SHELBY TOWNSHIP — A lot of people who go through hard times come out of their struggle hoping that no one else has to experience what they did, but very few of them write a book about it.
Deanna Kahler knew that she had a story to tell. Although she had amassed many years of writing experience in her career with companies like Campbell Ewald, Kmart and ArvinMeritor, she had never written a book before. It took a harrowing personal journey through multiple miscarriages and a long road to adoption to convince her that the time was right to try her hand at one.
“As an author, you need to have a topic that really inspires you and that you’re really passionate about — and this was it for me,” said the 44-year-old Shelby Township resident. “I realized that by sharing my own story, I could help other women who are going through the same thing.”
After spending about a year writing and researching, Kahler finished her book, “From Pain to Parenthood: A Journey Through Miscarriage to Adoption,” this spring and had it published May 8. It chronicles her path to becoming a mother step by step, beginning with two miscarriages in her 30s that led to a difficult period filled with depression, anxiety and self-doubt.
“What a lot of people don’t realize is that having a miscarriage feels just like losing a child,” she said. “You react the same way that you would if a close family member or some other loved one had died. It’s a grieving process, and it’s very hard. You start to wonder whether you’ll ever be able to have children.”
While these were dark times for Kahler and her husband, Paul, such feelings of hopelessness eventually subsided and she was able to move forward. As Kahler explained, “From Pain to Parenthood” is ultimately a story about perseverance and the power of the human spirit.
“So many women have experienced infertility and miscarriages, and a lot of times, they feel like they’re all alone,” she said. “But I want to inspire them and encourage them and let them know that they’re not alone.”
Kahler’s fortunes began to turn around when she and Paul opted to pursue adoption. After deciding that another pregnancy was not worth the risk, they reached out to an adoption agency in Utica. They had to wait about two years for a domestic newborn adoption, but they were able to receive financial support in the form of a $10,000 state tax credit that greatly reduced the $15,000 cost. The new parents were able to meet their baby daughter — Katie, who is now 7 — within 15 minutes of her birth and bring her home the next day.
It took a lot longer than they had planned, but it had finally happened: They had started a family. And as Kahler explains in “From Pain to Parenthood,” no matter how heartbreaking or frustrating of an experience it was to get there, the final result made it all worth it.
“There were so many hoops to jump through, but I couldn’t be happier with the way everything worked out,” she said. “And I really wanted to make sure that came across in this book. There are a lot of books out there about miscarriages, and there are a lot of books about adoption, but there really aren’t any that try to address both. This is a whole book about the process of becoming a parent.”
So far, readers appear to be impressed with “From Pain to Parenthood.” Michelle Peruski, of Maryville, Tenn., one of Kahler’s longtime friends, believes that the book has “universal appeal” and praised it for giving such an honest, intimate account of the challenges involved with miscarriage and adoption.
“Having never experienced either of those things myself, I think this is a really enlightening look into what it’s like,” she said. “It’s a really up-close, personal story that traces Deanna’s own struggles. If you know anyone who is going through this right now, I think it can provide a lot of great advice and resources for them.”
Professional book reviewers have also found a lot to love about the book. In a review for the website Readers’ Favorite, writer Maria Beltran gave “From Pain to Parenthood” four stars and called it “a heart-wrenching story,” as well as an “emotional and practical guide” about the journey to motherhood.
“This is a very personal and emotional issue that some women may feel very uncomfortable talking about,” Beltran wrote. “Society, without necessarily saying so, seems to look at childless married women as inadequate, so it becomes difficult for them to overcome their feelings of inadequacy, guilt and loss. This is a book that tells them that it’s all right to grieve and that there is a way to make their dream of having a family come true.”
Kahler currently has a fiction book in the works that is planned for release in 2014, but for now, she wants to keep spreading the word about “From Pain to Parenthood.”
She will do exactly that from 2-4 p.m. June 8, when she will host a book signing at Fieldstone Winery, 223 S. Main St., in downtown Rochester. Guests can meet the author, and copies of her book will be available for purchase.
“The main thing that I want people to take away from this book is hope — hope that someday, they can have the family that they’ve always dreamed of,” she said. “I’ve been through a lot in my life, but I was lucky enough to have a happy ending. I’m not saying that everyone else will, too, but they should at least know that it’s possible.”
Copies of “From Pain to Parenthood” can be purchased at www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com. For more information, visit http://dkahler.wix.com/book.