I just finished reading Silent Sorority by Pamela Mahoney Tsigdinos. This is a story about infertility and its effects on a couple’s life. Like so many people, Mahoney assumed that when the time was right, she would conceive as easily as most of her friends and family had. But it didn’t happen. She takes us through her decade-long struggle to get pregnant, which ended after their second attempt at in vitro fertilization failed. That’s about halfway through the book. After that, she shares her grief and depression, anger, and attempts to find other “infertiles” like her. Eventually, she found a sisterhood with her blog, www.coming2terms.com, and then this book.
Those of us who are not infertile, just childless by marriage or circumstance or even choice, might wonder why we should read this book, but it’s well-told story that carries the reader along, and it gives an excellent picture of what it’s like not to have children in a world where no one else seems to understand what you’re going through. Visit Pamela’s website and new blog at http://www.silentsorority.com.
So what does this have to do with those of us who are childless by marriage? It’s a good question. I loved this book. For some reason, I lap up tales of pregnancy and childbirth, as well as stories of unsuccessful attempts at pregnancy and childbirth. When a character in a novel is pregnant, I suddenly get very interested. Is this because I’m curious? Jealous? Wanting to live vicariously?
Tsigdinos talk a lot about “fertiles” and “infertiles.” That kind of puts us “childless by marriage” people in a weird place. As far as I know, I would fall in the “fertiles” group. I don’t know of any physical reason why I couldn’t have had a baby. Fred’s vasectomy made it impossible. So I guess he was infertile. Did that make us infertile as a couple? I suppose so.
Anyway, we may or may not identify with all the medical machinations of Tsigdinos’ attempts to get pregnant, but I bet we can identify with her grief at not being able to have kids and her anger at the stupid questions people ask, the insensitivity of people who flaunt their pregnancies and their children in our faces, and the feeling of not fitting in.
Our situation is tough, but I think people dealing with infertility, miscarriages,and stillbirths, people who spend years unsuccessfully trying to have a baby, have a much harder time and deserve our compassion.
I have added this book to the list of books and resources at my Childless web page, http://www.suelick.com/Childless.html. You might want to take a look.
I’d love to hear what you think about all this.