I haven’t read very many books on infertility, in fact this is the first. If you know me you might think that’s odd considering I do a fair amount of reading. I’ve just always preferred to read about the baby part, What To Expect When You’re Expecting, rather than the struggle part. I get all my struggle knowledge firsthand, thank you.
A couple weeks ago I came across an article talking about link between infertility and PTSD… Post Traumatic Infertility Stress Disorder or PTIFSD.
“Infertility awareness requires not only an understanding and recognition of the disease itself but of what that disease can do to us.”
I found validation in that article and discovered the author had also written a book -so I ordered it.
Firstly, it was written in 2004. You and I both know medicine advances can change dramatically in that amount of time, the same is true for fertility medicine. However, most of what’s written is still relevant even if not perfectly up to date. If you’re on the fence or confused about what procedures come with signing up for infertility treatment this is a perfectly good place to start. It breaks things down and gives you a good foundation to begin to ask your doctor informed questions about your health and what you might be getting into.
There’s no sugar-coating here; in fact, the author is afraid of needles, she might have you unduly worried about needle size and placement. While she gets you concerned over drug side-effects, which DO happen but don’t ALWAYS happen (I have had very little), she also tells you it’s okay to have bad days. To be devastated and excited in turn as you go through this process. It’s very reassuring for someone who’s gone through things multiple times to say “you can do it” and also “you don’t have to do it”.
She talks about the money involved in treatment, navigating insurance, managing stress, telling your family and friends, and even about choosing adoption. I also like that there is an entire reference section of resources to help you with what’s next; be that support groups, immunology, adoption, surrogacy, etc.
My biggest peeve with the book is actually the way the author constantly reminds us of how smart she is, especially during the first several chapters. There’s multiple mentions of “putting on the white coat” so she can explain these complex medical procedures with big words. I find that totally unnecessary. I also disliked later in the book where she talks about marriage trouble and assumes her four years of therapy are enough to allow her to comment on your marriage. There are many instances of her joking, sarcastic, snarky inserts added to the writing in parenthesis where I rolled my eyes, or sighed in frustration.
Advice to milk your treatment trauma with your husband who has gotten off easy during this process bothers me. She does later talk about being a support for your guy if you’re dealing with male-factor infertility but I find it insulting to assume husbands need you to use your bad days as leverage for pampering. Maybe I’m over-sensetive to husband criticism or over-optimistic about the majority of the husband population. I do believe that this process makes you more intimate on an emotional level and simply asking for what you need is usually enough. Don’t underestimate the toll it takes on a man to see his wife go through this process. He’s not blind to that or immune to the excitement/devastation rollercoaster.
So, if you’re on Goodreads (let’s be friends) my review rating is 3 stars. I liked The Infertility Survival Handbook. I didn’t love it, though it had very good info, and I didn’t hate it, though it had some problems. Also, if you’re really wanting to read it, let me know, I’ll gladly send you my copy!
Is there an infertility book you think I should read? Recommended away!
Until next time -♡.