“Precoius Babies: Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting after Infertility” by Kate Brian
Kate Brian is also the author of “The Complete Guide to Female Infertility” and “The Complete Guide to IVF”. I read the IVF book shortly before I thought I would be doing that procedure and it was a very comprehensive read.
She has also experienced her own infertility and has two children from IVF.
Kate uses this comprehensive approach, plus interviews with relevant people to back up her book. She goes through every possible stage of the parenting process, so that it is also a bit “what to expect when you’re expecting” as well. What is different, though, is that every now and then she infuses the infertility perspective in.
She begins with the actual positive pregnancy test. I could relate to this. I definitely had a lot of worry involved in mine, particularly as it was a weak positive at first and the fear did not go away. I think people in the IF community are so used to the negative result that a positive can be uncharted territory. We are so used to failure, that to finally have our dreams come true is a shock.
Although you have “crossed over” to motherhood, a part of you remains behind. You never forget the struggle it took to get there. As one of her examples explains, it wasn’t the procedure that was so awful, it was the waiting. For me this is true. I only had two IUIs, but it was all the time passing, and my depleting fertility that sucked more life out of the situation.
Pregnancy is not the carefree experience it may be for others, and it may not feel real. Birth may also not land up being everything you wanted. As an older mom and as a result of the laparoscopy, I had to settle for a Caesarean. The early days of dealing with a baby are also compounded by the sense of responsibility for this life you have longed for for so long. However, dealing with the ups and downs of infertility only increases your coping skills when dealing with a baby.
I think everyone will have sections that resonate for them, but for me it was about trying again, and the only child. She covers how treatment differs the second time around, especially if you have a kid in tow. Also the issue of when to start trying again needs to be balanced with the needs of your child.
If treatment doesn’t work you need to be prepared for the reality of an only child. Experts say there are positives to the situation (such as economic) although it will be a different experience. You have to deal with your own disappointment, other people’s expectations and your own child wanting a sibling. She also spends time debunking myths e.g. that only children are selfish, lonely or can’t make friends. You do need to make sure that they spend time with friends their own age. I’m really hoping to have another child, but I also like to be prepared for the worst.
She has an interesting section on family life and donor families. She makes the point that you need to be open with your kids about how they were conceived.
Infertility can even affect the teenage years and beyond, if you can think that far ahead. As much as you value your child and enjoy the closeness of the early years, as they grow older you need to learn the art of letting go.
Kate even interviewed children who were conceived using IVF and found it was a non-issue. However she found them to be very grounded individuals who knew they were loved and cherished. At least this is a positive result!