What I’m Reading

General (in)fertility

Zita West’s Guide to Fertility and Assisted Conception – Zita West
A good overview of fertility treatment in the UK, with comprehensive advice on lifestyle changes you can make to maximise your chances. I was a little wary of a book written by someone who runs a clinic and offers a range of fertility-related products, but West doesn’t try to sell her own services here and I found her advice balanced and unbiased.

IVF

The Complete Guide to IVF: An inside view of fertility clinics and treatment – Kate Brian
A basic introduction to the subject, written by a former patient and journalist. A good starting point if you don’t know much about IVF, and would also be useful for helping friends and family understand what IVF involves and the emotional impact it has.

IVF: A Patient’s Guide – Rebecca Matthews
Written by an embryologist and focuses very much on the medical/laboratory side of things. I loved this book because the fascinating science distracted me from my grief at being infertile! Be warned, though, it’s not a warm and fluffy book.

Miscarriage

See Christian perspectives below (for whatever reason, I haven’t read any non-Christian books on pregnancy loss).

Lesbian conception and parenting

Confessions of the Other Mother: Non-Biological Lesbian Mothers Tell All – Harlyn Aizley
An anthology of different women’s experiences, all from the perspective of the non-biological parent. Focuses more on the parenting side of things than conception.

For Lesbian Parents – Suzanne Johnson and Elizabeth O’Connor
Subtitled “Your guide to helping your family grow up happy, healthy, and proud”, this book covers the main issues likely to be faced by a family with two mums. Some of the information is US-specific, but a lot was relevant to us.

Pregnant Pause: A guide for lesbians on how to get pregnant – Stonewall
Free PDF download. A very useful overview of the options in the UK.

General parenting

Bottled Up: How the Way We Feed Babies Has Come to Define Motherhood, and Why it Shouldn’t – Suzanne Barston
Essential reading for anyone who, like me, has been unable to breastfeed.

Adoption

Instant Mom – Nia Vardalos
The US actress shares her own experience of infertility and adoption. A humorous and encouraging read.

No Matter What – Sally Donovan
By contrast with Vardalos’ book, this memoir shows the difficulties faced by adopted children who have been traumatised or abused (as is often the case in the UK) and their new parents. Harrowing in places, uplifting in others, but an essential read.

Christian perspectives

Hannah’s Hope: Seeking God’s Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage, and Adoption Loss – Jennifer Saake
A compassionate guide through the pain of infertility and pregnancy loss which uses the Bible and particularly the story of Hannah as a reference point. Although Saake’s conservative, evangelical Christianity is quite different to mine, this is one of my favourite books: the author has been there and she really does get it.

Hope Deferred: Heart-Healing Reflections on Reproductive Loss – Nadine Pence Frantz and Mary Stimming
Five Christian women share their experiences of miscarriage. A very validating read that doesn’t try to offer any easy answers.

Resurrection Year – Sheridan Voysey
This is the story of how Voysey and his wife rebuilt their lives when their dream of having children was over. I would have liked to read more about Merryn Voysey’s perspective, as she seemed more devastated by the situation than Sheridan was (indeed, a lot of the book focuses on a related issue: the loss of Sheridan’s career after he gave up his job to support his wife), but this was still a moving read that raised a lot of interesting questions.

What Was Lost: A Christian Journey Through Miscarriage – Elise Erikson Barrett
A Methodist pastor shares her own experience of miscarriage and how she made sense of it theologically. The book also offers practical advice and suggestions for marking the loss.

When Bad Things Happen to Good People – Harold Kushner
Actually written by a rabbi, although popular among Christians. I found the first couple of chapters very validating, and it’s helped me to pin down some issues I was struggling with, but I’m not sure I can agree with the author’s viewpoint (that God isn’t omnipotent).

Christian mindfulness

A Book of Sparks: A Study in Christian Mindfullness – Shaun Lambert
I’m halfway through this 40-day study course, which focuses on Mark’s gospel. I’m finding its relevance a little variable, but the first two chapters are particularly strong on how mindfulness can be used in a Christian context.

Faith Postures: Cultivating Christian Mindfulness – Holly Sprink
On my reading list.

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