Jan 23, 2013

Waiting for Daisy

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 by Peggy Orenstein

My rating: 5 stars

Overview from Goodreads: Waiting for Daisy is about loss, love, anger and redemption. It's about doing all the things you swore you'd never do to get something you hadn't even been sure you wanted. It's about being a woman in a confusing, contradictory time. It's about testing the limits of a loving marriage. And it's about trying (and trying and trying) to have a baby. 

Orenstein's story begins when she tells her new husband that she's not sure she ever wants to be a mother; it ends six years later after she's done almost everything humanly possible to achieve that goal, from "fertility sex" to escalating infertility treatments to New Age remedies to forays into international adoption.
Waiting for Daisy is an honest, wryly funny report from the front, an intimate page-turner that illuminates the ambivalence, obsession, and sacrifice that characterize so many modern women's lives.

I bought this book several months ago and then forgot about it. Back in December, I was cleaning up my home screen on my kindle, saw it and started reading it after our fertility follow-up.

This book was transformative. 

It wasn't about being in the same situation as the author (there are definitely differences between our stories), but more about feeling validated. I had so many yes moments - moments that I put down my kindle and smile because this writer got it. She understood the frustration, and the longing, and the desperation, and the sorrow of wanting to have a baby, because she had lived it.

I marked a lot of quotes from this book - but let me share with you a few of my favorites.

The ones that made me nod my head in agreement:

"Later I would remember that moment as the first time that I was ready but my body said no. You can't believe it, not in this age when we control so much of our own destinies."

(The author talks a lot about the "Two Questions" you ask yourself when your hear suggestions about how to get pregnant - from a doctor, from friends, etc.) "What if this worked? What if it was the only way we could have a baby?"

"I think you can feel the loss of something you've never had, or at least a phantom longing for it."

The quotes that made me cringe a little because I've thought them:

"Here I was instead, defined by my longing for a child, by my inability to become a mother."

"This had to be my fault, didn't it? My education, my social status, the era in which I lived, had all taught me I could be anything I wanted to be, do anything I wanted to do, be mistress of my fate. Wasn't the corollary, then, that I also caused my own misfortune?"

The ones where I clenched my teeth because it may not be pretty but there is truth in them:

"Without form, there is no content. So even in this era of compulsive confession, women don't speak openly of their losses. It was only now that I'd become one of them, that I'd begun to hear the stories, spoken in confidence, almost whispered. There were so many."

"Why are potential adoptive parents - most of whom have already struggled for years to conceive - subject to such intense scrutiny when most people become parents because the condom breaks?"

The one that made me cry:

"But there were so many thing I couldn't know. Maybe learning to live with the question marks - recognizing that closure does not always occur - was all I could do, at least for now."

It was exactly what I needed to read, when I read it. It validated feelings I thought were insignificant. It helped me process emotions and opinions about what we had been told, so when Ben and I sat down to discuss what we wanted our next step to be I was no longer conflicted.

This book. I just...don't have words.


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I am so glad that you found a book that so perfectly spoke to what you are going through right now. I think it helps to have those feelings validated by knowing someone else feels the same way. I love the quotes you shared, especially the one about women not speaking openly of their losses. I think sometimes our happy-go-lucky culture emphasizes positivity a bit too much at times and that maybe it would be better if we embraced the messy and sad side of life. Maybe then people would feel less lonely when they are going through tough things?

Nora said...

It's so wonderful to connect with a book, especially when you NEED it. I'm glad you found that in this book!

Alli said...

I am so so glad that you found this. There is something really special that happens when you find that book or that song or that poem and you can go "Yes! Yes! That's it! Someone else gets it!" I'm very glad this book gave you those moments.

Amber said...

I'm so glad you found a book you connected with so much during this difficult time! I love that last quote you shared.

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