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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Book Tour: The Empty Picture Frame

Ok, we are back with another episode of the Barren Bitches Book Tour. This month, we read The Empty Picture Frame by Jenna Currier Nadeau. This is another book about infertility. The book chronicled Jenna and her husband Mikes journey through the fun world of infertility.

So, Jenna is one of our fellow bloggers. I would link to her blog, but it's private. Anyway, I started following her journey probably about a year ago, and I am really excited to be talking about this book. I started following her blog at the tail end of her journey, so it was really interesting to go back and read how she got to where she currently is. Anyway, on to the questions ...

1. Depending on where you are on your IF journey, how did this book affect you? For example, if you have a child/ren after IF was it easier or harder to read? If you are in the middle of your IF struggle did the book help or hinder? Give me your thoughts on how you were affected reading the book no matter where your IF journey has taken you so far.

For me, this book was easy to read. When you aren't in the throws of your IF journey, or you have found your "happy ending" so to speak, I think its much easier to read about someone else. I think this book is just so honest. Anyone who has gone through any IF treatments have been told by some well meaning person about all the "friends of a friend" that got pregnant on their first dose of Chlomid, IUI, IVF or (insert IF treatment here). I think it's important for people to know that there isn't always a nice and easy happy IF ending. Some people don't end up pregnant. For some people, it doesn't work. I can see how this would be much harder for someone in the middle of their treatment to read, but I think it also helps to hear Jenna, this woman who just KNOWS she is meant to be a mom. And it doesn't matter how she gets there, she will. If there is one thing IF does to you, it forces you to really look inside yourself to find out how important being a mom is to you.

2. On p. 141, Jenna describes hiding out in the bathroom during her nephew's third birthday party but then realizes, "I couldn't even come close to having fun. I hate myself for that... I don't want to turn every moment into a moment about me and my sadness. It is never my intention, but it is always my impact." She describes how she doesn't like the person looking back at her in the mirror. Have you had a similar "mirror moment"? If so, describe it. Did this realization result in a lasting change in your outlook or relationships with others? How much of the responsibility for "impact" lies on the infertile person's shoulders?

I think I was lucky in that I didn't spend too much time in the pre-child infertile world. We were diagnosed and then really quickly went straight to IVF. We got our test results in Dec, I have a laproscopic surgery in May to close one of my tubes, and we did our first IVF in August, which results in the twins. Prior to seeing the RE, we probably spent about 8 months trying to get pregnant. But even in that super short time, the bitterness had set in. I still cringed at pregnancy announcements. I still cried when a month when by and the pregnancy test was negative. But I didn't get to a point as dark as Jenna did. And I don't blame her at all, I just blame time. Had I had multiple failed cycles, and multiple heart breaks, I would have been her. Actually, I would have been much worse. I wouldn't have attended places where kids would have been. I probably wouldn't have wanted to talk to anyone about their kids. And that is fully the fault of the infertile. Is it fair to ask other people to stop living their lives, to stop reproducing easily, to think before they ever speak to me? Of course not. But, oh of course there is a but, please go easy on my heart. Something like having a child, that comes SO easily to most women, it just doesn't come easy to everyone. And for those of us that are in the "other" group, it just sucks. So, although it's fully us that should learn to deal with everyone still going on with their lives, it would be nice for just a smidgen of understanding by all the happily fertile people that will never know the heartbreak of infertility.

3. On page 147, the author talks about being more aware of the pain of others. How do you feel your infertility has affected your relationship with others?

I like to think that my heart has gotten a little bigger. That I now realize that something that might come easily for me may not come easy for anyone else. I am SO cautious of my words when talking to other people who do not have children, as I'm so afraid that they are dealing with some sort of IF issue. And I'm becoming more much vocal and honest about our struggle. Because, ya know, it's really nothing to be ashamed of. So many people deal with it. And the more you get it out there, the more people talk about it, the more people won't feel so damn isolated while going through it.

As a side note, since I follow along on Jenna's blog, I love knowing that she did get her happy ending. She has adopted a BEAUTIFUL baby girl named Anna, and I think she has pretty much made all Jenna's dreams come true. It's been quite an honor to have followed along on her journey.

Hop along to another stop on this blog tour by visiting the main list at Stirrup Queens ( You can also sign up for the next book on this online book club: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert


Ellen K. said...

Interesting, your comment "I just blame time." We spent nearly 4 years TTCing before trying IVF/ICSI, so my perspective is a bit different. I do think that the infertile person has to make the greater accommodations, but I've also been witness to the extraordinary, repeated insensitivity of others -- the "suck it up" mentality, the officiousness.

JuliaS said...

As the pp, I also was struck by your comment "I just blame time." Time holds so much power sometimes! Time is what has made my losses easier to live with, but also makes me sad when I realize how much of it has passed. I review all that has happened and compare that to what might be today had things gone differently. The more time that went on while I repeatedly failed also made things difficult to bear. It seemed to take so long to reach success and yet, now I look back after time's passing and think, "wow, we got off pretty easy in some respects." Though - at the time it didn't seem easy!

Sorry - that was rambly and probably didn't make much sense - you just really got me thinking!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

loribeth said...

Yep -- time can heal, but it can also hurt when it just keeps going by & nothing is happening (& you just keep getting older & older). Thanks for adding your perspective!

Deb said...

As others said Time is a tricky thing and you bring up a good point that sometimes the longer the road the more bitter people become but as JuliaS said Time can make the things easier to deal with... but unfortunately there isn't an unlimited amount of time to go through this. For me, I think that is the hardest thing because time is passing more quickly these days and there isn't a whole lot of time left to see our dream fulfilled.

Anyhow, great responses. Thanks for sharing! :)

Samantha said...

I think you are right - people dealing with IF do have to learn how to cope in a fertile world, because there will always be children there to remind them, it's just an integral part of life. But like Ellen K. said, people can also learn to be more sensitive to you and how to respond to losses. I think Jenna covered this beautifully at the end of the book.

Time is a funny thing. I know things were easier for me earlier in my treatments, so I think you have a point, but I also know different people react with different levels of intensity to handling their infertility.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

I love the line about your heart having got a little bigger. It's like lemonade amongst the lemons. Maybe when you're not really thirsty and you would rather have a different drink than lemonade, but hey, liquid is liquid and...

This analogy isn't going very well. But I did love that thought.

anita said...

"For me, this book was easy to read. When you aren't in the throws of your IF journey, or you have found your "happy ending" so to speak, I think its much easier to read about someone else."
I felt the same way and wondered how I would have felt reading the book if we didn't have the boys.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

The Burger Blog said...

Wow! Sounds like a great book, I so could relate to what you were saying along with what she is saying.