Why I Didn’t Finish This Book

It’s rare that I don’t finish a book. Normally even if I hate the book I MUST finish reading it. It’s a compulsion. I can’t help it. But this is one book that I put down and didn’t pick up. The book is called Thinking Pregnant: Conceiving Your New Life With A Baby. I bought it clear back when Klove and I started TTC Sassa. I’ve been clearing out my bookshelves to list books I no longer want on Paperbackswap.com and I came across this book and remembered why I tossed it aside disgustedly even before we didn’t conceive Sassa right away. And now, of course, this passage just makes me more angry.

“Relax and enjoy making love with your partner without having to worry about birthcontrol. Try not to over focus on “we are trying to make a baby.” Who knows, you may become pregnant the first time, but if you don’t you can try again next month. A sense of trust and faith are great allies. Remember: You are not in the driver’s seat on this one. Toby and Ramona, both trying to become pregnant, had very different approaches.

Toby was twenty-eight when she first began considering pregnancy. For both her sister-in-law and her best friend it had taken some time to conceive, so she knew from the outset that it might take a while. She decided that a “no pressure” attitude would serve her best. She gave herself a year grace period. Instead of being anxious about the outcome, Toby’s attitude allowed her and her partner to enjoy each moment together. After nine months she became pregnant.

At age thirty-four Ramona felt that she had no time to lose and was determined to become pregnant. She diligently checked her temperature every morning and made love with her husband, Kenny, as often as possible when she was ovulating. She thought about pregnancy constantly and read every book she could find. The arrival of her period each month would trigger a deep depression. In addition, her desire to have a baby now was putting a great deal of strain on her relationship with Kenny. Lovemaking was becoming stressful for both of them. After six months she decided it was time for medical intervention and sought the counsel of a fertility specialist. Tests revealed that Kenny had slow-moving sperm. The first thing they tried was insemination, hoping that if the sperm were injected into the uterus, bypassing the cervix it would have a better chance at making it to the egg. After three inseminations, many tears, and a significant amount of strain on both her marriage and her own emotional well-being, Ramona became pregnant.”

If you do the math, it’s implied that both Ramona and Toby became pregnant in the same amount of time (of course those of us who have worked with fertility specialists know that the timing of appointments can mean missed months, so 9 tries does not necessarily equal 9 months of trying). But it’s implied that Toby is the smarter, more successful woman here because she chose her “no pressure” approach and preserved her relationship with her husband while waiting patiently for a baby to arrive. Poor Ramona should have taken a page from Toby’s book.

But if the author of this book really wanted to illustrate that stress and worry and obsession over pregnancy doesn’t help one get pregnant and only ruins your life, she should have chosen a better example than poor Ramona. Let’s look at Ramona closer: Ramona’s 34. While Toby first starts to think about having a child at 28, we’re not told when Ramona first starts thinking that she wants a child in her life. Maybe she started thinking that at 28, too, but circumstances prevented her from starting then. So, she’s 34 when she decides that she has no time to waste. And why does she decide this? Well, it certainly could have been a personal choice, but I’m thinking of all those magazine articles and new reports and books that talk about pregnancy over 35 as being risky and unlikely. You know, all those genetic disorders that sit there, waiting for your 35th birthday to strike at your dormant eggs. I don’t think it’s at all a coincidence that at 34 Ramona feels that she has no time to lose to get pregnant. And I don’t think it’s just her neuroses.

So, Ramona starts out with one strike against her. But then she compounds her folly by obsessing. She buys pregnancy books. How horrible! She gets depressed when her period arrives. She doesn’t remain cheerful and happy and relaxed. She stresses her husband out and endangers their relationship. And then, THEN, when she’s not pregnant within 6 months of trying (greedy! can’t she wait her turn like everyone else) she has to pull out the BIG GUNS and turn to intervention. During the tests it turns out that her husband’s sperm is slow moving. Does this redeem Ramona in the author’s eyes? Does it prove that Ramona was right to go in for help sooner rather than later? No. Because slow moving sperm just means that it would take longer to get pregnant and she should have just been patient from the beginning. Plus, with all her carping and obsessing and crying and whining she was stressing her husband out and everyone knows what stress does to a man’s sperm count. So, really, it’s all her fault. Three months of unnecessary interventions and more stress and guilt and grief later they’re finally pregnant. They arrived in the same place at the same time as Toby, but Toby obviously did the TTC thing the right way while Ramona did it the wrong way.

That’s when I threw the book across the room. Sure, it’s good to keep perspective. Sure, it’s helpful to maintain your relationship with your spouse. But if you need medical help to conceive, then sitting around thinking about baby dust ain’t going to bring the baby home. And the implication that women who deeply desire pregnancy are harming their chances by educating themselves (buying pregnancy books) focusing on their goal (temping every day) and trusting their intuition (seeking outside help before others think that such intervention is warranted) is insulting.

The book is not going to take up any more space on my bookshelf. And good riddance to bad rubbish.

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8 thoughts on “Why I Didn’t Finish This Book

  1. Well, I’m just glad you didn’t throw that tut in my direction, cos it would have got a ceremonial burning round these parts. What a smug, arrogant know-it-all!

  2. Amen.

    It’s just a variation on “Just stop trying so hard, and it’ll happen.”

    And I love that every TTC book assumes that every woman trying to get pregnant has ready sperm at her disposal.

  3. Right on, sister.

    Sure, we should just relax. It is so easy to relax and not think about getting pregnant when each month costs another $850 of shipping and sperm. It is easy to relax when you are running out of your first baby’s donor’s sperm. So easy.

    That Ramona is so silly. She should have just relaxed. If she had relaxed, she would not have had to face the fact that her husband had slow swimmers. If she had relaxed, she would have spent a year not getting pregnant. If she had relaxed, she would have been left to wonder what was wrong with her body for another year while she got another year older. Silly woman.

  4. if ramona had just prayed about it, everything would be okay.
    silly ramona.

    also, i think the author is angry that ramona purchased books other than “thinking pregnant”. ramona is probably the author’s sister. her more successful, more attractive sister.

    toby, on the other hand, is a suckup.

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