Silent Sorority book offers insights for all childless people

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.

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4 thoughts on “Silent Sorority book offers insights for all childless people

  1. My finger's on the trigger to buy this book, but I'm hesitant. I've found that reading stories of “infertile couples” makes my heart sink even more. In those cases, husband and wife carry the sorrow together. In my case, I am the sorrowful one; I have no children because my husband doesn't want them. I feel alone in this pain, and I can't talk to my husband about it without making him feel like I'm accusing him of something (which I guess I sort of am). Does this book have anything to help those of us who are the “odd man out” in the infertile couple?

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  2. Hi professor. Honestly, no. Pamela's husband Alex wanted kids as badly as she did and was behind her all the way. Obviously I've got to get my book out there because nobody addresses this problem with more than a brief mention. The ebook will be out before Mother's Day.

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  3. My situation is that my husband has grown kids and is now infertile (due to vasectomy) and reproductive assistance is difficult because of my age. He very much sympathizes with me and has been very supportive. Do you rely on friends or other family members for support? If any parents cousins or siblings are living, do you share your grief with them or just conduct yourselves as though you wanted it to be this way? I'm just curious as to whether most of us feel alone with this or have been able to find comfort from other family members or friends outside the marriage.

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  4. Hi Anon,
    I had the same situation with the vasectomy and my husband having kids from a previous marriage. I have never pretended that this is the way I wanted things to be. I have made it clear to all friends and relatives that I wanted kids and was not able to have them. I think you have to be honest, especially with those people who keep bugging you about having kids. But we really don't talk about it much. I suspect everyone figures I “got over it” years ago.

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