A Story of Heart and Bones

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Synopsis

"A period of grace usually accompanies the birth of a child. For a fleeting and sacred whisper of time, joy swaddles a newborn so tightly that those who love the child refuse to see or imagine that he is anything but perfect," observes Jeanne McDermott in Babyface. But when McDermott's second son, Nathaniel, is born with Apert syndrome-a craniofacial condition so rare that it occurs in 1 out of 100,000 births-there is no denying he looks different. He has a tall head, bulging brow, mitten fingers, and webbed toes.

McDermott's intelligent and poignant memoir offers an intimate look at how her ideas of perfection and wholeness were turned upside down. It reveals much more than the countless visits and consultations with doctors and several harrowing surgeries that Nate needs in infancy. As an experienced science journalist and the mother of a child who is deeply loved but never anticipated or imagined, McDermott explores her circumstances on many levels: Her own and her family's emotional survival; genetic and ethical questions regarding disability; beliefs about beauty; and what it means to be human.

McDermott's experience will resonate with other families who have been to the outskirts of normal. She grapples with intense fears about her son's future, reactions to staring, and feelings of isolation and loss. But Babyface also speaks to everyone about the transforming powers of love and the breath-taking exaltation of being alive. It's what her heart tells her that is ultimately most rewarding for McDermott.

This is a compelling invitation to share in the author's inspiring if "unsettling knowledge that some of what we most treasure in life are things that we might never choose." It's an invitation no reader will regret accepting.

 

About Jeanne McDermott

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Jeanne McDermott has written for Smithsonian, Horticulture, The Wall Street Journal, Popular Science, and other publications. She was a Knight Fellow and currently a science teacher.
 
Published October 1, 2000 by Woodbine House. 261 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, Parenting & Relationships, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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