I love my local library's book blog.
It's always got a really nice mix of books, and I know many of the reviewers personally, so I get a real charge out of seeing what they're reading. Recently, one of my favorite reviewers posted about Peggy Orenstein's book Cinderella Ate My Daughter, and although CRjr is a boy, I thought about reading it. But then I noticed that Orenstein is also the author of an earlier book, titled Waiting for Daisy: A Tale of Two Continents, Three Religions, Five Infertility Doctors, an Oscar, an Atomic Bomb, a Romantic Night, and One Woman's Quest to Become a Mother, about her struggle with infertility, and something about that just appealed to me.
This is another book that I was lucky to find while I was in a reading slump. It wasn't particularly light, but it was a fast read and it gave me a little something to think about, and that's usually all I ask of my favorite nonfiction. In this title Orenstein discusses her marriage, her indecision about whether to try having children, and then her unbelievable dedication to getting pregnant when she and her husband did start trying and found they had some fertility issues.
Now, if you're a girl in your thirties and you're either a) conflicted about having children, b) dealing with or have a history of dealing with what I call "girly part issues"*, or c) struggling with infertility, I think this is a book you might want to try. Parts of it made me feel very close to the author, as I've had many of the thoughts and feelings she describes:
"Nearly all of my girlfriends were having children, and one by one, like Robin, they'd dropped out of the workforce. The minds that once produced sparkling prose or defended abused children were now obsessed with picking the right preschool or competing to throw the most elaborate Pocahontas birthday party...My working mom friends weren't much better, perpetually exhausted and resentful."** (p. 12.)
She sucked me in with her first chapter. Did she want kids or not? She hemmed and hawed through her early 30s. Then she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was treated for that, then she and her husband had to wait to try, and then she still didn't know; pretty soon she was in her late thirties, and boom: infertility.
The rest of the book careens from one treatment to another, including some truly horrific procedures and clueless (but still expensive) doctors. Really, it's a fascinating read. As if just learning about the infertility business wasn't fascinating enough, Orenstein also shares what her often singleminded drive for a child did to her marriage.
I won't tell you how it ends. But I thought it was a really great and thoughtful book on the crappy equation*** that women face: get started having kids early or you might be out of luck. Really. Is it fair that women not only have to carry the babies but have a tighter time window than men for when they can? If this is a conundrum you've thought about, you might enjoy this book.
*This is my phrase for them, as opposed to "women troubles."
**Earlier on this page, her friend Robin says this about staying home to parent her kids: "You have no idea what it means to be married to someone who works twelve hours a day. If I kept working, I'd still have to do everything at home." I thought THAT was a fascinating statement.
***In my opinion.