Last month I was asked if I would review a new book written by a couple about their experiences with infertility, ART, loss and the like. I agreed and am posting the fruits of my labours here for your reading pleasure.
Where Have All the Storks Gone? A His and Hers Guide to Infertility
by Michelle and Chris Miller (Originato, 2014
Reviewed by spiritbabycomehome.wordpress.com
As late bloomers – sometimes by choice and sometimes, as was the case with making babies, not so much – I can relate to Michelle and Chris Miller. Michelle and Chris hail from Austin, Texas and, according to Chris, are victims of “the Miller Curse.” They met in college, took a long time to recognize they had fallen in love, a longer time to get engaged and what likely felt to them and their families as an interminably long time to get – and stay – pregnant.
The couple endured a host of setbacks while chasing their baby-making dream. Early in their trying-to-conceive journey, they decided to write a book about their experiences. Where Have All the Storks Gone? A His and Hers Guide to Infertility is their pièce de résistance.
The book is written in an accessible, engaging he-said, she-said format. Each partner shares her and his perspective on the milestone moments in their relationship and their journey to conceive. Chris and Michelle individually detail their experience undergoing a variety of fertility tests and investigations, medical procedures including several surgeries for poor Michelle, timed intercourse, early pregnancy loss, intra-uterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). The couple also shares their respective views on the unsolicited advice and well-intentioned support they received along the way as well as the bittersweet experience of sharing in a close family member’s successful pregnancies while the authors struggled to conceive and retain a single pregnancy. Their different viewpoints and informative appendix are illuminating, engaging, sometimes funny and full of heart. They also offer food for thought for couples facing infertility and various challenges to growing their own families.
If you are a veteran infertility or recurrent pregnancy loss sufferer, you may think this book is not for you. On the whole, you may be right. Yet where I see this book having value is in the perspective it may offer our fertile, miscarriage-free compatriots. Where Have All the Storks Gone offers an opportunity for the general population and in particular friends and family of fertility-challenged persons to witness how challenging the journey to conceive and retain a viable pregnancy was for the Millers.
The book also offers some insight into how to demonstrate sensitivity, compassion and common sense with others who you know are struggling to conceive or who may be facing such struggles. I found the perspective and humour that Chris lent to the global effort particularly refreshing. I expect that having a male voice in this wilderness would make this book accessible to male readers in a way that other infertility literature may not.