Two Good Eggs

Two cracked eggs find the sunnyside (and funny side) of trying to conceive

Book Review: “Love and Infertility: Survival strategies for balancing infertility, marriage and life”

on January 14, 2013

I recently provided a few infertility support resources that were made available to me through my company’s awesome work/life center and promised you a review of a couple of the books.

This weekend, I cracked open the first one.  I have admittedly become smitten with the e-reader craze.  I had no real allegiance to turning the pages of a book – words are words to me, generally speaking.  I haven’t read a real “book” in at least two years.  But, the first book:  “Love and Infertility:  Survival strategies for balancing infertility, marriage and life” came to me free from my company’s library, so I reluctantly reverted back to doing it old school.   Quickly, I became engrossed in holding my finger in between pages that resonated with me.  I tapped my fingers on the back of the book as I read.  I was… comforted… to be reading a real book.

Then it hit me.  This book was like me.

A little old.  A little used.  A little less than perfect.  Slightly cracked and bent.  Not quite broken.

book2

With my Kindle, I tend to skim pages faster; skip ahead a little.  As a writer and English major, I am often guilty of skipping ahead and skimming because I can surmise the plot direction without having to invest in every word.  I realized as I read this old-ish book that I was taking my time, slowly turning the pages and reading every word.

I’m not as young as I used to be.  My pages are dog-eared and they don’t turn as quickly.  Maybe I need to stop pressing “next page” on this TTC journey and concentrate on each page a little longer.

Hmmmm.

Ok – so onto the review.

This book?  Awesome.  For me, anyway.  It was the perfect balance of humor, relate-ability, common sense and faith.  I didn’t want a “Let Go and Let God” devotional.  I didn’t want a book full of sad stories to let me know how “it could always be worse.”  I needed something more.  Kristen Magnacca gave me exactly what I needed.

You see, I have felt myself pulling away from life.  I felt as though I was forcing myself to be unhappy, disappointed and sad.  I pulled away from intimacy with my husband – unless, of course, it was Day 16-20 of my cycle.  TTC was not about intimacy at all.  It had become methodical and scientific.  And, as such, any time sex was presented during non-optimal baby-making time, it was a turn off.  Because it just came wrapped in a blanket of anxiety and doubt.  I let myself go – all I cared about was getting pregnant.  I became unhappy with my appearance, my attitude.  Then, I became self-conscious that I was unattractive (inside and out) to my husband, which in turn led me to push non-essential sex away.  I found myself in a downward spiral.

I have been yearning for a way to feel happy.  Allow myself to feel happy.  Remind myself why I love my husband (and not just his sperm).  Remind myself why I was loveable.

In a matter of two hours, this book helped me find the light at the end of the tunnel.

Written from the perspective of a woman who struggled for 10 years to have her 2 children, this book quickly showed me that a) I’m not alone; b) it’s ok to get angry; c) I need to focus on ME, as well as my marriage.  AND – I read it in two hours.  Without putting it down.

Each chapter ends in an exercise you can do alone or with your partner.  It’s not deep breathing or meditation.  It’s writing things down and holding yourself accountable.  And, the kicker:  My husband agreed to read it and do these exercises with me.

From the inside flap of the book:

How can you balance life, your marriage and the process of creating your family?When trying to create a family, a couple’s normal life can be immediately and radically changed. Overwhelming feelings of confusion, hopelessness, and loss of control can leave couples working to overcome infertility unable to communicate with each other or proceed calmly with their daily lives. The effort to create a baby overrides all other activities, and after a while, making love can turn into making work!

Love and Infertility provides a lifeline for couples struggling with infertility. Author Kristen Magnacca shares twenty-eight simple yet powerful strategies to help couples open lines of communication, maintain a sense of control over their lives, and help them deal with the changes they’ll face while working to become parents.

Divided into three sections—Creating Your Destiny, Communicating as One, and Rolling with the Changes—Love and Infertility offers insight and direction to help couples navigate the swamp of infertility. Kristen introduces each strategy with a true experience from her own long struggle with infertility and then provides a step-by-step system to implement the recommendation into daily life.

