Summer Reading and Sensory Deprivation

The thing I love about vacationing in Hubby’s homeland is I get a lot of reading done.  It’s pretty chill around here.  The first time Hubby brought me here, he had a full itinerary.  We went everywhere, saw everything.  Now, we’ve already seen it all, done it all, so we just hang out at his dad’s house, grab a meal or two with the rest of his family, bring his nephews presents from the States.

I picked up World War Z the other day, and I’m already halfway through it.  Before that, mostly in the airports and planes, I read The Dovekeepers, by Alice Hoffman.  I had started it well before the trip and was less than a third of the way through its 501 pages.  I was excited to read this book, set in the place where Hubby had proposed to me, the site of so much death and destruction, where we had managed to experience the height of joy, overlooking the Dead Sea.  It was supposed to be a book about strong, brave, independent women in a time when that, in itself, could be considered a crime.

And it was living up to my expectations…until the part where the desperate, bitter, barren woman kidnapped a child to try to keep her husband.  Yep, even a modern interpretation of the first century just had to include that outdated–and offensive–cliche.  Written from the perspective of a girl who’d spent most of her life dressed as a boy and fighting alongside warriors.  I cannot wrap my brain around this paradox.

It once again left me wondering, where is the real story, our story, in popular media?  We are the strong, brave women, who live every day outside the bounds of what is considered “typical” to pursue our dreams of a family.  Aside from our blogs, which seem to be read mostly by people in similar situations, who is writing (and reading) our stories?

Please, give me some good examples, before I feel compelled to steal a baby.

Which, by the way, I see everywhere we go.  That and pregnant bellies.  I don’t know if there really are more of them here or if I just don’t have anything else to distract me from the ubiquitous evidence of everyone else’s seemingly normal reproductive abilities.  Either way, I sometimes wish I could just close my eyes to it all.

Which would make it very difficult to get around, as Hubby and I discovered yesterday.  At the children’s museum here, they have two interactive exhibits, where you experience, to some degree, what it’s like to function without sight and without hearing/speech.  Yesterday we did the “blind” experience.  We were given canes and led through a pitch-black maze of everyday scenes, like a park, a grocery store, a street, etc., by a guide who is visually impaired.  It was disorienting, to say the least, and a little bit scary at first, not knowing what we were walking into.  But it was also kind of fun.

The day before, we’d done the “deaf” experience, where we had to put on sound-dampening headphones and communicate with each other and our deaf guide using our hands, facial expressions, and gestures.  Hubby joked that it was the most I’d communicated with someone in this country in all the times we’ve visited.  Also super-fun and, given my background, not terribly difficult.  Hubby had a bit of a harder time with it, but he enjoyed the experience, too.

As for our progress on the IVF front, we took our scripts to the pharmacy yesterday.  Someone was supposed to call this morning to let us know they’d been ordered, but we haven’t heard anything so far.  More waiting and seeing.  We should be used to that by now.

15 thoughts on “Summer Reading and Sensory Deprivation

  1. “The Snow Child” by Eowyn Ivey is good Daryl. Set in 1920s Rockies it’s about a childless couple. It describes really well the pain and often self-imposed isolation of infertility. It’s rather like a fairy story. Myself and my Scottish IVF buddy loved it. As for a modern day version, why don’t you put pen to paper yourself? You’ve a way with words. Enjoy the holiday… 🙂

    • Thanks for the compliment–I’m blushing. But I think, if any book I would write is like my blog, it’d be too depressing to read!

      And thank you for the book suggestion. I’m eager to check it out!

  2. This sounds crazy, but the best interpretation of infertility or a childless couple is the first 10 minutes of “UP” – so sad and so honest and moving.

  3. I agree about the movie “Up”, such an honest portrayal. I’ve also noticed that the realistic side of IF is often left out of movies and shows. Usually, a character learns that she can’t have kids, but in the next scene, she has a surprise BFP or a baby/kid suddenly appears on her doorstep. ::sigh::

  4. I’m currently reading Jennifer Weiner’s “Then Came You.” It involves egg donation, infertility, and surrogacy. For something billed as a summer read/chiclit, it’s presented some rather thought provoking perspectives I hadn’t considered (so far). I also saw a press release recently for another piece of fiction that grapples with infertility though I can’t place the title. Regardless, I think there’s so much to say on the topic in both fiction and non-fiction.

    As for your vaca it sounds exotic and relaxing and fruitful (hopefully!). I think it’s brilliant that you’ve managed to get some less expensive meds. Having received the bills for my D&C and genetic testing of our miscarried embryo, I am ASTOUNDED at how much $ doctors and clinics and meds cost.

    • The costs are insane! I’m really glad Hubby had the brilliant idea to come visit his family before our next round of IVF. It’s going to turn out to be a lifesaver!

      I’ll have to check out that book. Yeah, there are so many issues that could be dealt with in a realistic and thoughtful way, which is why I get so frustrated when I keep seeing/reading the same cliches over and over!

  5. I’ve yet to see a portrayal of infertility in popular media that I relate to, but that’s also probably because I try to avoid it. It seems to pop up everywhere though.

  6. I am drawn to the books with any topics on infertility. I recently got ‘Pink for a Girl’ by Isla McGuckin but haven’t read it yet. From my understanding it’s a personal story on going through and living with involuntary childlessness and coming to terms with it.

    Now I need to check out some of the titles mentioned in the comments 🙂

  7. I have noticed the same, and was surprised, therefore, to discover when rereading the Anne of Green Gables books as an adult, how well the topic of neonatal loss is handled in those books. I was in a very bitter mood when reading the one where Anne first gets pregnant, and because I chad forgotten that the baby dies, I really felt the rug get pulled out from under me when that happened. I haven’t lost a child myself, but I was struck by the fact that the things LM Montgomery had Anne say and think were so very similar to the things I had read on infant loss blogs.

  8. Bionicbrooklynite, I had similar thoughts when re-reading that chapter from “Anne’s House of Dreams” (available online here: “Dawn and Dusk” ch. 19) I thought, this could have been pulled from a current blog. (I wrote a bit about it on my blog here: )

    I think to be handled well in literature, the writer has to touch on the emotional landscape of infertility. I think too often books and media resolve infertility too easily. Resolution makes a good story, endless frustration not so much…at least, it takes a more talented artist or writer to make a story out of that. One example that bothered me a little is in the otherwise very funny and witty movie “Men With Brooms.” One of the couples in the movie has a male factor problem. The movie does a fairly good job of showing the couple going a bit batty with timed intercourse, although they make it look more fun than it often is. Still, it’s a silly movie with a lot of exaggeration anyway, so I didn’t much mind that part. But when she gets pregnant miraculously at the end when they win their curling tournament, I thought, Really? with a “single digit sperm count?” How medically possible is it for a man’s sperm count to go up like that? I guess my husband’s curling team better improve their game next year, because we could totally use some of that magic!

    On a lighter note, I do catch myself with baby-stealing thoughts at times. Not so much with single babies…I just look at them and think, “Gee, that’s cute…” But multiples? When I see a woman with multiples, I catch myself with thoughts like…C’mon…she wouldn’t miss one! LOL

  9. Daryl, I’d love to share my new novel, if you’d be interested in reviewing it, which deals with the issue of infertility from different perspectives, including that of an egg donor. It’s called “The Gift” and it’s available from Amazon, but if you’d be interested in reviewing it on your blog, I can send you a free copy. Let me know. Thank you!

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