I just finished a memoir about life after infertility. It is essentially a memoir about a woman’s struggle with IF then her journey to try to start over in life as a child free woman when her treatment options failed. It was a fascinating read and really made me feel a mixture of emotions and my mind a dichotomy of thoughts.
She desperately tries many paths to get pregnant- ending her effort after two failed IVF cycles and I believe two FETs. Her angst and bravery and agony and resilience is most definitely inspiring. I feel so beyond fortunate that one of my IVF cycles brought me my boy- I cannot imagine ending this hell with no child. the mere thought cripples me with depression. How she has moved past it and spent so much of her life trying to break the silence by sharing her story is amazing.
She made a number of great observations- one that really stuck out was how our society in many ways does not really validate women until or unless they become a Mom. It was heartbreaking to read about her own experiences and I certainly have noticed my own. While I never talk about my son to anyone who is baby making age without a baby, it made me so much more aware of how I talk and act out in the world. I am careful not to say anything flippant or potentially hurtful.
There were a few parts of the book I found unsettling. One- how she was seemingly derogatory towards donor eggs, adoption etc. While she is careful to specify it wasn’t right for them but can be for others- her judgemental phrasing and comments were pretty disparaging. I think the fact that there are so many options to grow a family and have a child is a truly beautiful thing. The people that choose this path do so with an open heart, often a wounded past and a beautiful soul. It was hard not to be turned off by her attitude to these alternative options.
The second thing that was unsettling to me was her hatred and anger towards fertiles. I think part of the reason I find this unsettling is because I have some of those same irrational feelings and seeing them written on paper was like looking in a mirror and not liking what you see. But another larger part of me feels like I have worked past so much of that resentment and understand that no one else has my baby and that everyone is on their own path and usually doing the best they can. Insensitive comments and actions by Fertiles are so often completely ignorant. They have not been given the perspective we all have.
Let me say that I totally recognize that these criticisms are coming from someone who has her own version of a happy ending. My own judgement is not fair or balanced since I have not walked in her shoes. I have purposefully left out the name of the book and author because I don’t want to publicly place criticism.
However– I left the book feeling grateful that I carry with me a huge sense of optimism and gratitude. It inspires me to continue my effort and need to leave this battle proud of the person I was when I fought it. I want to look back and feel like I kept perspective and grace and optimism when it wasn’t easy (like now when I am heading into IVF try 10 and facing potential surgery). I need to hang onto my pride in who I am. I need to leave this battle still loving the person I was and the person I have become. It helps to have so many of you ladies to gain inspiration from like My Perfect Breakdown, Quest of Binky Moongee and so many others. Not everyday will we fight valiantly and act honorably but if we can stay the course the best we can, we can love who we are on the other side.
Love to you all on this beautiful Sunday. Xo