In Love and Infertility, you’ll find:

  • Twenty-eight effective strategies that correspond to the average twenty-eight day fertility cycle
  • Useful tips for couples in all stages of conceiving—from those just starting out to those who have been trying for years
  • Interactive exercises for men, for women, and for both partners together: goals lists, talking points, “red-flag” phrases, and the patented “Elevator Speech” to rescue you from any situation

Though this time of your life may be emotional and strenuous, Kristen’s words of wisdom can help you regain control of your life, your marriage, and your happiness. You don’t have to go through this alone!

Early in the book, she challenges the reader to write down 3-5 dreams they want to accomplish in the next year.  Write it on a colorful index card and keep it with you all the time – in your planner, your wallet, whatever.  Ask your husband to do the same.  Help each other fulfill those dreams.

I think mine are going to be:

  1. Lose 20 lbs.
  2. Be pregnant before I’m 39.
  3. Take a photography class.

It’s ok if one of them says “Get Pregnant.”  Because one of the other chapters talks about the power of positive thinking.  For 17 months, we’ve been “trying” to have a baby.  “Trying” sets you up for “failing” – whereas, “planning” sets you up for achieving.  Subtle difference in writing – but a big difference to your subconscious.

This book gives funny anecdotes about not being able to face another round of questions regarding your baby making plans, or another pregnant belly, but quickly follows up with smart ways to escape those situations (and give your partner signals that you need to escape).  It provides easy ways to rekindle the spark with your spouse and remember why you want a family with them in the first place.

For me, it just gave me hope.  And renewed faith in the process.  Something I haven’t felt in a year.

This book isn’t rocket science.  You’re not going to find the crazy secret post-sex position you haven’t heard of before, or a new way to check cervical fluid.  You’re going to find real ways to cope with your baby-making struggles, while  finding yourself and renewing the strength of your marriage in the process.  Oh, and yeah, God is in there a time or two.  But, for me, it was just the right amount.

Which brings me to the other book I was going to read:  “When Empty Arms Become a Heavy Burden.”

After reading “Love & Infertility” in two hours, I picked up “When Empty Arms” and immediately felt annoyed and disinterested.  This book was stuffy, laden with spiritual references and had an immediate sense of “Poor You!  Poor, poor you!”

I put it down after two pages and won’t be going back to it.  It may be helpful to some; but for me, I have been sad long enough.  I needed something to help me focus on what matters.

Kristen’s “Love and Infertility” got me out of my elastic-waist pants and actually motivated me to shave my legs.

Now THAT is a miracle.

//

Advertisements

5 responses to “Book Review: “Love and Infertility: Survival strategies for balancing infertility, marriage and life”

  1. Megan says:

    Thank you for reviewing this book! Your description of how you’ve been feeling towards life and your husband is EXACTLY how I have been feeling. Things have been very awkward between me and my husband lately, and when we tried to talk about it, it just ended up as a fight. I’ve been feeling lost, and the hope you felt after reading this book is the hope I’ve been wanting to feel again. I’m going to pop over to Amazon and order this ASAP. Thank you!!

  2. SunnySide says:

    Scrambled, I’m in tears after reading this and I can’t wait until my copy arrives later this week. I needed to hear everything you (and the author) just mentioned. Thank you for taking the time to truly open our eyes to the sunny side of “planning” to conceive. I think TTC should be a curse word around here now. PTC it is! Great review!!

  3. […] WE have time.  Especially since we’ve both decided to kick off 2013 with a new outlook on PTC (formerly known as TTC).   So, without further ado, we want to extend a big fat THANK YOU to the […]

  4. […] Ever since I read “Love and Infertility,” my perspective has been shifting slowly.  Sex has been more about sex and less about the expected result.   The BBT thermometer hasn’t come out of the medicine cabinet in 3 weeks.   I’ve found myself using words like “When” instead of “IF” and am just overall a happier, less-stressed person. […]

  5. […] ping-pong ball in a dryer.  Up, down.  Happy, sad.  Rational, irrational.  Gracious, jealous.  Content, Angry.  I’m the yin to my own yang these […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: