Since I’m making such a public display of my infertility story so that others can learn from my experiences, I thought it was about time to add in a little “scholarly” twist to the posts. A few months ago I borrowed Conquering Infertility by Alice Domar from the library. And let me tell you, there’s nothing like having to ask at the library front desk for your interlibrary order for a book on infertility, especially when the clerk is a wide-eyed teenager. But like mail delivery men and women, they know everybody’s secrets.
Anyway, back to the book. I had stumbled upon it by accident through a random search on my library’s catalog. It was about the time that I began thinking I should probably get educated on this thing called infertility, especially if it’s not exactly reversible and therefore not going away anytime soon. After all, a year earlier I had purchased What to Expect Before You’re Expecting from a closing Borders store and had read it in less than week – skipping over the chapter on infertility, of course. I needed to hear from an expert on the matter now that it was a reality. The excerpt on the library webpage seemed promising, and compared with other books that came up when I typed in “infertility” – Chinese medicine and natural solutions to infertility – I thought a doctor from Harvard wasn’t a bad place to start.
The book was a very quick read, although I should tell you now that I did not finish the entire book and here’s the two reasons why: I didn’t feel like it was telling me anything new and I am not without coping mechanisms for loss. Let me address the latter issue first. Much of the discussion of the book is about helping you to identify the people in your life who can help you get through such a rough time. How strong is your relationship with your partner? How much can you lean on each other? Write out your feelings. Find a support group to talk about your feelings. Prepare your relationship for the strain that it’s going to face. Acknowledge your loss and use natural treatments like meditation to work through them. These are all great suggestions, especially if the diagnosis of infertility brought you to the lowest place you’ve ever been spiritually and emotionally. Dr. Domar is very gentle but also insistent upon her methods, so that by the time you get halfway through the book she’s repeated her advice enough for you to have really learned it. It’s just that in this respect I’d already been using my coping skills.
And the second reason: Dr. Domar was one of the first medical doctors to embrace mind/body healing practices for the treatment of infertility. The book offers practical suggestions for how to embrace some of these treatments at home in addition to basic descriptions of medical treatments for infertility, and how you might start discussing with your partner how you will handle those costs. Again, for someone who’d already embraced natural treatments and who had already worked through the hardest issues with her partner, it wasn’t really groundbreaking news for me. But for a beginner, it would be very much worth it.
I would also recommend this book for anyone experiencing depression as a result of infertility. This book is about learning to accept the diagnosis, logically discern your options, make a decision, and be able to move on. At one point I had put down the book and thought, “This book is for people who have really given up.” That’s just not me, not yet. My name is Hope, after all.