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.

Read about the "Silent Sorority" of barren women

Have you read Silent Sorority? I can’t put it down. In this memoir, author Pamela Mahoney Tsigninos tells the story of her struggle to get pregnant, trying all the techniques that modern science has to offer, before realizing she will have to accept her childless state as permanent. Yes, she is struggling with infertility while many of us are fertile but don’t have a partner who wants to make babies with us, but many of the challenges she faces, especially in the second half of the book, are the same. Indeed, her title echoes what most of us know: people don’t talk about this stuff much.

Tsigdinos writes with such a free-flowing easy style that I have already gotten halfway through the book in half a day. You can read about her and her book at www.silentsorority.com.

While I was blog-hopping yesterday, I came across Laura Carroll’s blog, called La Vie Childfree. Carroll is the author of Families of Two, which tells the stories of 15 married couples who have decided not to have children. She has published a fascinating post this week on the increasing number of Gen Xers who are not having children.

I also found http://gateway-women.com, a UK blog by psychotherapist Jody Day for the one in five women who don’t have kids. She calls us “nomos,” short for “not-mother.” You’ll find some good reading here, too.

Cheers.